Silvana Estrada
Silvana Estrada Credit: Courtesy City Winery DC

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Silvana Estrada at City Winery

The Spanish word for withered is marchita. It’s the word you’d use to describe a dead flower, once blooming and vibrant, now shriveled and pale. It’s also the title of Mexican singer-songwriter Silvana Estrada’s 2022 release, an album that navigates the withering of a first love with haunting vulnerability. Estrada hails from the rural town of Coatepec in Veracruz. Her parents were luthiers (their workshop is on full display in the singer’s Tiny Desk Concert), so Estrada grew up surrounded by instruments. She learned to play many, but none spoke to her quite like the Venezuelan cuatro—a four-string instrument somewhere between a ukulele and a guitar. The production on Marchita is minimal, resulting in naked songs that let Estrada’s cuatro playing shine, only to be eclipsed by a melismatic voice that has earned her comparisons to Mexican legend Chavela Vargas. Estrada is only 24, but Marchita is the work of a legend in the making. Her brilliant voice delivers devastating lyrics that bring to mind great Latin American poets like Pablo Neruda. On “Corrientes,” Estrada croons: “You changed tides and currents, you left your name in the sea. You turned over the smiling face, and I didn’t know how to swim.” It sounds better in Spanish, and our money’s on it sounding ever better in person. On Jan. 27, you have the chance to find out for yourself. City Paper will not be held responsible for any tears shed. Silvana Estrada performs at 8 p.m. on Jan. 27 at City Winery, 1350 Okie St. NE. $20-30. Proof of vax required.