March 18, 2005

MACUILXOCHITL: “Five Flower,” the Aztec god of music and dance

Andrea Echeverrí and Julieta Venegas Each to play Region

By Francisco H. Ciriza

Two of Rock en Español’s premier female artists will be in the San Diego/Tijuana region this weekend. And while the two share a similar elevated status among their peers and are both well-respected by critcs, their styles and personalities contrast more than they compare, yet both have achieved a relatively large amount of success and are respected artists in and out of the Latin music world. Both recently spoke to La Prensa San Diego.

Andrea Echeverrí, the tall, enigmatic front woman for Colombia’s art rock outfit, Aterciopelados, is part Frida Khalo and part Violeta Parra. She is both graceful and striking at once, and always intriguing. Her mere presence demands attention yet nothing about her begs for it.

Andrea Echeverrí

A savvy and poised performer, Echeverrí is no stranger to success. Aterciopelados’ last release, 2001’s “Gozo Poderoso” (Sony BMG Music Norte), landed the group on the Top 10 of the Billboard Top Latin Albums Sales chart and secured Echeverrí and company a coveted appearance on the ‘Tonight Show with Jay Leno’.

Adding to her accomplishments, Echeverrí recently became a mother giving birth to daughter, Milagros. In spite of the domestic expansion, Echeverrí and her band are currently touring in support of the new CD, “Andrea Echeverrí”, released March 8th on Nacional Records. Although the release is being touted as her first solo effort by Nacional, Echeverrí seems to see things from a different perspective, “If you look at the credits, you’ll see all of the same names you see on any other Aterciopelados record. This is Aterciopelados. The only difference is this time I wrote all of the songs myself. There wasn’t any collaboration.”

The reason? It seems parenthood has provided the singer/songwriter a new source of artistic inspiration. “The entire record literally revolved around my pregnancy. All of the schedules depended on my condition...and eventually all of the songs were about my experiences both with the baby and her father. It seemed logical for us to just call it Andrea...”

Echeverrí and her band will be appearing tonight in Tijuana at Multikulti.

Julieta Venegas has literally grown up in the music scene. As a youngster, in Tijuana, she played keyboards and sang in punk scene fixture, Tijuana No! and co-writing the group’s biggest hit and signature song “Pobre de ti”.

Most recently she has once again garnered recognition for her recorded work, 2003’s “Si” (Sony BMG Musica Norte) by the Grammys, played alongside Carlos Santana, and last year, toured Spain with Alejandro Sanz, who, in fact, personally invited the Tijuana raised singer to join him.

“It was a wonderful experience,” said Venegas, “he, his crew, and the public treated me so very well. I am very thankful to him” she said about her experiences with Sanz in Spain.

Venegas has a smile and charm completely unique and alluring. Her voice alone is enough to make those around her smile and although the lyrics to her songs can be somewhat moody, she continues to possess a bright optimistic perspective.

In her younger, punk days, she was known to dismiss whatever was thought or said of her and her music, but lately she seems to have made quite a strong connection with the public and is simply thrilled and humbled by the love and respect given to her by her fans.

As a pronominal effort benefiting both parties, Venegas made public appearances sponsored by Pepsi in Mexico. Her appearances were very well received and Venegas made the most of them even visiting bottling and distribution facitilites.

“She came and visited with us,” said Jesus Sandoval, a Tijuana resident and Pepsi employee for more than twenty years. “It was nice to have her come and be so personable with us.”

For her part, Venegas was just as impressed by the experience, “We all have our own way of living life… when people allow me into their lives it’s an honor,” she said of her visit to Tijuana’s Pepsi distributorship.

Julieta Venegas and her band return to the area playing at 4th & B this Saturday night.

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