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Poetry, Crooning and an Accordian

Rockera Julieta Venegas grows as a composer, arranger and performer

By Amanda Pe?alosa
Published on LatinoLA: November 16, 2000


Poetry, Crooning and an Accordian


"Si pudiera yo tenerte aqui, hablandome de nada
y cuanto mas, y cuanto mas seguro es lo que me falta
si pudiera recuperar lo que no me toco porque ya no hay
porque llegue muy tarde seguro por ahi...
tiempo suficiente me falla cada vez
vida suficiente me falla otra vez"

It takes a lot for someone to musically move me. It's one thing to hear flowing harmony with meaningless words, or poetic words with mediocre music. But the few times you hear the two together, emitted from one person, it's a moving experience.

So moving in fact, that I managed my way into the Revoluci?n show at Universal Amphitheatre show a few weeks ago to see just this. I had wanted to witness Julieta Venegas' poetics along with the sounds of that notorious accordion strapped to her shoulders ever since I first heard her voice belting out as vocalist for Mex-Punk band Tijuana No years ago.

First off, you may be asking yourself, rock and an accordion? Is this some kind of underground version of Florecita Polkera? But no, Julieta is no Polka Queen. Julieta's music is just the unusual mix of one of the best Rockeras to come out of Mexico.

Even though she's been compared to Fiona Apple and P.J. Harvey, Julieta sees no comparison (me neither!). "I don't really mind the comparisons at all. I really admire P.J. Harvey a lot, and I think Fiona Apple is great," she tells me, "but I don't think my music sounds like either of them." Julieta's music is a little bit rock, a little bit funk, a little bit folk, and a whole lot of ferocity.

Julieta Venegas started her musical career playing keyboards in a friend's band in high school in Tijuana. This band later evolved into Tijuana No, and with hits like "Pobre de Ti" and "Spanish Bombs," it is still one of the most popular Rock en Espa?ol groups to ever come out of Tijuana.

She eventually decided to try her luck as a solo act, releasing the successful Aqui in 1996, and lending her soulful voice to the "Tribute to Jose Jose Album," singing "El Triste." Her latest album, "Bueninvento," released this year, is a mix of beautiful poetic lyrics, Julieta's legendary crooning, and that notorious accordion. When I asked her how she's grown since the first two albums, Julieta tells me, "I think I have grown as a composer and arranger, and now that I am on tour, I feel that I have grown as a performer too."

Touring with some of Rock en Espa?ol's greatest acts like Jaguares has probably got something to do with this growth. "Getting to know them [Jaguares] on tour has been great in the sense that when you know someone who is that famous you always put a cloud of glamour around them" Julieta says. "But being on tour with them has shown me that it is all about work and enjoying what you do."

As far as enjoying what she does, Julieta truly likes all aspects of being a musician. "I think there is a moment for everything. Sometimes I really don't feel like playing live at all, and the only thing that interests me is being at home and [writing] songs," she says. "But I am always in the mood for writing a song, it is definitely my favorite pastime!"

And with the passion expressed in her lyrics, her love and talent for composing is obvious. Growing up listening to Jose Jose, Juan Gabriel, Oingo Boingo, and the Ohio Players, Julieta states "I really developed good taste in music in my twenties. I think people give too much importance to what musicians hear when they are kids."

Julieta's plan for the future looks extremely bright. "After the tour, we are doing some more dates in Mexico" she says. "Then in December, I'm going to Spain for promotions. I'm going to be busy for awhile." With a growing fan base in the U.S. and enough raw fierce talent to conquer Rock en Espa?ol epicenter LatinoLA, Julieta fills a much-needed void in the scene.

Considering that up to now, Spanish rock culture has been dominated by men, Julieta Venegas has more than enough passion and talent to stir the scene up.

About Amanda Pe?alosa:
Amanda Pe?alosa es la intern numero uno at LatinoLA. She can be reached at manderz24@aol.com




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