Drama Queen

Julieta Venegas is no one's plastic pop diva

So close to the United States, so far from ungodly pop
Cynthia Carris Alonso
So close to the United States, so far from ungodly pop

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Raised on a combination of traditional Mexican music and North American pop, Venegas arrived at Mexican-made rock late, only after moving to that nation's capital seven years ago. Rather than imitate the Anglo- and African-American pop she heard growing up, Venegas lifted elements for her own use, in her native tongue. It never occurred to me to sing in English, she says simply. [Spanish] always came more naturally, even if I did grow up next to the United States and even if we did go to movies and concerts in English. There's a certain temperament. Not just in Tijuana, but in all of Mexico. To not try to be like them, even if you do listen to stuff in the United States. You still listen to rancheras and cumbias. That makes the music more interesting and more rich. The bicultural performer straddling the musical border may be Venegas's best invention.

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