Sacha Nairobi Is Hot

And she peddles her own tunes online.

"We're a very musical people — that's what makes us so joyful," she chirps. "We're also very traditional, and there's a lot of traditions I don't think we should lose — like how just about everyone plays the cuatro."

This curious four-stringed guitar is heard throughout Sacha's music. "I let loose on the cuatro like it was an electric guitar," she says. Such enthusiasm is easily noted on previous hits such as "Princesa," where a few twangy notes of the cuatro lead into a sassy, horn-infused funk about giving up glamour for true love. At first listen, her poppier numbers lean a little toward Paulina Rubio, but some jangling Dixieland and ragtime, combined with sprinklings of reggae and street sounds, give them a bohemian edge.

"I welcome all musical trends. I like everything from a ballad to a rhythmic danceable song," she says. "I'm trying to define it as a kind of 'ethnopop,' because it has instruments from all over the world mixed with drums, electric bass, and progressive pop."

This week's "Ay Papito" is all of that and more. Sung and performed in Afro-Venezuelan dialogue and rhythm, it pays homage to Sacha's father and to the continent from which he took much of his inspiration (including Sacha's middle name, the second part of her stage moniker).

It might be up to the audience to influence the rest of the album. To live off of what you love, you have to make it marketable, so in essence, Sacha's gradual Internet release strategy turns listeners into collaborators in the creative process. If she knows what they want to download, she'll upload tracks with a similar gusto, provided it's still in the vein of her own gusto.

"I'm studying the market. I don't have to change my style, but I might have to evolve," she says. "I'm at peace with myself because I learned to compete in this artistic environment without betraying my roots or my feelings. I don't have to be famous; I just have to be an artist."

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