Two shades of Azul

By Enrique Lopetegui

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This is Azul:

This is Azul under the influence of rock 'n' roll:

Both sides of Azul Barrientos will perform Saturday night in San Antonio at two different venues, and the singer told us —in Spanish— how and why she plans to do it.

Tell me, Judas, when did you decide to go electric?

It was probably more than a year ago. One of the first influences for this project manifested itself when I heard the Latin Playboys in '98. I loved their sound, that incredible fusion of traditional and electric sounds. So with my electric band (Los Mescaleros' Roland de la Cruz in guitar, Sexto Sol's Eddie Hernández in bass; yes, bass, Paul Ward in drums, and herself on vocals, guitar and jarana) we've been playing here and there for the last year or so. We do mostly originals, but also a traditional Tepito cumbia `Warning from the author: If you go to Mexico City, stay away from Tepito; Repeat: Stay away from Tepito`. We also do electrified rancheras, but nevertheless real cantina rancheras. I'm very excited about this project. And now I'm enjoying it a lot more because, after the boleros —which was my biggest project of late— I was able to focus on the electric set, which is a lot more laid-back, not so rigid.

Will you record an electric album?

Yes. We're thinking to start recording in mid-January. Roland will record it and we're already choosing the material. It's a very fun process. You know, January and February are pretty quiet, so in order to keep busy, I was talking to Mandala Music Productions and I'll release a ranchera album and, at the same time, I'll be working on the electric album. We'll see which comes first, but that's what I'll be doing in early 2010.

But what do you enjoy more? Boleros or electric?

It depends. As a singer, I prefer the acoustic set. But to have fun and jump and laugh, and to play with the show-biz thing, without taking myself too seriously, the electric set is my thing. It's a very sexy, sensual set.

What about opening for Eugenia León? What does it mean for you?

I was about 16 or 17 when I saw Eugenia live for the first time. She already had a well-established career. She was with María del Sol, and they were two of the most magical voices at the time. I remember looking at her at the Salón México, when she was singing danzones, and as soon as she came onstage I was in awe. I saw her once in Houston, and could confirm that she's the type of person you fall in love with by just seeing her. An incredible charisma.

Azul opens for Eugenia León on Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Empire Theater, 226 N. St. Mary's St., 7 pm, $8-$10, and Azul Eléctrica plays on the same night with Sexto Sol and J.J. López at The Warehouse Venue, 1305 E. Houston St. (across from Tucker's Lounge), $8, 10 pm, all ages.


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