Ximena Sariñana: Live Last Night-ish

Live Last Night

Although she didn't release her first album until 2008, Ximena Sariñana has been in show biz for more than half of her 23 years. The Mexican singer, who appeared before a small crowd Tuesday night at the 9:30 club, played her first film role at 9, and began appearing in telenovelas at 11. This acting background, along with her powerful voice, explains why Sariñana has been likened to such histrionic divas as Edith Piaf. It's a comparison that Tuesday's performance did not support.

(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)

Backed by a slightly jazzy rock quartet that sometimes overwhelmed her, Sariñana performed songs in a variety of modes, from the folkie "No vuelvo más" ("I'm Not Coming Back Anymore") to the grinding, bluesy "Gris" ("Grey"). Occasionally she accompanied herself on charango, a traditional mini-guitar. More often, however, the musical accents were electronic. The piano-playing chanteuse of Sariñana's album, "Mediocre," was lost to trip-hop bleeps and overpowering percussion.

No wonder rock-oriented material such as "Vidas paralelas" ("Parallel Lives") held up better than the singer's gentler numbers.

In her frilly white blouse and pleated blue skirt, Sariñana seemed considerably younger than her age. This impression was heightened by her gawky movements and tendency to giggle. When she precisely hit and sustained high notes, Sariñana demonstrated that she wasn't just playing at being a musician. Yet it's fair to say that she hasn't yet come into her own. After all, when she left the stage, a small group of devoted fans chanted "Rosa!" -- the name of Sariñana's character on a 1997 telenovela.


By J. Freedom du Lac |  April 23, 2009; 10:05 AM ET Live Last Night
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