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The sign above the stage at the House of Blues read UNITY IN DIVERSITY, and there couldn’t have been a better band to illustrate that idea than Julieta Venegas and her eight person ensemble. The group, recently touring the US as part of Jack Daniel’s Studio Nº 7 Tour, played everything from keys to a trumpet to a clarinet. I first heard one of Julieta Venegas songs on the soundtrack to the Oscar nominated Amores Perros, a Mexican film for which Julieta Venegas wrote the title track. Not long after the film’s debut in 2000, the Tijuana native’s soft melodies and eclectic sound flooded international radio waves. Before she came on stage Wednesday night, one of Julieta’s music videos played on a screen covering the intimate stage. To those of us familiar with her eccentricity, it didn’t come as a surprise that the video featured nymph-like women feasting on flowers while farting butterflies. Nor was it odd to read the statement that flashed on the screen several dozen times before the show: CHICAS EXTRANAS. PUEDEN CASARSE, TENER HIJOS, SER FELICES? (This literally translates to: Weird chicks. Can get married, have children, be happy?) The question seemed rhetorical. According to the video, weird girls are happiest roaming the fields, gorging on flowers.
When Julieta Venegas came on stage, the room hummed with pleasure, and as she strummed her first song “Algo en mi está cambiando,” I noticed how much more positive the song sounded live and slightly altered. As Julieta took off her guitar, the source of her positivity, her exuberant demeanor became evident. “She’s pregnant,” people in the audience whispered in Spanish. “She’s probably seven or eight months along now.” From that moment on I imagined her singing each song of the set to her unborn child as she danced all over the stage. “I love you with you lime and salt, I want you just the way you are,” she sang. “I have a story inside me to give to you.” Near the end of her performance Julieta told the crowd that love is the only thing in this world that makes sense of everything, and though she sang “Amores Perros,” her angriest and most famous song, during her encore, her voice and face remained joyful. Turns out weird girls can have children after all and, judging from Julieta’s grin and glow, they can be happy, too.