By Pablo de Sainz
Although Spanish-language television has turned singers into pop queens, such as Thalia and Paulina Rubio, the truth is that serious mexican singers who are committed to music and have much more to offer than a pretty face and a series of sexy photographs.
Ely Guerra is one of the few mexican singers who has rejected the pop queen glamour, and has decided to go against stupid music.
Her new album, “Lotofire” (Higher Octave, 2002) shows musical diversity with Guerra’s poetic affinity. She was born in Monterrey, Mexico.
“Lotofire” is one of those albums made to relax, and made for people who like poetry. This is present in each of the songs in this, Guerra’s third album.
Poetry in this album works to give voice to themes that rarely touched upon by Mexican singers.
“Vete” (Go Away) is a song narrated from the point of view of indigenous people who reject help from people who try to change the indigenous way of life; “Yo no” (Not me) is a feminist cry against violence towards women; “El Tiempo” (Time) is an ecological, environmentalist melody.
In addition to the poetry in the album, Ely Guera shows a great ability for experimentation. So, in “Lotofire” there’s an amazing vitality, and alternative rock takes the hand of groovy Brazilian rhythms, to create something different from Paulina Rubio’s or Thalia’s best album.
The 11 tracks that make-up the album are brief masterpieces. The tempo, the lineavity is maintained throughout the whole album, offering a constant compelling experience.
No wonder Ely Guerra is one of rock en español most wanted singers today.
Recently, Guerra participated in several musical projects. “El duelo,” song that appears in chilean Band La Ley’s MTV unplugged album, it’s been successful in radio. Guerra also contributed to the rockero tribute to Los Tigres del Norte, where she participated with an original version of “La Tumba Falsa.”
Guerra’s two last albums, “Ely Guera” (BMG, 1992) and “Pa’ Morirse de Amor” (1997), show an evolution, always constant, towards a matured and rich “Lotofire.”
A great variety of good musicians participate in this album, in addition to Guerra’s guitar.
All those radio-listeners who are disappointed with modern Mexican music, will be happy when listening to “Lotofire.” It’s a fact: This is not a mediocre album.
Far from being a pop queen, Ely Guerra belongs to a new generation of Mexican ran-cheras who get away from commercial, mainstream music. Another singer who alludes to Guerra, is Tijuana’s Julieta. Both are women doing complex music.
According to Time Magazine, one of Guerra’s songs, titled “Angel de Fuego,” is one of the most intelligent songs to date.”
“Lotofire” relaxes, and Ely Guerra does a great job.