Ely Guerra in a previous incarnation. (Ricardo Trablusi / Elemental…)
Looks like Mexican rocker Ely Guerra is changing her image again. In the process, she may help buff up the image of one of the world's most misunderstood capitals: Mexico City.
According to the Mexico City newspaper El Universal, the musician -- a female pioneer of Spanish-language alternative rock -- has been recruited this season to be a spokesperson and frontwoman for the Campaña de Verano (Summer Campaign) by the secretary of tourism for the Distrito Federal, or Mexican Federal District (Mexico City).
It's a media-savvy choice. Along with artists such as Julieta Venegas and Natalia Lafourcade, Guerra represented a new breed of Mexican and Mexican American female rockers who emerged in the late '90s and early '00s: eclectic and independent.
Since launching her career two decades ago, she has undergone several style makeovers as well as multiple artistic re-inventions, as her work has assimilated elements of rock, folk and jazz. Perhaps best known stateside for her 2004 album "Sweet & Sour, Hot y Spicy," and her contributions to the "Amores Perros" soundtrack, Guerra has switched pop personas nearly as often as Madonna or David Bowie. At one time, she sported a short blond bob. In another phase, she became one of the first female Mexican performers to rock an Afro. In yet another incarnation, she favored Joan Baez-like black bangs while earnestly strumming an acoustic guitar.
In her new role as civic ambassador, Guerra's going for a more grown-up, cosmopolitan look. An El Universal online photo gallery shows the Monterrey-born singer-guitarist striking designer-label poses in various landmark locations throughout Mexico City, including the venerable La Sala Nezahualcóyotl theater. She's also depicted standing in front of a well-known mural, and savoring a cocktail at a bar on Calle Regina (Regina Street) in the capital's Centro Historico, a thoroughfare that the Mexican government designated as a "cultural corridor" a few years ago.
Guerra's photogenic presence could come in handy right now. Although Mexico City has been largely spared the worst of the drug-related violence that has claimed 50,000 lives in the last six years, the country as a whole has suffered a substantial drop-off in foreign visitors.
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