Live preview: Ximena Sariana

The Mexican indie-rock darling makes her English-language debut.

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Ximena Sariana

Ximena Sariana Photograph: Emily Shur

Guadalajara-born Ximena Sariana has a lot going for her. She's the daughter of prominent parents in Mexico's film industry and a legitimate screen star; for her supporting role in Dos Abrazos, director Enrique Begne's buzzworthy entry at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, she was recognized by Mexican film critics with a Best Actress award, known as La Diosa de Plata ("silver goddess"). Sariana's also a naturally pitch-perfect singer, and a gifted songwriter who rivals Leslie Feist, Chan Marshall and Norah Jones for eclecticism, pluck and feminine power.

Ximena Sariana (due Tuesday 2) is the follow-up to the singer's ironically titled (and Grammy-nominated) debut, Mediocre, and her first album in English, a language she seems to enjoy mining for surreal juxtapositions. "All I am is moving underneath me/Empty hands are hanging from the ceiling," she sings in the Dave Sitek--produced alt-pop workout "Shine Down"—one of many songs, like the McCartneyesque piano ballad "Bringing Us Down," that brim with an oddball mixture of restlessness, melancholy and wonder.

A multi-instrumentalist herself, Sariana has a knack for collaborating with ace musicians (among them current beau Omar Rodriguez-Lpez, lead guitarist and conceptualist for the Mars Volta), so her two nights at Webster Hall opening for Sia promise a flurry of stellar chops and inspiring songcraft. Her playful, almost self-conscious way of connecting with her audience defies the rules of the diva game; if you prefer your rock-goddesses-in-waiting with a touch of sass and a heap of honesty, you won't find much better.

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Webster Hall; Tue 26, Wed 27;

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