Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux makes her US debut and brings a dire warning
By Enrique Lopetegui
Ana Tijoux in Texas
(Those born in 1977 enter for free)
@ SXSW (Austin)
Thu. March 18
515 E 6th St. (21+)
Sat. March 20
323 E 6th St. (21+)
Sunday, March 21
Pedi Cab Bar & Grill
415 E Cevallos
Doors open at 9. Invincible and Rebel Díaz will open. The show, titled "Road to Detroit," is a fundraiser for the U.S. Social Forum and is presented by the Southwest Workers Union and the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center.
Ana Tijoux was born in France in 1977 and started rapping in French, but make no mistake: She’s as Chilean as a cueca (the country’s national dance). Or an earthquake.
As a socially-conscious rapper that happens to be the daughter of a man who fled the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, it was inevitable to mostly talk about the economic aftershocks to the aftershocks of the Chilean earthquake, but her career can give you an idea of what she sounds like: After discovering French rap, she went on to NWA and Public Enemy, then back to Europe (this time rap from Spain, like Mala Rodríguez) and now “a little bit of everything, from Ryuichi Sakamoto to Chico Buarque.”
Nominated as Best New Artist and Best Urban Artist by MTV Latin America, and a guest in Latin alternative-pop superstar Julieta Venegas’ Limón y sal album, Tijoux’s second album (first in the States), 1977, comes out in the US on April 27 (Nacional Records).
On Friday, Ana spoke to us in Spanish on the phone from Santiago.
Where were you when the earthquake hit?
I was in the middle of a show. My colleague was onstage and I was waiting to go up there, and all of a sudden everything started moving. I thought it was the people jumping, but soon enough it was clear that it wasn’t the people. There was collective hysteria for a while, but fortunately the emergency exits were open and I was able to get out.
Unlike Cromañón… [a Buenos Aires rock club that caught fire during a concert in 2004, resulting in the death of more than 190 kids]
Exactly. That was a big lesson for all of us.
Much has been written about the fact that, unlike Haiti, Chile is better prepared to deal with an earthquake, as if an 8.8 quake wasn’t that big of a deal and the help wasn’t so urgent. That personally pisses me off.
Yeah, that’s been going on… And they compare how many dead, or how strong the quakes were. This is not a competition. Our earthquake was 8.8, and nothing can change that. It happened. It’s real. People buried underneath a building, that’s also real. And the people swept by the sea, that’s also real. Even if only one or two people had died, that’s important enough, isn’t it?
The earthquake happened days before MIguel Piñera, a right-winger, was about to take power after a very popular leftist government by Michelle Bachelet. Are you at all worried about the quake being used as an excuse to apply shock therapy in the economy to further screw the poor masses, as usual?
Of course! Like my friend in Twitter said when an aftershock hit during the presidential ceremony, “Not even the Earth wants them.” It was very symbolic. And when the looting started, they couldn’t find a better way to deal with it than sending the military, and now people want the army, and we’re back in a state of curfew, like during the dictatorship. It’s disgusting. The tragedy made it easier for them to turn us into a police state.
I was watching an Argentine newscast about the [Chilean] looting, and they were showing the military grabbing looters by the neck, throwing them on the ground and kicking the crap out of them, but all the anchors talked about was the looting, not the kicking, as if it were the most normal, understandable thing to do.
Yes, now violence is justified. They’re right-wing governments and anything goes in the name of “peace and order.” And don’t get me started on the economic violence… There’s an extremely dark era ahead of us Chileans. On the other hand, it’ll be interesting to see what will happen to a social and political coalition that should try to balance things out a little.
Have you ever been in the U.S. before? Who are you coming with?
No, this is my first time ever. I’ll have a supporting deejay and emcee and then in the last dates of the tour in New York I’ll have DJ Chela, a female deejay. And check this out: Those born in 1977 enter for free to all of my shows. Make sure you put that in your story.
Check her out on myspace.com/anitatijoux