photo: Andrés Ibarra/Wikimedia

The CNN of the South

In Chile the video clip has become an important artistic tool and a socio-political weapon. Our author Ariel Altamirano V. from Discos Pegaos comments on a 2014 music video by Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux. From the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here).

The «industry» of video clips in Chile is made up of a handful of young and middle-aged directors who enjoy music as much as the musicians. In fact in hip hop, many of these filmmakers are rappers themselves. They produce their own clips, without big budgets or support from big companies. Thanks to these directors the video clip has become an important artistic tool and a socio-political weapon – a newsreel of what is happening in Chile, similar to «The CNN of the Ghetto», as Public Enemy called it. Many clips resemble short documentary films, executed in limited time. «Traidores» by Salvaje Decibel, «Be Proud» by Jonas Sanche & Hordatoj, and «Somos Sur» by Anita Tijoux are good examples here. The producers of Tijoux’s clip are well-known locally and abroad: Aldo Guerrero, director of many Chilean hip hop videos, and B + from the Brian Cross collective Mochilla in the US.

A Typical Latin American Party

Ana Tijoux is Chile’s most popular rapper. She has released three albums addressing issues social and political in nature over the last eight years. Through her songs she fights for the rights of women and protests against the savage capitalism in Chile. In «Somos Sur» she speaks about important aspects of our identity and culture. She quotes «El baile de los que sobran» (the dance of the ones left behind), a pop anthem from Los Prisioneros, Chile’s most popular band in the 1980s, to underline the fighting spirit of her lyrics. The participation of Palestinian rapper Shadia Mansour is crucial – the fact that they meet I see as one of the positive aspects of globalization. «Somos Sur» fuses Andean sounds with the universal language of rap. It offers space for powerful content, delivered through the virtuous and dynamic rhymes of a French-born Chilean and a Britain-based second-generation Palestinian. The video speaks to the common people, especially to the urbanized youth in our cities – it does not stay «hidden» in underground music circles. The raw Photoshop-style images (manipulated with cheap filters, kaleidoscope and pattern effects) visually reference life in our noisy cities. «Somos Sur» is set as a typical Latin American party, yet it is transnational and contemporary – a colorful version of what could happen in social struggles of the Latin American people. It is positive and even playful, but no less brave and rebellious as it celebrates the strength that comes from the unity of people.


Other Videos from Chilean Underground Rappers

This text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds.

Published on September 16, 2017

Last updated on May 22, 2019


Ariel Altamirano V. is director of the label Discos Pegaos, a DJ, beatmaker and graphic designer. He lives in Santiago De Chile.
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