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Words Like Hails of Bullets

The song «Shock» by French-Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux became the soundtrack of the Chilean student movement. The title of her newly released album La bala (which means «the bullet») lives up to its promise of powerfulness.

«La hora sonó, no permitiremos más, más tu doctrina del shock» («The hour has struck, we will allow no more your doctrine of shock») – these words from Ana Tijoux’s [1] song «Shock» are strikingly prevailing, to the extent, that they became a slogan for the student protests in Chile, which have been going on since May 2011.

Indeed, she raps against the growing privatization of schools and universities and claims reforms for making education accessible to everybody. These concrete proclamations express not only the public hunger for political participation and the craving for change in deadlocked society structures under liberal president Sebastian Piñera.

Targets for criticism reach from corruption allegations towards a profit-grubbing establishment, that splits the entire Chilean society. But Tijoux’s commitment to the revolución doesn’t solely represent the spirit of a generation: for herself it is the same like singing about personal issues, as she recently said in an interview with Q&A [2].

I don’t think that a political vision about the world is very different than sensitivity or emotion, because to have a point of view, you’ve got to be sensible about what has happened in any other country — you’ve got to feel that you are connected with the rest of the people. So I think that emotion, a political view, and social vision about a certain topic are very connected in all ways. It is not any more political than being in a love relationship. I think that’s also the best way to explain our political relationship.

The Album La bala (National Records, 2012) conveys a holistic approach to the world: the hiphopy-funk-pop-music integrates marching rhythms, hand-made orchestrations plus voices from the street. The most ear-catching sound comes from Tijoux’s impulsive voice, putting forth a flow of sophisticated words – truly conscious-rap.

The cosmopolitan flair of her music arises from her connections to Latin America and Europe: Anamaria Merino Tijoux was born in France, the country of her mother, where her Chilean father spent the political exile during Agusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. After the return of democracy in 1990, she moved back to Santiago de Chile, where Tijoux found an emerging hip-hop scene and began to rap in different crews. Since her second Grammy-nominated Solo-Album 1977 she is the female protagonist of alternative Latin Hip-Hop.

Mixtape Elefant: Download [3]