Ana Tijoux is a rarity.
It’s not common for an artist with such a genuine, fiercely individual aesthetic to find Tijoux’s level of (cross-cultural) success. She’s a musician that couldn’t be more at home in the Latin American underground, yet she’s experienced high-level mainstream exposure (“1977”) in the U.S.
Her poetically political approach to lyricism is the type of singular approach that unsettles a mainstream uncomfortable with depth of thought and depth of feeling. On her last trip to DC, Tijoux found the perfect artistic complement with opening DJs Maracuyeah — DC’s ambassadors of “Pan Latin Future Sounds” — whose folk-party take on dance pairs well with Tijoux’s focus on being a passionate voice for the unheard.
In honor of Ana Tijoux’s return to the District, Kesta takes a look back at the career of an integral artist unafraid to do things her own way:
“1977” - The song that exposed Ana Tijoux to an audience (FIFA video game players and American TV fans of the hit show, “Breaking Bad”) that otherwise probably wouldn’t have known her, is also an apt introduction to the artist. Her breathy, poetic flow —touched with a hint of the personal and the political — crescendos into an anthemic announcement: Ana Tijoux has arrived. Her fiery lyricism breathes life into an origin story as beautiful as it is unique.
“Sacar La Voz” - An excellent showcase of one of the most startlingly effective of Tijoux’s musical aesthetics: Her expert ability in transitioning from rapping to singing. “Sacar La Voz” shows off how wonderfully striking such a tactic can be. Sharpening the softer effects of her singing results in an emotional effect that is like the turning of triumph to tragedy.
“Somos Sur” - “Somos Sur” shows off why Ana Tijoux is not only beloved but respected for her poignant and authentic political expression. Key is her heartfelt identification with outsiders and cast-offs. Singing with them — in spirit — on “Somos Sur,” Tijoux conjures an ecstatic blend of hip-hop, latin folk rhythms, and a poetic flow that seems to exude straight from the souls of the people.
“Emilia” - Perhaps, a career peak. This joyous ode to the artist’s mother is classic Tijoux in terms of execution, but is unique even in a career as exemplary as hers for the depth of emotion expressed within. Complexly layered musically, lyrically, each shift in the sonic palette is as momentous as the changing of a season. Lovingly crafted lyrics radiate warmth and wisdom, and the backing production intensifies the dynamic transitions between Tijoux rapping and singing, as well as the interplay between Tijoux’s voice and that of male vocalist RR Burning who also features on the track.
Make sure to catch Ana Tijoux as she makes her way to the Black Cat on Wednesday April 15th with opening support from Rebel Diaz, Malportado Kids and DJs Rat and Carmencha of Maracuyeah.
Tickets, available through Ticketfly, are $15 in advance and $18 on the day of the show. Doors open at 7:30PM.