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I can’t understand Ana Tijoux

November 24, 2012

Ana Tijoux at Brick & Mortar Music Hall
[Ana Tijoux]

407 million people speak Spanish as a native language and another 60 million speak as a second language.  Most of those speakers are in the Western Hemisphere and represent more than half of the population of the Americas. Ana Tijoux – born to Chilean parents exiled in Lille, France – is one of them.  I am not.

Despite my inability to comprehend most of what the trilingual and quite pregnant Tijoux uttered on stage, I found myself captivated with her grounded and soulful stage presence.

Thankfully, Ana was generous enough to translate bits of her stage banter for the few (maybe three or four, by a show of hands) audience members who also couldn’t keep up with her rapid yet low key lyrical delivery. Advice to the linguistically challenged amongst her fans at Brick and Mortar on Tuesday? “Those who don’t speak Spanish need love. Spanish is the language of love.”

Ana Tijoux at Brick and Mortar Music Hall

[Ana Tijoux]

Ana blew through many of the most notable tracks from “1977,” – the album that launched her to fame and garnered fans native to countries, continents and languages outside her own – and performed newer hits such as “La Bala” and “Shock” from her most recent album. The protest-oriented album “La Bala,” which was released in January amidst political upheaval in her native Chile manages to strike a remarkable key somewhere between militant and sing-song, gritty and melifluous, which makes it an ideal atmospheric partner to tracks like “Sube” (rise up) off “1977.”

It’s worth noting that a solid command of the language of love isn’t necessary to fully appreciate Ana’s work. The musical mastery behind her words on both her “Elefant” mixtape and both full albums make them worth a listen. Warning, though: Listeners may find themselves rapping along with words they don’t know the meaning of.


[Jazz Mafia]

Openers MC Infinite, Aima the Dreamer and Solati along with Jazz Mafia complemented Ana’s rhythms with their fervent fusion jazz blend and socially conscious but not corny rap touching topics like strife in the Middle East and legislation in Arizona.

One final word of advice from Ana to English and Spanish speakers alike: “My advice is to sing in the shower.”

irena[Aima the Dreamer]


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