Chilean MC Ana Tijoux is releasing her new album, La Bala (Nacional Records), on January 31. I've been eagerly waiting its arrival, curious to hear it and witness her evolution.
I first became familiar with Tijoux through her What's In My Bag? video and the infectious title track from her last album, "1977." One of the things that most interested me about her What's In My Bag? video came toward the end - a conversation about where to file her music in Amoeba, in Latin Pop or Hip-Hop. She views Hip-Hop as one language, regardless of whether the actual words are in English, French, Spanish or whatever. But she is also aware that she is representing Latin America (and Latin American Hip-Hop) to the world.
Tijoux, who was born in France to a French mother and Chilean father, raps and sings in Spanish and French. She released two albums in the late '90s with a Chilean Hip-Hop group Makiza and then collaborated with Mexican singer/songwriter Julieta Venegas. They had a hit with "Eres Para Mi" from Venegas' 2006 album, Limon y Sal. Tijoux's 2007 solo debut album, Kaos (Oveja Negra), earned her nominations for "Best New Artist" and "Best Urban Artist" by the MTV Latin America VMAs. She received further acclaim and success, particulary in the US, with her outstanding album, 1977 (Nacional, 2010). She toured like crazy, including performing at South by Southwest and Lollapallooza, and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Latin Rock, Alternative or Urban album.
On La Bala, which means The Bullet (you can actually hear bullet samples in the track for "La Bala"), Tijoux turns her lyrical attention to contemporary social and political issues in Chile. The video for "Shock" focuses on the recent protests by students in Chile demanding education reforms (read more at the BBC and The Santiago Times).
But La Bala is more than a political album. It features her smooth delivery (sometimes fast, sometimes slow, but always smooth); instruments like tuba, violin, and live drums; and collaborations with Jorge Drexler (who won an Oscar for Best Original Song from The Motorcycle Diaries), Chilean rap crew Solo Di Medina (formerly La Pozze Latina), and Cuban hip-hop group Los Aldeanos.
Check out a free download of "La Bala" by Ana Tijoux.