Let's get past the shiny, recognizable superlatives: Ana Tijoux is Chilean. She grew up in political exile in France. She retuned home in the 90's and has become one of the premier musicians from her country. She's been nominated for a Grammy and featured in Breaking Bad.
While those laurels are deserved, the most important aspect of Tijoux and her work is the way it marries what is aesthetically dope with a robust human awareness. She combines the personal and political in the way great thinkers do and she's able to channel that through powerful music.
"Somos Sur," a track from her latest album Vengo, is prime example. Opening with horns that might remind you of Mannie Fresh, Tijoux's voice moves with purpose over the pulsating mixture of chants and marching line snares. She calls on the silenced, omitted and invisible peoples of the world, from Somalia to Mexico, with a unifying, empowering message of solidarity.
"Somos Sur" translates to "We are South," claiming ones position of outsider not as a victim but as an active and aware resistor. Shadia Mansour, touted as the "first lady of Arab hip-hop," assists with an Arabic verse as dexterous as Tijoux's.