photo manipulation by nacrowe
years ago when my time as a PEACE CORPS volunteer in ALBANIA was coming to a close, i learned that i was able to secure a teaching position at an international school in VENEZUELA. its funny because i have former peers on the international teaching circuit who will only take positions in first-world situations like EUROPE, AUSTRALIA or select countries in the MIDDLE EAST and ASIA. i've actively sought out places that weren't necessarily in line with what i was familiar with (which explains my teaching career of being in MYANMAR, ALBANIA and of course VENEZUELA).
anyway, once learning i was gonna be in SOUTH AMERICA in 6 months i went about reading as much as i could about VENEZUELA and the region. i highly recommend EDUARDO GALEANO's epic ant-colonialist OPEN VEINS OF SOUTH AMERICA (MONTHLY REVIEW PRESS, 1971) as well as COMANDANTE (PENGUIN, 2013) by RORY CARROLL of THE GUARDIAN newspaper. i also investigated for months as much SOUTH AMERICAN music as i could locate online.
so glad i did because i discovered the music of ANA TIJOUX. she is a CHILEAN MC by way of FRANCE and her work is entirely an extension of her unique political, socio-economic and inclusive worldview. i very much view her in the tradition of other politically conscious artists of years past like PUBLIC ENEMY, WOODY GUTHRIE, M.I.A. and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE.
her parents emigrated from CHILE to FRANCE in the 1970s after the overthrow and murder of the democratically-elected SALVADOR ALLENDE by the UNITED STATES-backed military dictator AUGOSTO PINOCHET. what followed in CHILE was a brutal military dictatorship that basically fell in line with the insatiable capitalist needs of the AMERICAN economy for copper (which we use for electrical wiring and consumer electronics).
when i listen to the music of TIJOUX i am reminded of the perspectives of the inhabitants of countries who resources are essentially exploited for western capitalism. its a narrative often ignored and wholesale discounted.
discovering her work and the pride she showed in being SOUTH AMERICAN was something i greatly admired even before i got to the continent. the music itself often makes use of elements of indigenous music and re-contextualizes them in a HIP HOP context, much like M.I.A. before with the indian subcontinent or SEPULTURA with the XANANTE tribe of eastern BRASIL on their album ROOTS.
i highly recommend her music to anyone interested in HIP HOP or LATIN AMERICAN culture. totally worth it.