Ana Tijoux talks hip-hop, Chilean politics and being married to jazz
Duke Ellington once said, “by and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn’t want your daughter to associate with.” It’s temperamental, it’s moody, it wants trouble and yet it’s completely irresistible. And if Ellington was right, then Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux is a lost cause. “It’s not that I love jazz,” she says, “it’s that I’m married to it.”
In this week’s Guest DJ session, Tijoux swings by and spends a good amount of time talking about her love of jazz, from Ellington to Miles Davis, and young Armenian performer Tigram Hamasyan, whom she has a huge musical crush on. It’s easy to see how her own style is influenced by jazz: Tijoux is one of the most exciting lyricists of this generation of Latin musicians, let alone Spanish-speaking rappers. She is able take the Spanish language, ignore its many rules detailing emphasis and pronounciation, melt it like plastic, and reformulate it into whatever rhythm and free association her heart desires.
Tijoux’s latest album, La Bala, is direct and confrontational, filled with observations about the current tumultuous situation in her native Chile. Yet despite its hardness, she never loses her astounding lyrical fluidity. During the show she expressed her dream of one day making a jazz album, but as co-host Felix Contreras points out, she doesn’t have to, because she’s already there: Ana Tijoux’s lyrical style is pure jazz.
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