Ana Tijoux: "Recording is like flirting with your songs. Touring is the relationship"
Having grown up in political exile in France during Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet's reign, it seems natural that rapper Ana Tijoux -- now 34 -- would cover a lot of political ground in her lyrics.
People ask her about her music's social and political commentary a lot, she says. "I don't think I'm involved in politics; I feel that politics is involved in all of us. It's part of life."
But politics is nonetheless a major theme in her latest album, La Bala, Tijoux's second solo release after 2010's highly-praised, Latin Grammy-nominated 1977. She wrote much of the new work while following international news about the Occupy demonstrations and local coverage of ongoing student protests in Chile.
Her lyrics have struck a chord with international audiences since the album's release. Even, apparently, those who don't speak Spanish.
"Language hasn't been so much a frontier in what I do," she says, "Hip hop is the language of the neighborhood, it's the language of immigrants. It's like a country where the people come from everywhere and nowhere at the same time."
Tijoux, who was born Anamaría Merino in France in 1977, moved back to Chile in 1990 with her family and had to work on mastering Spanish. Through that transition, she says, music was always the universal language she could share with anyone.
"I don't like to be closed off to any kind of music because it's about energy," she says. "Like, I can still listen to AC/DC and say, 'Wow, that's an amazing riff!'"