While she may not be a household name for most Canadian audiences, Ana Tijoux may very well be that elusive next best thing in hip-hop. Regarded as one of Latin America's leading female MCs, she combines sophisticated lyrics, a hypnotic jazzy voice, and dynamic beats to produce a sound that's nicely reminiscent of the golden era of hip-hop. You may not speak Spanish, but you don't need to - not when the music is this good.
Ana (Anita) Tijoux was born in France in 1977 to parents who were jailed and later fled Chile under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. She returned to Chile in 1993 and in the late '90s became known as part of the hip-hop group Makiza. As a solo artist, she's collaborated with the musician Julieta Venegas on the hit song Eres para mí, had her song 1977 featured on the TV series Breaking Bad, and won multiple nominations for both the Grammys and the Latin Grammys. Ana's work is deeply political, exploring topics that range from the work of Canadian activist-writer Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine) to the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
Rolling Stone Magazine named Ana's performance at SXSW (South by Southwest) one of the best concerts of this year's festival, while The New York Times has called her "South America's answer to Lauryn Hill: equally skillful at singing and rapping." Where her earlier work seamlessly blended hip-hop with jazz and R&B, as well as other sampled sounds, her latest incorporates more indigenous Andean influences: wild cymbals, blaring brass, stringed charangos and pan pipes. Yes, pan pipes. And she makes them sound very cool!