Archive | July, 2014

Ana Tijoux on “Democracy Now!”

31 Jul

Yeah! Like something out of my Spanish, credential and Masters classes is a show called “Democracy Now!” which features all kinds of news and cultural figures from all over the world. Guess who was on it? Yup.


Shadia Mansour

28 Jul

Shadia Mansour

I don’t know much about her due to linguistic barriers, but I know she is half Palestinian and is considered the First Lady of Arab Hip Hop. The woman is loud, unapologetic, and wait she doesn’t wear a burka or ask permission for a man to speak??? Oh boy we got ourselves a trouble maker. Excellent.  Shadia is only 28 years old, but has already established herself as a prominent rapper in the MIddle Eastern area. Many articles state that her famous line is “You can take my falafel and hummus, but don’t fucking touch my keffiyeh.” What is a keffiyeh? Check out this video :

I also enjoy looking at her traditional Palestinian outfits since they are very similar to Mexican and South American outfits, but when she puts on Western attire I can’t help, but think “she’s got a killer body with her hips that don’t lie!”

These are some videos that I have found of Shadia Mansour on her own and collaborating with Ana Tijoux

Introduction to Shadia Mansour and her music

So Serious – Logic featuring Shadia Mansour

Is it just me or does she look like a chola with those hoop earrings and ponytail?

This is were you can see her hips not lying. What a lame crowd! Darn it Ana Tijoux you are a Queen!

Oh and this video of Shadia singing Ana Tijoux’s “Shock.” Rough start, but you can feel Shadia’s intensity in this song. She even goes solo with the rap at the end of the song. Bravo! Bravo!!

Ana Tijoux- “Vengo” CD Review

28 Jul

Ana Tijoux is what brings me back here. Musically speaking, I have been greatly immersed in my re-exploration of Selena’s music and my exploration of singers from 80s. But more on that later.

Ana Tijoux is who has blown my mind once again. I’m so incredibly in awe with this woman. In my opinion, she is what the future of music should be: a fusion of all parts of the world combined with a fury of socio-political activist, resistance, and ecological messages blended with rap, singing, and a dynamic spectrum of different timbres. This is not rap, this is not pop, this is not south american music. Its the world condensed in a CD. Let’s not even bring in the fact that Ana Tijoux is an empowered independent woman. We knew that already from her previous work. But add to that the sweet sweet oh so sweet touch of her musical production and you have a CD that is bound for the ages. Ana’s approach to her rap, rhythm and beats and musical production is like that of someone with ADHD: she’s always moving her rap flow, changing up a beat or adding another instrument so that the flow, rhythm and instruments don’t get “old” even within the song. Its almost as if someone gave her a paintbrush palette of instruments and she constantly experiments with each instrument. Unlike mainstream and conventional songs, Ana never shies away from playing with different beats, tempo, and flow. None of her songs are predictable. She breaks cultural, hip hop, popular, sexist, misogynistic, social, political barriers in her music. She is unapologetic. And I love it.

“Vengo” starts with teh title track full of Andean instruments and the addition of Ana’s always flowing raps and always steady beats.  Trumpets add the fantastic staccato and changing beats of this song. Ana is announcing “Im here!!!”” Its an uplifting song meant to inspire. But again, there are several stops changes in flows and actual singing not just rapping.

Check out “Vengo” here:

The diamond and i mean DIAMOND in this CD is Somos Sur featuring Shadia Mansour. Oh boy this song always stops me and captivates me. Jesus christ thank you for bringing Ana Tijoux in my life. Amen. This song has so many rhythm changes combined with Middle Eastern instruments and rap beats that its hard to keep track of them. The changes of beats is also fantastic as the song slowly crescendos with intensity, but keeps that strong beat. And Ana does a role call of several countries in Africa and South America while condemning the Yankees” from colonization while proclaiming her stance on the liberation of Palestine. I really enjoy how the strong male voices in the background accentuate the intensity of the song. Shadia Mansour’s rap comes in halfway through the song. I have no idea what she says, but this is proof that music transcends cultures and linguistic barriers: we know and can feel how SHE feels. Towards the end of her rap is the ever building crescendo pause with a pause. Did you catch Shadia saying “Hasta la victoria siempre?” A pause that allows her vocals to stand out. BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE! A second musical bridge (f- you whomever set the rules of how a song should be structured because Ana just blew right though them…again), finds a string quartet/melody mixed in with Ana’s voice and strong staccatos of the male voices.  Oh this song is just beautiful! I can’t believe its almost 4 minutes long. (wiping my drool off the floor).

Check out “Somos Sur” here:

Antipatriarca is another South American instrument filled song filled with so many changes in time signature that it almost makes all the changes in mariachi time signature seem small…not! lol  But really the odd time signature reminded me on Quetzal and how they always do songs with odd time signatures. And the bass line has got to be Quetzal inspired. Its so fast and intense just like the message of the song. This song is clearly about female empowerment and about breaking the chains of society. And tell me she doesn’t sound like Julieta Venegas when she hits the high notes? It strikes my musical soul.  The brass instruments combined with the woodwind instruments are remiscent of an orchestra or a mariachi or even jazz band at times. Fabulous. This song is really a song that reminds me of sitting in a classroom and submersing myself in feminist literature full of empowering messages that allow me to feel so uplifted. And then going to class and sharing my thoughts with my classmates and professor.

Check “Antipatriarca”

The next two pieces allow Ana to get into her tradition of blending in jazzy laidback music with her rap flow.  “Los PEces Gordos” continues her rap flow, but with James Brown like accents in her songs. “Creo En Ti” uses the trumpets again with her combination of several South American string instruments including the use of the charango.

And “Los Diablitos” just submerses you into feeling like you are in front of an old  rural area with a small brass group in front of you. Its not tamborazo, banda,… its just its own style.

“Oro Negro” continues to use the string instruments to touch on the emotions. This is a call out to those that go to different countries and exploit people and soil. Its such a fragile piece. This piece is a ecologically friendly piece blended with a political stance.

“Delta” is Ana’s continuation of  her second album”1977″ where it has a more traditional rap feel. The beats are thick and heavy and MC Niel’s collaboration is a complement to Ana.

My second favorite song of the CD is “Emilia” featuring RR Burning. La palabra que se viene en mente es “Tierna.” es un tributo a Emilia, hija de Ana. Its so tender with the harp, strings, light charango and soothing deep vocals of RR Burning. Ana is literally exposing a part of her heart with this piece. Ohhhh ahhhhh oooo ahhhhhh! That chorus is so catchy!   LIke “Somos Sur” I can’t get enough of this song.

“Mi Verdad” reminds me of Atercieopelados, Ruby Castellanos, Quetzal, Violeta Parra gosh I can’t pin point who, but I love it.

18 songs jam packed into an hour full of empowering messages and genre bending music. I can’t review all of them, but please do yourself a favor and listen to this CD that is bound to win major international recognition. Don’t be stuck in the US bubble. Listen to Ana Tijoux!

“Wake Me Up” by Aloe Blacc and Quetzal

27 Jul



Against the Grain: Motherhood, Activism and Resistance

27 Jul

Ana Tijoux compared to Violeta Parra, but in hip hop. Dang those are strong words.

Quetzal and Ana Tijoux on the same stage. Wait Quetzal and Ana Tijoux together???? I knew it!! I had said it as soon as Ana’s “Vengo” came out that there was a Quetzal influence in her music and I was right!!! ahahahaha! I was right again!!


I found a collection of Youtube videos about a conference that happened in downtown LA and I had no idea it had even happened. Hmmmm! I better not miss it again. It features Maya Jupiter who is married to Aloe Blacc (from the famous “Wake Me Up” song on the radio), Martha from Quetzal (my hero), an older woman whose voice I recognize from the “Entre Mujeres” CD, and of course the first lady of hip hop en español, Ana Tijoux. Jeez Louise what a collaboration of musicians on stage. No wonder Quetzal performed “Wake Me Up”  on TV with Aloe Blacc.

I fell in love with this series of videos because it features women and topics that are seldom spoken about. I remember Ruby Castellanos once said that we need radical people in the world because they motivate those of us who are not and will never be as passionate. They strike a nerve in us and thats why we like listening to them. These women make it “ok” to be educated, free spirited, moms who are outspoken. Oh and Ana Tijoux absolutely shines in these videos. Even when she isn’t speaking, I can’t help but watch how she interacts with her daughter Emilia. And how she shares that making her son think critically is better than selling more albums around the world.  Martha is clearly the educated PhD professor that resonates with reason, but Ana Tijoux is unapologetic and doesn’t shy away on any topic. A few more posts on Ana’s new CD in other posts.

Take it away with the videos!


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8


Ana Tijoux performing “Antipatriarca”



Martha Gonzalez with Quetzal “Breast Pump Waltz” y “Todos Somos Ramona”


Maya Jupiter with husband Aloe Blacc