How might social justice, great music, and creative media be effectively combined? Chilean musician Ana Tijoux’s performance on Monday, Apr. 25, demonstrated that these three elements have the ability to pack a powerful musical punch.
Tijoux’s performance, held at Scripps College's Balch Auditorium, was organized by the Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment (SCORE), which provides support to student organizations that aim to increase social and political awareness.
The event was presented by Assistant Professor Martha Gonzalez of Scripps College and Professor Miguel R. Tinker Salas of Pomona College, both professors in the 5C Intercollegiate Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies Department.
Tijoux performed with a guitarist and a violinist. The robust, dynamic songs they performed raised the roof with their blend of the political and the rhythmic. The songs performed featured a combination of vocals and rapping by Tijoux, who is widely known for her music as an MC.
“It’s like you painted your whole life in aquarelle, and now you want to paint your life in graffiti,” Tijoux said when asked towards the end of the event about the shift in her musical style. This portion of the discussion also branched out to more broadly address the process of creative change and artistic development.
In addition to the performance of multiple songs, the event featured a short interview between Tijoux and Professors Gonzalez and Salas. The questions asked centered largely on Tijoux’s political views and her approach to her music videos, then segued into a discussion of political trends and protests.
“There is nothing more machiste [i.e. machismo] than capitalism,” Tijoux said in her discussion of the dangers of excessive capitalist priorities, “Even revolution can be the logotype of capitalism.”
Discussion of Tijoux's music videos focused on her desire to express traditional cultural practices such as dance along with protest-related activities. Tijoux mentioned, for instance, how in certain traditions these two practices are interlinked, as seen in the traditional dance portrayed in the music video for the song Somos Sur, which features Tijoux and Shadia Mansour.
Tijoux criticized the frequent use of façades within politics.
“What they think is not what they say, and what they say is not what they feel,” Tijoux said. She also strongly emphasized the idea that socio-political issues are expansive and consequential across borders; these issues are, in her words, not “localista” but “internacionlista” in their significance.
As the event wrapped up, Tijoux took a selfie with the full audience. Her comments seemed to have conveyed a powerful message to the audience: that no matter one’s country, language, or socio-political status, music can unite and encourage. As Tijoux put it, “I think good music is good music, whatever is the color of the music.”