Lila Downs and Ana Tijoux: A Musical Legacy

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Wednesday February 21, 2018


Ana Tijoux and Lila Downs Reveal What They Love About Each Other’s Musical Legacies
By: Caitlin Donohue

Don’t call the alliance a no-brainer, because that would drain the importance of Ana Tijoux and Lila Downs’ artistic connection. A better descriptor might be fated. How better to label the convergence of two women who have fought so long for feminism, against neocolonialism, for a recognition of indigenous roots — through song?

It makes little difference that the Chilean emcee Tijoux and Mexican folklorist Downs are from opposite ends of the Latin American world. The two had long felt that the other was engaged in a creative voyage powered by the same fight for independence and respect. They were far-off sisters in the struggle. Of course, one day they finally met.

Lila, what about Ana’s art made it essential for you to collaborate with her?

Lila Downs: We Latinos lead a double existence. On one side, we are very generous, friendly. On the other side, we can be diplomatic, you could say. But also traitors, no? There’s a motive for this, historically speaking. It’s about survival. When I read rap from different peers, and especially that of Ana, I hear different layers, a historic symbolism that isn’t always explicit — but sometimes is in your face. Sometimes it’s metaphoric, deep. It’s like a dialogue of languages. That’s why I’ve been so attracted to rap throughout my childhood and youth, and especially when I find a voice like Anita’s that is true and musical and rhythmic. It has to do with the manner in which we as Latin Americans speak, and in her case, Chileans, Chilean women who have indigenous roots. It is admirable that that has survived, that we survive through different kinds of expression.

Read the rest of the interview here