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Music Blog

Concert Review: Ana Tijoux, Mexican Institute of Sound

by Austen Diamond
- Posted // 2012-05-20 - The first evening of the 27th annual Living Traditions Festival showcased the killer one-two punch of Mexican stars-on-the-rise Ana Tijoux and Mexican Institute of Sound.

The Ana Tijoux review was submitted by City Weekly contributor Savannah Turk.

Ana Tijoux

Rapping entirely in Spanish, Tijoux’s lyrics couldn’t be understood by the whole audience; however, the messages of love and strength were unmistakably present during the performance.

Tijoux (pictured above) got the crowd going with her optimistic attitude and strong beats, made by the live band behind her. A DJ, along with another band member who switched between drums and keyboard, created the background to Tijoux’s melodic voice and effortless flow. The live band made Tijoux’s performance more dynamic by generating energy onstage and allowing for creativity in the set.

Tijoux’s stage presence grew with every song. Starting off slightly reserved, she was stomping the stage with the ever-climbing beats by the end of the set. The energy onstage was echoed by the crowd, who got out of their seats and surrounded the stage to bob their heads with Tijoux’s lyrics. The show was not flashy, yet exemplified Tijoux’s pure talent for hip-hop.

The Chilean rapper is known for filling her lyrics with politically charged messages and speaking out about issues from her home country. One such song performed tonight, “Shock,” was written about, and became the anthem for, protesters demanding better-quality education in Chile.

With powerful commentary between songs like, “Poverty is every language” and “Really, the world is a ghetto,” Tijoux sent a message of cultural equality, resonating with the goals of the Living Traditions Festival.

After years of topping music charts in South America, the U.S. finally recognized Tijoux’s talents in 2011 when she was nominated for a Grammy in the Latin American category. Now, Tijoux is on a North American tour and seems to be gaining quite the fan base with sold-out shows across the country.

As Tijoux’s first time in Salt Lake City, the audience received her with open arms.

“Ana Tijoux is profound because not only does she speak of the struggles that the Latin American community faces, but she also speaks to the history of hip hop … She’s amazing and Salt Lake City is very lucky to have her here for free,” said one concert attendee, Melodeía Gutierréz.

The concert ended with Tijoux graciously leaving the stage, telling the audience, “Muchas thank yous!”

Mexican Institute of Sound

mis.jpg

With the ecstatic charisma of a circus ringleader, Camilo Lara led the already-excited crowd through a whirlwind tour of regional Mexican musical stylings; additionally, he brought them into a world where American dance music gets a little south-of-the-border flair. And, after all, at a festival to celebrate diverse, unique cultures in a globalized world, it’s no surprise why Lara’s Mexican Institute of Sound was a Living Traditions’ featured artist.

The bandleader would later humbly say that the band’s first album is “not so good,” the second album is “kind of OK” and their third and latest, Soy Sauce was “pretty good” (some of my favorite tracks include “Alocatel” and “Yo Diga Baila”) -- imagine Lara speaking in a Mexico City accent filled a toothy smiles.

And that honest truth was obvious as MIS started off strongly with several cuts from Soy Sauce, which also marked the musical high-water mark of the set. Lara, backed by a DJ/bassist and drummer, seamlessly turned traditional cumbia rhythms -- and had the crowd chanting “cumbia” and jumping up and down -- into full-on booty-shakers. And, while there were moments when the comparisons to LCD Soundsystem’s rang true -- on bass-heavy synthy dance track -- Lara has a sensibility all his own, so that comparison isn't fair to either band. Even as the set lulled slightly in the middle, a steady core of dancers stayed with Lara’s musical cross-pollination. And those dancers were rewarded as Lara invited a ton of them onstage to get down and dirty with him for a full-on dance party.

As the set wrapped up, MIS jumped into quite possibly their best song “Escribeme Pronto” and on the following two songs, the sizable crowd felt the music with the feeling of urgency and importance. Those seated finally became untethered and felt the freedom that only Latin grooves can induce.

Follow Austen Diamond on Twitter: @AustenDiamond

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