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‘Vengo’ a sort of manifesto Tijoux’s hip-hop goes back to Chilean roots

SANTIAGO, Chile, April 8, (Agencies): Ana Tijoux, whose rap song “La Bala” (The Bullet) became the soundtrack for Chile’s student movement, has emerged as one of the most influential voices in Latin America’s hip-hop scene. Now Tijoux, who spent her youth in France after her family was forced into exile during Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, says she’s eager to discover her roots. Her latest album, “Vengo” (I Come), trades pre-recorded electronic tracks for a live band of traditional Andean instruments to accompany powerful lyrics that tackle everything from social conflicts and indigenous rights to feminism and freedom. “It’s a sort of manifesto,” Tijoux told The Associated Press. “I want to learn and look at the world with other eyes.”

Tijoux, 36, moved back to Chile as a teenager and discovered her love for hip-hop. Her album “1977,” referring to the year she was born, was nominated for a Grammy in 2011 and the song under the album’s same name was featured in the popular TV drama series “Breaking Bad.” Back home, “La Bala” became the anthem for multitudes of Chilean students demanding education reform and a lessening of the country’s huge gap between the rich and poor.

“This new generation of students has been a bucket of cold water, a giant slap in the face for all of us. It’s a huge lesson about the ability to unite, and fight over something as basic as the right to study,” Tijoux said. “It was also a tremendous inspiration. The marches have been a high point for the gathering of otherwise invisible artists,” she said. “I never saw so many photographers, dancers, musicians as I saw in the marches. It’s a boiling pot for artists who are not part of the mainstream.” The student protests began under the 2006-10 presidency of Michelle Bachelet, who appeased some students by naming a commission including several of their leaders, and shuffling her Cabinet. But others were disappointed.
Bachelet was inaugurated for a new presidential term last month. She has vowed an education overhaul in response to the millions of people who have taken part in protests since 2011 demanding deep changes to a system suffering from poor quality public schools, unprepared teachers and expensive private universities.

At 88, blues guitarist B.B. King is a living legend and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. Slowed by age and infirmity, including diabetes, King continues to tour, with sometimes painful results. In St. Louis, some fans are singing the blues after an erratic weekend performance led to a stream of audience catcalls and early departures. Concertgoers said King’s rambling Friday night set featured just a handful of complete songs amid meandering musical snippets, long-winded soliloquies, an 8-piece backup band that missed its cues and a 15-minute sing-along of “You Are My Sunshine.” “Is he a living legend? Absolutely. Do I love his music? You bet,” said Larry Goldstein, who paid $150 for a pair of tickets. “But when you’re paying that type of money, you expect to see a show.” The experience highlights an increasingly common occurrence as musicians in their 70s and 80s take the stage in front of nostalgic audiences.

A recent St. Louis concert by 87-year-old rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry was also marked by missed chords, forgotten lyrics and a backing band’s persistent efforts to cover Berry’s missteps. Brad Goodman, King’s Los Angeles-based agent at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, declined to comment through an assistant. Other recent King performances have also struck sour notes. During a November concert in Texas, the bluesman’s voice “was weak and ragged, and his trademark guitar style had dissolved into a parade of sour notes,” a Dallas Morning News review said. Bob Johnson attended the St. Louis concert and said the dissatisfied audience members were trying to encourage King more than criticize him, suggesting specific song titles or urging him to “Play some music” during the long interludes. “Everybody was trying to be respectful that this guy is 88 years old,” he said. “It was painful to watch.”

WASHINGTON: Tiesto will headline a one-day electronic music festival near Washington to build support for US aid to end global poverty, organizers said Monday. The superstar Dutch DJ voiced hope in a statement that the June 26 show will benefit organizations that help “the millions of kids who are battling abuse and even dying from diseases that have known cures.” The “Thank You Festival” at the Merriweather Post Pavilion between Washington and Baltimore will also feature electronic artists Above & Beyond, Krewella and Alvin Risk. The event is a spinoff of the Global Citizen Festival, which has taken place annually since 2012 at New York’s Central Park and was headlined last year by Stevie Wonder.

The Global Citizen Festival is largely free of monetary charge, with 54,000 tickets distributed last year in exchange for advocacy activities such as signing petitions. The Thank You Festival will give out 100 tickets for advocacy with the rest for sale. Festival organizers said it was critical to ensure support for foreign aid, crediting US assistance with reducing new polio cases from 1,000 a day in 1990 to one a day last year. But some 29,000 children under age five still die every day, mostly from preventable diseases, according to UNICEF. Tiesto last month suffered a concussion when he hit his head on a screen during a performance in Calfornia. He has since resumed touring, joking on Twitter that he “took the American expression ‘go knock yourself out’ too literally.”

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