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Ana Tijoux: Tiny Desk Concert

Ana Tijoux is proof that hip-hop knows no boundaries — it's not even exclusive to the U.S. Hip-hop has become the lingua franca for young people around the globe.

Tijoux was born in France to exiled parents who fled a Chilean dictatorship. She returned to Chile as a teenager and started rapping, first in French and then finding her place in Spanish.

She recently burst from the local hip-hop scene in Santiago de Chile to join the ranks of non-English-speaking MCs who artfully work their native languages into the rapid-fire cadence of rap. Her bursts of language tell stories in rhythms and rhymes that often have a soft French edge. She speaks from the heart and tells it as she sees it.

In this intimate performance at the NPR Music offices with percussionist Names Thompson, Tijoux held a mid-afternoon crowd enthralled with her rhythmic flow and offerings from her most recent album, 1977. It's an uncharacteristically quiet performance, but all the more powerful for its subtlety.

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Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.
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