Exactly one year ago, the Chilean people decided it was time for a change. Galling transportation fare hikes, poor public health programs, corrupt pension plans (and many other broken systems of Chilean society) led to massive nationwide protests and a violent government response. By the millions, Chileans demanded the restoration of their dignity, even re-christening Plaza Italia, the epicenter of the massive demonstrations, as Plaza de la Dignidad. Among their key demands is the drafting of a new constitution to replace the dictatorship-era document that cemented neoliberal policies as a base of the national economy, with a landmark plebiscite scheduled for October 25. The vote will not only determine if efforts to redraft the constitution will move forward, but also who will do the actual writing—the people who seek to make the country’s foundation more inclusive of women and Indigenous people, or the Congress who remain consistently in the pockets of corporations.
Chilean musicians have been widely supportive of the movement dubbed “El Estallido Social” and, as one of the leading voices of homegrown socio-political dissent, Ana Tijoux stepped into the spotlight as a megaphone for revolution and a fierce government critic. Unleashing her first series of releases since 2014’s Vengo LP, urgent and cathartic anthems like “Cacerolazo,” “Antifa Dance” with Alex Anwandter, and “Pa Qué” featuring PJ Sin Suela, have all taken aim at Sebastián Piñera’s embattled government, police brutality and the archaic institutions in need of reform.
It’s a rousing testament to everything that is at stake in days to come.
Her latest release is “Rebelión de Octubre,” featuring 13-year old Mapuche rapper MC Millary, which comes mere days ahead of the plebiscite to remind us of what the people have lost, learned and why they fight.
“Rebelión de Octubre/Nuestra América nos une” sings Tijoux in the chorus, nodding to the wave of reform protests that have swept through Puerto Rico, Colombia and many other Latin American countries over the past year. Stepping away from the rapid-fire bars that made her a rap icon, Tijoux delivers her message in syrupy waves, underlining the song’s spirit of reflection and the significant day of action that is almost upon us.
While Tijoux summarizes events of the past year, MC Millary steps in as the heart of “Rebelión de Octubre” delivering two powerful verses, one in Spanish and the other in her native Mapudungun. MC Millary’s voice trembles with urgency, simultaneously speaking for everyday people and Chile’s deeply marginalized Mapuche community. It’s a rousing testament to everything that is at stake in days to come: the promise of a better future and the ways we can work together to ensure a more fair distribution of what is already ours.