Chile has a rich history of cultural resistance, from la Nueva Cancion of Violeta Parra and Victor Jara to the revolutionary rap lyrics of Ana Tijoux. Tijoux was born in France, the daughter of exiled militants who were political prisoners under the Pinochet dictatorship. In the early 1990s, Tijoux’s family returned to Chile, where she brought the hip hop culture she had learned as a child in France to the growing rap cyphers of Santiago. Tijoux quickly became one the most important emcees of her generation. Today, she is an international star whose music — much like her predecessors in the Nueva Cancion — has become the soundtrack to protests from Santiago to Barcelona. When the 2019 social uprising started, she was one of the first artists to respond with a song, “Cacerolazo,” an ode to the protest act of banging pots and pans to bring awareness to hunger and economic inequality. 

Every uprising needs a soundtrack. I had a chance to sit down with Ana Tijoux to ask her about the top ten songs of the social uprising. She named eleven. Here they are in no particular order, along with an explanation of why she chose each track. 


1. Quilapayún, El Pueblo Unido (The People United)

I picked this song because it’s universal — it speaks not only to Chile but to the entire world. It’s become an anthem, and I’d say it’s one of those songs that uplifts and empowers you. When you sing the verses or the chorus, you’re not just singing about problems in your own country but about problems all across the globe, and so it helps us recognize each other.

2. Los Prisioneros, El Baile de Los Que Sobran (The Dance of Those Left Over)

This is an emblem of our social movements because it identifies a class struggle. It’s dedicated to the people that “don’t belong,” the ones who aren’t allowed in, the ones that don’t fit the mold, and that’s what’s so powerful about this song.

3. Victor Jara, El Derecho de Vivir en Paz (The Right to Live in Peace)

This is another one of those emblematic anthems that transcends time and history, and yet remains so current, so emotional, so relevant. That’s why this work is so important!

4. Violeta Parra, Arauco Tiene Una Pena (Arauco Has a Sorrow)

This beautiful work by Violet Parra is so contemporary — she was always so ahead of her time! When you listen closely to these profound lyrics, you can still relate to them in 2022, with everything happening in the south of Chile and all the militarization and violence suffered by the Mapuche people

5. Portavoz ft Stailok, El Otro Chile (The Other Chile)

This is one of those rap tracks that goes hard. I can’t explain it, it just makes me feel hype! The lyrics are amazing, and, like the title says, it tells us about this “other” Chile, this forgotten place that’s not always visible, that shows great pride and dignity even though conditions are harsh.

6. Sol y Lluvia, Adiós General (Bye General!)

This song was symbolic [of the resistance to] the dictatorship, and you still hear it playing all the time. It has this furious chant that Sol y Lluvia shouted out during the darkest times against the tyrant, Augusto Pinochet. This song is another one that makes absolute sense to me and has also remained very contemporary.

7. Las Tesis, Un Violador en Tu Camino (A Rapist in Your Path)

Las Tesis is one of those artistic groups that transgressed and expanded beyond the world of performance, combining it with music and dance. It’s been magical to see several generations of women performing this enchanting work, and I can’t help getting emotional when I hear it. It’s a mix of empowerment, rage, and strength.

8. Camila Moreno, Quememos el Reino (Burn Down the Kingdom)

I just love the musical arrangements in this song. Camila’s voice fits the music so well, and it also creates a new kind of language, which is super interesting. She’s one of the most talented artists in Chile today.

9. Pterodactilo Rex, Falta de Respeto (No Respect)

This is the one song I listened to throughout the lockdown; it’s just so punk, and I love it! It’s a project that deserves a lot more attention. Listen to it!

10. Saturna, Perreo de Cuneta (Curbside Twerk)

This one is an absolute hit! I think it’s one of my favorite dance tracks in recent times; you can just soak this one up!

11. MC Millaray, Zomo Newen (Life-Force of Women)

And finally, the princess, the queen, the boss! MC Millaray, my beautiful colleague, sister, and comrade: a new generation that’s rising with so much energy and newen (life force). She and her family know how much I admire her and how happy I am to see her growing and expanding!


While Ana showed how humble she is by not including one of her own tracks, we all know that no Top 10 protest music list out of Chile can exist without her anthems. So I’m adding two: Shock, inspired by Naomi Klein’s book on disaster capitalism, and Antipatriarca, the feminist anthem that was played on the streets as the women of Chile took to the front lines.

Read the issue


Created with Sketch.

Related Articles