A few months ago, Ana Tijoux was scheduled for back to back performances at Old Town School of Folk Music on the same evening. Unfortunately, it seemed like the evening wasn’t meant to be. Her fellow musicians were delayed and Tijoux herself wasn’t feeling well. After powering through her first performance, Tijoux’s second show was cancelled and rescheduled for a future date. As I and the packed crowd glumly walked out of the venue, we completely understood and knew that whenever the show would be rescheduled, it would be for the better. Thankfully, that show was announced for the day after her Ruido Fest performance and made for an excellent way to cap off a weekend of Spanish language music.
The evening featured no opener, letting the focus fall entirely on Tijoux and her band. They took to the spotlight wonderfully, infusing Old Town’s already welcoming atmosphere with a genuine openness. There was never a moment that felt disingenuous, presenting every song with all of their songs with undeniable enthusiasm.
Part of that as definitely due to the mystery around Tijoux’s new direction, entering into more traditional and folk styles of her Chilean heritage. Although a proper album of the songs still isn’t out, something that Tijoux remarked about a few times, they felt fully formed during the evening. A love song focused on a pair of criminals, breathed fresh as Tijoux’s voice washed over the crowd. Molecules conveyed sadness in another while black stars shined in others. Their was always a spark of beauty in the songs that leapt out from them. They had a very straight forward quality, calling attention to their gentle lyricism that magically reflected their almost universal qualities. Nealy everyone of the new tracks were stripped of overt production, letting the band’s talents shine through.
Throughout the night, Tijoux spoke to the crowd in English and Spanish, jumping between the languages seamlessly as she switched between their tones. At times she was utterly serious as she expressed her sorrow for the families that had been separated at the border, chiding the enforcement of such horrendous actions, and support for the indigenous Mapuche of Chile. Other times she was simply having fun, taking off her shoes and telling the crowd not to mistake her for Shakira.
Tijoux mixed in songs from her lengthy career in to the more traditional sound, which clearly delighted the crowd. I’m sure everyone would have been fine with out the appearance of certain songs, but it felt quite nice to hear tracks like “1977” highlight the latter half of the set.
Towards the end of the show, members of the crowd were up from their seats and dancing where they could . Tijoux noticed them and encouraged the rest of the audience to do the same. While the venue’s pew like seats hampered more excessive dancing, everyone tried their best as Tijoux and company exuded their joyful sound. There wasn’t a single person and didn’t get up off of their seats for the final moments of the evening, feeling fully satisfied with Tijoux’s show.