Ana Tijoux: “#CACEROLAZO”
Chile has been beset by unrest in recent weeks, as demonstrations against proposed fare hikes on public transport have sparked massive protests rooted in the country’s endemic inequality. Peaceful marches and civil disobedience have spun off into looting and vandalism, amid allegations of police brutality; the government imposed martial law, declared a nightly curfew, and deployed military troops, who have unleashed tear gas and water cannons. Official tallies count at least 12 dead. “We are at war,” declared conservative president Sebastian Piñera.
A familiar noise has soundtracked the chaos: cacerolazos, the time-honored tradition of banging pots and pans together as a form of protest. These spontaneous acts of noise-making have been a popular expression of dissent throughout Chile and Argentina since the 1980s. Now the percussive din has gotten a 21st-century update, thanks to a viral song by the French-Chilean musician Ana Tijoux: “#CACEROLAZO.”
In a one-minute clip, which has been played more than 1.6 million times on Instagram since it was posted yesterday, Tioux chants an irresistible hymn to a revolution in the making, giving voice to popular grievances and calling for Piñera’s resignation as sirens wail. The hypnotic chorus is a paean to protest itself: “Cuchara de palo/Frente a tus balazos/Y al toque de queda…/Cacerolazo” (“Wooden spoon/In front of your bullets/And at curfew…/Cacerolazo”). But the genius of the song, produced by France’s Jon Grandcamp, is the way it samples the actual clatter of wooden spoons and saucepans into an infectious, impossible-to-ignore beat. The sample converts a song about protest into an act of resistance in its own right. As Bob Dylan sang, “A lotta people don’t have much food on their table/But they got a lot of forks and knives/And they gotta cut something.” Tijoux and Grandcamp’s song builds brilliantly on that metaphor.
Photo by C Brandon/Redferns