Kichwa hip-hop dethrones the imagery of indigenous peoples as living in rural communities isolated from modernity.
By Manuela Picq
The Ecuadorian band Los Nin raps blending Spanish with Kichwa, the pre-Columbian language spoken during the Inca Empire. Their hip-hop has brought Los Nin international recognition. They have performed in the United States, Latin America and Europe. After Chicago and New York, Los Nin gathered crowds in Barcelona with their show Shinallami-Kanchik. They performed at Les Trois Baudets in Paris, the famous venue where musical icons such as George Brassens and Jacques Brel acquired celebrity status decades ago.
"On stage Los Nin blend languages and native musical instruments like the Andean flute with more electric sounds."
When they are not on an international tour, one may see Los Nin rapping among young crowds of Quito's indigenous bar--Cactus. The scene is the same as it would be in the Bronx, with students of communication and medicine gathering in a small venue to dance and collectively freestyle on the mic, except here the audience is a multilingual, multiethnic crowd, blending urban fashion with traditional attires.
For more on the subject, see Healing Natives Through Hip Hop and Bolivian Indigenous Hip Hop.