Chile’s Álex Anwandter creates political pop for survival in a world gone mad | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Chile’s Álex Anwandter creates political pop for survival in a world gone mad 

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click to enlarge Álex Anwandter

Álex Anwandter

Tsarina Marrin

Santiago-born singer-songwriter, composer, and film director Álex Anwandter has been dubbed the prince of Chilean pop, no small honor given that the country’s vibrant post-dictatorship scene attracted the first South American Lollapalooza in 2011. Anwandter identifies as queer and has a large LGBTQ+ following, and at the 34th annual Guadalajara International Film Festival this year he received the Premio Maguey Queer Icon award, given to artists who support or embody an open, transgressive, and sexually diverse culture. He’s known for concept-driven albums that set his emotional lyrics to soaring 80s-influenced dance anthems, and he explores political topics in his songs and music videos, which he directs himself. In “Cordillera” he pays homage to Chilean musicians such as Victor Jara (murdered by the Pinochet regime) and Violeta Parra, while in “Rebeldes” he turns the conversation toward fluid gender roles and queer desire. Anwandter is also a multi-instrumentalist (he plays guitar, piano, and violin) and supports his captivating live performances with sophisticated visuals. His fourth solo album, last year’s Latinoamericana, recently came out on vinyl, and lead single "Locura” (which he’s called a “danceable lament about madness in a ‘world going to shit’”) captures the essence of his music: it’s a deep dive into the current state of society accompanied by supremely catchy pop hooks.   v

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