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Pistolera founder goes solo, revisits Latin American protest songs

Brooklyn, N.Y.-based singer-songwriter Ani Cordero has stepped out for a solo album called “Recordar.”

Brooklyn, N.Y.-based singer-songwriter Ani Cordero has stepped out for a solo album called “Recordar.”

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Ani Cordero has taken a step out front and gone solo.

The former leader of Pistolera has been touring in support of her debut solo album, “Recordar.” The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based singer-songwriter will be at the National Hispanic Center as part of its Chispa series of Latin Divas on Thursday, Oct. 30.

The album was inspired by songs from Latin American singers from the 1930s through the 1970s. Cordero says it was a challenge and an education going through so many years of songs.

“I wanted to present songs from a diverse set of Latin American countries, but I also have my favorites,” she says. “Chile, Argentina and Puerto Rico all got two songs each because how could I do a Violeta Parra song and not a Victor Jara one, for example?”

Cordero wanted to focus on this time period because she wanted to talk about how music helped motivate people to be active in politics and brave against repression.

“We’re in constant danger of losing the headway we’ve made on social justice issues,” she says. “Violeta Parra is one of my heroes because she expresses the truth so clearly and beautifully.”

While performing with Pistolera and Os Mutantes and Tuff Sunshine, Cordero says her comfort zone was in the back while playing the drums.

“I feel very comfortable back there behind the (drum) kit,” she says. “When I come up front, it’s so personal. It’s much harder because of that, but also very rewarding when you feel you’ve successfully communicated with an audience through music.”

Though the songs on the album are covers, Cordero is a songwriter who crafts her own music. She isn’t constantly writing though goes through “obsessed writing phases.”

“I don’t listen to any music except what I’m writing,” she says. “Then I take a break for a few months and listen to other people’s music again and I’m obsessive in that phase as well. I can listen to the same record over and over for months.”

Some of the artists who Cordero listens to currently are Lhasa de Sela, Danny Rivera and Ruben Blades.

She would like to collaborate with other artists in the future.

“I would love to collaborate with Ana Tijoux, Calle 13, or David Byrne,” she says.