Although for me, the writings for #mymusic are designed as shorter references, todays post requires a bit more space, because there are many singers, groups and composers related to this topic and it is important to understand the historical moment in that arise and why. For that reason, before knowing the main protagonist of this publication, we are going to see what was the moment that lived a part of the planet that surrounded me by then.
I also like to tell the most beautiful parts of the stories and highlight the happier aspects, but those "others" also exist and sometimes it is necessary to remember them and talk about them.
Víctor Jara [Source]
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Since 1969 I had the immense pleasure of living in Germany. Living so far from the homeland is a fact that makes you connect in a much more direct way with things that, possibly, if you were in your land you would ignore them. And that happens not only with the "little homeland", but also with the "great homeland", that is, in my case, the whole Latin America. And since we arrived there our link with the Latin American cultural manifestations became our daily bread.
The 1960s were fundamental in the development of a deeply nationalist culture in Chile. When I say "nationalist" it also includes many elements of that "great homeland". It is at that time that begin to transcend the children of Violeta Parra (precursor of all that movement), Angel and Isabel Parra who also created "La Peña de los Parra", which was one of the locals that contributed to the birth of the movement of the New Chilean Song, where performed artists such as Tito Fernández "El Temucano", Patricio Manns, the group Amerinidios, the Curacas and also Victor Jara. It is the same time that groups like Quilapayún and Inti-Illimani start their career.
It was a movement of very high level and elaboration, where artists from different guilds joined to give a conceptual unity to all the work. The majority of participants of that group coincided in the political with the ideas of the left, reason why the majority was linked to the election of Salvador Allende, who in 1970 won the Chilean elections, which became an additional impulse for the movement, since they became a musical expression of the new popular political movements of the world. It is from this movement that come up songs like "Gracias a la vida" and "Volver a los 17", by Violeta Parra; "Venceremos" and "El pueblo unido jamás será vencido" (The united people will never be defeated), from the Quilapayún group; "La fiesta de San Benito" and "Simón Bolívar", recorded by Inti-Illimani; "El derecho de vivir en paz" (The right to live in peace) and "Te recuerdo Amanda" (I remember you Amanda) by Víctor Jara, among many other songs that became emblems.
In other Latin American countries similar movements were also developed, but in the case of Chile, Allende's triumph gave it such an important projection from which the movements of many of those other countries benefited, contributing to the worldwide diffusion of artists like Mercedes Sosa, from Argentina; Daniel Viglietti and Alfredo Zitarrosa, from Uruguay.
The political nature of the whole movement led to the creation of a support movement for these artists around the world, and in this way record labels emerged that gave themselves the task of spreading this type of music. This had as an additional effect that groups with the aesthetics of the Chilean groups arose everywhere and that they interpreted traditional Latin American repertoire and the so-called "protest song".
When I started in music, of course, this was the repertoire that accompanied me in my first stage and it is necessary to emphasize that in Germany this music had a great impact and in its stages performed any number of representatives of these musical movements. Also, because of my dad being a Latin American journalist in that country, my house was like an embassy, where all those artists went. So our contact with them was direct and personal, a fact that left a deeper impression on me.
With the coup d'etat that took place on September 11, 1973 against Chilean President Salvador Allende, the main groups of that country had to go into exile, because they were in danger of death. And it was not an exaggeration, as an example of this is the case of Víctor Jara.
A few days ago, on September 28, he would have turned 86 years old, but history marked for him a different path.
Although the most widespread facet of this Chilean, is that of singer-songwriter, his role in that musical movement went much further. The studies he did were theater, acting and directing. These two tools were key to the role he played in the whole process. He developed a musical facet and combined it with his theatrical career.
Víctor Jara became artistic director of groups such as Quilapayún and, applying his theatrical knowledge, he created an image and a performing concept that had an impressive effect worldwide and that became a standard for many groups that were dedicated to the genre.
His support to the nascent Chilean groups was indisputable and made him a reference in the guild. His contribution to that nascent musical movement was reflected in many aspects and one of them was as a composer and singer.
At the time of the coup d'etat, Victor was at his place of work, at the State Technical University, where he was imprisoned and taken to the Estadio de Chile, which had been converted into a gigantic prison. There he was subjected to multiple tortures. To prevent him from playing the guitar, they fractured the fingers of his hands; to prevent him from singing, they cut his tongue. Finally, four days after his arrest he was killed with more than 44 shots.
In that same stadium, which today bears his name, Victor wrote his last poetry narrating what was in sight:
There are five thousand of us here
in this small part of the city.
We are five thousand.
I wonder how many we are in all
in the cities and in the whole country?
are ten thousand hands which plant seeds
and make the factories run.
How much humanity
exposed to hunger, cold, panic, pain,
moral pressure, terror and insanity?
Six of us were lost
as if into starry space.
One dead, another beaten as I could never have believed
a human being could be beaten.
The other four wanted to end their terror
one jumping into nothingness,
another beating his head against a wall,
but all with the fixed stare of death.
What horror the face of fascism creates!
They carry out their plans with knife-like precision.
Nothing matters to them.
To them, blood equals medals,
slaughter is an act of heroism.
Oh God, is this the world that you created,
for this your seven days of wonder and work?
Within these four walls only a number exists
which does not progress,
which slowly will wish more and more for death.
But suddenly my conscience awakes
and I see that this tide has no heartbeat,
only the pulse of machines
and the military showing their midwives’ faces
full of sweetness.
Let Mexico, Cuba and the world
cry out against this atrocity!
We are ten thousand hands
which can produce nothing.
How many of us in the whole country?
The blood of our President, our compañero,
will strike with more strength than bombs and machine guns!
So will our fist strike again!
How hard it is to sing
when I must sing of horror.
Horror which I am living,
horror which I am dying.
To see myself among so much
and so many moments of infinity
in which silence and screams
are the end of my song.
What I see, I have never seen
What I have felt and what I feel
Will give birth to the moment …
Te recuerdo Amanda (I remember you, Amanda)
Ni chicha, ni limonada ( Neither fish nor fowl)
El aparecido (The revenant)
El derecho de vivir en paz (The right to live in peace)
En el río Mapocho (In the river Mapocho)
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