Rolando Alarcón


random trip report

Rolando Alarcón was a Chilean singer/songwriter of the 60s and early 70s. I heard some of his music when I lived in Ecuador in 1967/8 - my mother Alice had a tape of it, courtesy of some local Peace Corps workers who had traveled to Chile. We listened to it over and over. I loved the songs, and they have haunted me ever since.

Alarcón's lyrics are romantic, humanist, patriotic, profound and beautiful. His music blends a strummed-guitar folk sound with the drums and panpipes of indigenous Andean music, and the harmony is fresh and creative. The overall sound is unique. Alice says: "As a folk poet as well as a musician, Alarcon beats Dylan all hollow." As great as I think Dylan is, I have to agree with her.

Alarcón died in 1973. In an interview, Patricio Manns says that Alarcón suffered an internal hemorrhage and was taken to a first-aid station instead of a hospital, that the doctors there refused to operate on him because they were enemies of Allende, and that he died after five days. This was about 6 months before the Pinochet coup. (A relative of Alarcón says this story is apocryphal: that Alarcón was in Chañarall and had a bleeding ulcer, that he travelled to Santiago, was admitted to a hospital, and died on the operating table.)

A year ago, after an unsuccessful attempt to copy the old reel-to-reel tapes to CD, I started looking for the music on the Internet. Finally, thanks to my friend Emilio in Barcelona, who asked his friend Leonardo in Chile, I tracked it down and got a copy on cassette. The release is called "No Juegues a Ser Soldado". After many late nights (and many tears) I completed a web page of No Juegues a Ser Soldado with the music (in MP3 form) and the lyrics in Spanish and English .

If you have, or know of, any other Alarcon recordings, please email me. With all the technology in the world, I think it's criminal that great and historically important music can disappear forever, to be replaced by a million pressings of 'N Sync, etc.

Many thanks to Kristina, who supplied most of the MP3s.

An excellent biography of Alarcón, and a very complete discography, can be found on Wikipedia

Lyrics to all of Alarcón's songs are on cancioneros.com.

A biography, "Rolando Alarcón, la canción en la noche" by Carlos Valladares y Manuel Vilches, was published in 2010. It's reviewed here


Miscellaneous Rolando Alarcón

El Arbol de la Noche Triste · lyrics
El Gallo Rojo · lyrics
  by Chicho Sánchez Ferlosio
Mocito que vas Remando · lyrics
Parabien de la Paloma · lyrics+translation
Yo defiendo a mi tierra · lyrics
San Pedro Trotó 100 Años · lyrics
  Performed by Coro Legato, from the album 'Villancicos' (2006). The rhythm of the accompaniment refers to trotting.

Rolando Alarcon and Silvia Urbina - 1964 - Chile nuevo Vol 1

Despedida · lyrics
De Tus Ojitos Llorosos · lyrics
Cuando Baila El Cachimbo · lyrics
Los Cuatros Lenos · lyrics
El Picaflor · lyrics
Doña Javiera Carrera · lyrics

Rolando Alarcon - 1967 - A la resistencia española

la paloma [rolando alarcón]
canción de grimau [rolando alarcón]
a la huelga [rolando alarcón]
coplas del tiempo [rolando alarcón]
el gallo rojo [rolando alarcón]
canción de los soldados [rolando alarcón]

Rolando Alarcon - 1967 - El Nuevo Rolando Alarcon
Later reissued as 'No Juegues a Ser Soldado'.

Transcribed and translated by David Anderson, with help from Alice McLerran, Gustavo Nores and Leonardo Catalán. Please email me if you have corrections.

The Spanish lyrics have a beauty that is largely lost in translation. Armed with a Spanish/English dictionary and my high-school knowledge of the language, I tried to find natural-sounding rather than literal translations. Please suggest improvements.

Notes on the audio: My original, a cassette tape purchased from Feria del Disco in Chile, is a low-quality recording from vinyl. If you like this music, please buy a copy from them.


La balada de Abraham Lincoln · lyrics+translation
El trigo · lyrics+translation
Piel de nina · lyrics+translation
Cueca larga del norte · lyrics+translation
Paloma negra · lyrics+translation
Vienes de un mundo triste · lyrics+translation
Palomo y la golondrina · lyrics+translation
Yo tengo una copla triste · lyrics+translation
Manana sera Domingo · lyrics+translation
Don Jose Miguel Carrera · lyrics+translation
Yo canto a la libertad · lyrics+translation
No juegues a ser soldado · lyrics+translation


Los Emigrantes - 1969 - Los Éxitos De Rolando Alarcón Por Los Emigrantes
Rolando Alarcon produced this album, and all the songs are his.


La Canción De La Noche · lyrics
Niña, Sube A La Lancha
Canto Guajiro
Si Somos Americanos
San Pedro Trotó Cien Años
Como El Viento Norte
Coplas Del Pajarito
Mocito Que Vas Remando
Mi Abuela Bailó Sirilla
Corazón Enamorado


Rolando Alarcon - 1969 - El mundo folklorico de

La balada de Ho Chi Minh
Guantanamera
La mano de Dios
Dónde están las flores
América nuestra
Cueca al Che
Mi hermano era pescador
Duerme el guerrillero
América guerrera
Se olvidaron de la patria
Me voy pa' bete

Rolando Alarcon - 1970 - El hombre

El hombre
La quebrada de la luna
Paloma mía
La hierba de los caminos
Cuando una tarde salí
Canción a Magdalena (Julio Zegers)
Voy por la vida cantando
Noche de contrapunto
Canción para Martín Rivas
Canción de Juan el Pobre

Rolando Alarcon - 1971 - Canciones desde una prision [ed. 1990]

Si tu eres mi enemigo · lyrics
Coplas del pie · lyrics
Ha muerto Elba Susana (Enrique Norambuena) · lyrics
He venido desde lejos · lyrics
Pobrecita la llave · lyrics
Coplas del oficio · lyrics
La pregunta (Conjunto Huiracocha) · lyrics
Coplas del toro vuelto · lyrics
El verde no muere solo · lyrics
Por la raza y la causa (Bonus) · lyrics
  The version on "El alma de mi pueblo' is better

Rolando Alarcon - 1972 - El alma de mi pueblo

Voy a recorrer mi ciudad · lyrics
Cancion para Pablo · lyrics
El museo de cera · lyrics
Por la causa y la Raza · lyrics
Recabarren · lyrics
Entre la ciudad del si y la ciudad del no · lyrics
Camarada Elias Laferte · lyrics
La bandera · lyrics
El alma de mi pueblo · lyrics
Pongamos amor en nuestro vino · lyrics

Traditional Chilean Songs
Folkways Records, 1960. I think these are all existing Chilean folk songs, recorded by Alarcon.


Si Yo Volviera a Quererte · lyrics
Doña María le Ruego · lyrics
La Niña de Arauco · lyrics
Los Patos en la Laguna · lyrics
Los Gallos · lyrics
El Naranjito · lyrics
Despedimiento del Angelito · lyrics
Aves Que En Campo Habitan · lyrics
Anoche Me Refalé · lyrics
Juguete de Amor · lyrics
Baila Jovencito, Baila · lyrics
Ojos Verdes y Serenos · lyrics
La Golondrina · lyrics
Los Morenos · lyrics
Las naranjas · lyrics
La Clavelina · lyrics
El Jilguerillo · lyrics

Copyright 2021 © David P. Anderson