La Nueva Canción Chilena

random trip report

La Nueva Canción Chilena (New Chilean Song) is the musical voice of a social/political movement that lived in Chile in the 1960s and early 70s. Musically, it revived the sounds of native Andean music and blended them with American folk and popular music. Politically, the movement championed labor organization, land reform, anti-racism, and anti-imperialism. It supported the Vietnamese in their struggle against the U.S.

Pinochet and the Fascist military junta seized power in Chile on Sept. 11, 1973. The New Chilean Song movement (along with most leftist political and social organizations) was destroyed, and its leaders murdered or exiled. The CIA and other U.S. agencies were heavily involved in installing Pinochet and keeping him in power. His thugs learned torture techniques at the U.S.-sponsored School of Americas. Makes you proud to be an American, doesn't it?

Rolando Alarcón

My favorite artist in this genre is Rolando Alarcón. His music speaks to me like nothing else. A few of my favorites:

MUCH more music by Rolando Alarcón

Early in his career, Rolando Alarcón was part of Cuncumén.

Alarcon is featured on several Nueva Canción collection LPs.

Violeta, Isabel and Angel Parra

Violeta Parra was the mother of La Nueva Canción Chilena. Her children Isabel and Angel are excellent musicians in their own right.

More info, and more music by the Parras,

The Parras are featured on several Nueva Canción collection LPs.

Luis Advis wrote an absolutely amazing cantata about Violeta: Canto Para Una Semilla.

Víctor Jara

Jara is perhaps the best-known of the Nueva Canción singer/songwriters. He was murdered during the Pinochet coup. From Wikipedia:

On the morning of September 12, Jara was taken, along with thousands of others, as a prisoner to the Chile Stadium (renamed the Estadio Víctor Jara in September 2003). In the hours and days that followed, many of those detained in the stadium were tortured and killed there by the military forces. Jara was repeatedly beaten and tortured; the bones in his hands were broken as were his ribs. Fellow political prisoners have testified that his captors mockingly suggested that he play guitar for them as he lay on the ground. Defiantly, he sang part of "Venceremos" (We Will Win), a song supporting the Popular Unity coalition. After further beatings, he was machine-gunned on September 16 and his body dumped on a road on the outskirts of Santiago, and then taken to a city morgue.

I don't have much of his music - but I probably should.


Cuncumén was a musical group formed in 1955; it included Rolando Alarcon for a while, and sometimes featured Victor Jara. It's folksy, without much edge.

Music by Cuncumén.

Los Cuatro Cuartos

Kristina: "Los Cuatro Cuartos are a vocal group. They perform Chilean folk and pieces by some Chilean Nueva Canción artists. I recently remembered that they had a lot to do with why I became interested in Rolando Alarcón. Rolando gave them Doña Javiera Carrera and El negro cachimbo to perform. I think their versions of his songs are lovely and energetic. "

El negro cachimbo
Javiera Carrera

Other musicians

Some of these are featured on Nueva Canción collection LPs.

  • Patricio Manns
  • Chicho Sanchez Ferlosio. Rolando Alarcón performed several of his song, including Permítame usted que hable.
  • The groups Inti-Illimani and Quilapayun
  • Armando Tejada Gomez (Argentine; I don't know anything about him but looks interesting)

Web resources

Informational sites



  • This was where I found No Juegues. They have the most complete selection.
  • Alerce. A Chilean record company (with an online store) that sells the above 2 CDs, and various other La Nueva Canción Chilena music.
  • Gourmet Musical little Chilean, buts lots of south american music.

The following store may have something:


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