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