víctor jara: new song

augusto pinochet\’s junta, 1973.

I did not even know of Víctor Jara\’s existence until comparatively recently, therefore I make no claim to have anything remotely authoritative to say concerning this Chilean radical and songwriter; the populist champion of the Chilean \”New Song\” movement and outspoken campaigner for the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende.

His body was removed and tossed onto the streets in public view for maximum effect.

\”requiem for víctor jara\” by wolfgang mattheuer, 1973. Between the late 60\’s and his death in 1973, Jara was celebrated in radical circles throughout the world as champion of the left and spokesperson for the people. Much of his music was distributed through the Odeón label, a subsidiary of EMI International.

In 1973 / 1974 I was introduced to the son of a couple who\’d escaped Pinochet\’s regime and temporarily settled nearby, close to my parents\’ house on the street where we lived. A year or two younger than me, the age gap back then was too great for us to get on comfortably as friends. I do remember thinking that his mother was stunningly beautiful. Such was my grasp of Chile\’s political struggle.

The following song is probably one of his least overtly political, and was the b-side to a sizeable \’hit\’ in 1969.

It seems curiously bizarre in hindsight to contrast the glam rock \’revolution\’ in Britain with death squads on the prowl in a football stadium during the 1974 World Cup preliminaries, but Víctor Jara is testimony to the vital role music is capable of occupying in the transmission of ideals as catalyst to bring about social upheaval or crystallize resistance. An iconic talent on a par with Che Guevara, by dint of song alone. VICTOR JARA: TE RECUERDO AMANDA from \”Plegaria A Un Labrador b/w Te Recuerdo Amanda\” 45 (Jota Jota) 1969 (Chile)



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