Victor Jara

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Dec 23 19:01:41 MST 2002

NY Times, Dec. 23, 2002

A Voice Stilled by a Junta Now Throbs Again

SANTIAGO, Chile, Dec. 18 — Gen. Augusto Pinochet and the Chilean military
were so intent on eliminating all traces of the leftist singer and
songwriter Victor Jara that torturing and then executing him was not enough
to satisfy them when they seized power in 1973. For added measure, they
also had master tapes of Jara's recordings and concert appearances destroyed.

A generation later, though, Chile is experiencing a full-fledged Victor
Jara revival, or "resurrection," as the head of his former record label
prefers to call it. Not only have Jara's remixed and remastered recordings
recently been reissued in a sleek CD box set and his sheet music
republished, but he is also the focus of a documentary available on DVD, a
pair of tribute albums and a music festival here this month.

"I guess it just goes to show the truth of the saying that you can kill the
singer but not the song," said Joan Turner Jara, Jara's British-born widow,
a former ballerina who now runs the Victor Jara Foundation here. "Victor
and his songs are there in the history of Chile, so in rediscovering, him
Chileans are recovering their own past."

To the surprise of many, Jara's primary audience appears to be not
middle-aged fans who remember him but young Chileans who had not even been
born when he was killed. On university campuses and in coffeehouses he has
become something of a counterculture hero much like Che Guevara and admired
as a critic of the capitalist economy that now reigns triumphant here.

"People just discovering him now are surprised by the pertinence of what
they are hearing," said Carlos Fonseca, executive producer of the CD box
set and manager of Los Prisioneros, Chile's most popular rock group.
"Besides, Victor is the personification of the rebel poet who stood up for
what he believed in, and young people like and respect that kind of bravery."


Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list:

PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.

More information about the Marxism mailing list