Tag Archives: Chile

Chile’s bailes chinos

 

Chile’s bailes chinos are ritual musician-dance brotherhoods in the country’s Central Zone. They express the religious fervor of campesinos (peasant farmers) and artisan fishermen who get together for religious fiestas celebrated in small villages and coves, where groups from the neighboring towns congregate.

The bailes chinos feature Native American contributions, which include dance, instruments, and a direct relationship with the supernatural through ritual incorporating special states of consciousness. Hispanic contributions are also present, such as prayers, the Holy Scriptures, sacred images, the Catholic ritual calendar, and other elements of Christian expression.

Due to their strong dependence on nature and themselves, these fishermen and farmers are especially fervent in their religious devotion. The members of the bailes chinos dance, play flutes, and sing to help secure their fundamental needs: health, rain, and a good harvest in the inland valleys; protection and abundant fish in the coastal waters. In addition, their fiestas serve as occasions for strengthening the social and family bonds that unify the inhabitants of the area.

This according to I humbly pray: Central Chile’s bailes chinos by Claudio Mercado Muñoz and Victor Rondón Sepúlveda (Santiago de Chile: Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, 2003). Below, a brief documentary (in Spanish).

BONUS: A full performance of canto a lo poeta, a related Chilean tradition.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dance, South America

Brahms was Chilean

436px-Johannes_Brahms_1853

To honor Brahms’s 180th birthday, let’s recall the article about his birthplace that ignited a musicological firestorm!

In “Brahms era chileno” (Pauta: Cuadernos de teoría y crítica musical, no. 63 [July-Sept 1997] pp. 39–44), the Argentine composer Juan María Solare states that Johann Jakob Brahms (1806–72), accompanied by his wife, Johanna Henrika Christiane Nissen (1789–1865), took part in a tour of South America as a performer in the orchestra of the Alsterpavillon in Hamburg, and that Johanna gave birth to Johannes Brahms in the village of Copiapó, northern Chile, on 6 February 1833.

He further states that the birth is documented in a letter that Johanna wrote to her sister in Hamburg, but which was lost and eventually ended up in the archive of an obscure village in Patagonia, where it can still be seen; the birth was concealed from German society, and Brahms was baptized under a false place and date of birth upon his parents’ return to Germany.

Later, in an interview, Solare clarified his intention: He wrote the article as a piece of speculative fiction, a type of writing that Pauta sometimes publishes; but since the journal also presents peer-reviewed research, the piece was mistaken for authentic musicology, generating widespread controversy among Brahms scholars.

BONUS: Brahms was from New Orleans:

Related articles:

5 Comments

Filed under Curiosities, Humor, Romantic era

Silvio Rodríguez and disappearance

On 31 March 31 1990, in the early days of the newly restored democracy in Chile, the Cuban cantautor Silvio Rodríguez staged a concert in Santiago de Chile’s Estadio Nacional for an audience of 80,000 people. Accompanying him were the fourteen-piece band Irakere, led by the Cuban jazz pianist Chucho Valdés, and the formerly exiled Chilean singer Isabel Parra and her group.

While it is entirely possible to see the concert as an event whose event-ness is created post facto, it is also useful to posit the concert as part of a construction of a larger process, that of opposition to the event of authoritarianism.

Two songs performed there, Víctor Jara’s Te recuerdo Amanda and Rodríguez’s Unicornio, involve evocations of death and disappearance. Death, as evoked in the Jara song, at least bears the comfort of a tangible end image; disappearance, as Unicornio bears witness, denies closure.

The afterlife of these recorded concert performances and the subjects of cover versions and tributes all contribute to the counter-event suggested by the Rodríguez concert.

This according to “Reconstructing the event: Spectres of terror in Chilean performance” by Richard Elliott (British postgraduate musicology VIII [June 2006]). Below, Rodríguez’s performance of Unicornio at the historic concert; click here for Jara’s performance of Te recuerdo Amanda.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, Popular music, Reception

Brahms era chileno

In the article “Brahms era chileno” (Pauta: Cuadernos de teoría y crítica musical, no. 63 [July-Sept 1997] pp. 39–44), the Argentine composer Juan María Solare states that Johann Jakob Brahms (1806–72), accompanied by his wife, Johanna Henrika Christiane Nissen (1789–1865), took part in a tour of South America as a performer in the orchestra of the Alsterpavillon in Hamburg, and that Johanna gave birth to Johannes Brahms in the village of Copiapó, northern Chile, on 6 February 1833.

He further states that the birth is documented in a letter that Johanna wrote to her sister in Hamburg, but which was lost and eventually ended up in the archive of an obscure village in Patagonia, where it can still be seen; the birth was concealed from German society, and Brahms was baptized under a false place and date of birth upon his parents’ return to Germany.

Later, in an interview, Solare clarified his intention: He wrote the article as a piece of speculative fiction, a type of writing that Pauta sometimes publishes; but since the journal also presents peer-reviewed research, the piece was mistaken for authentic musicology, generating widespread controversy among Brahms scholars.

Related articles:

Leave a comment

Filed under Curiosities, Humor, Romantic era