Constitutional Process CULTURE

The Soundtrack to Chile’s Social Protests

Over time, popular songs originally written to give a voice to social sentiment and reflect social discontent have been used in several jingles and commercial spots. Lately, some have even made their way into the current Rechazo campaign. For many, it’s still the original message that matters the most. 

It has been a year since the social protests started in Chile. Back then, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets and gathered around Plaza Baquedano in Santiago to make their demands about dignity, improved social welfare, and higher pensions. 

El Derecho de Vivir en Paz was one of the most played songs during the protests. Written by Victor Jara in 1971, it soon became a tribute to socialist revolutions all over the world. Some weeks ago, the Chilean right-wing party UDI used fragments of the song in their Rechazo campaign for the upcoming referendum. 

El Baile de los que Sobran (1986) by Los Prisioneros is another song that experienced a renaissance last year amid the unrest. 

At the same time, telecom company WOM released a commercial spot using We are Sudamerican Rockers by the same band. 

Another music act which inspired people all over the world was the Valparaíso collective Las Tesis and their manifest Un Violador en tu Camino. It became a global feminist hymn.

And on Spotify

Chile Today asked online platforms specialist Naty Contreras about the most played Chilean music on Spotify during last year’s protests. Here is her list:

  • Derecho de vivir en paz – Victor Jara 
  • Derecho de vivir en pazVarious artists (new version 2020) 
  • Te recuerdo Amanda – Victor Jara 
  • El Baile de los que sobran – Los Prisioneros 
  • Miren como sonríen – Violeta Parra 
  • El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido – Quilapayún
  • Cacerolazo – Anita Tijoux 
  • Shock – Anita Tijoux 
  • Para que nunca más – Sol y Lluvia 
  • El pueblo unido jamás será vencido – Inti Illimani 
  • Adiós general… adiós carnaval – Sol y Lluvia 

Jara and Parra sang about life in vulnerable communities. Quilapayun and Inti Illimani were part of the Nueva Cancion Chilena folklore movement in the ’60s and early ’70s. Los Prisioneros expressed everyday frustration with confinement during the military dictatorship, and Sol y Lluvia put words to the dreams and hopes many people had about a life in freedom. For her part, Ana Tijoux has always been present and connected with local and global social movements and their demands. 

Ana Tijoux is Back on the Screen and the Dancefloor

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