Tag Archives: Chilean music

Straight to the Heart, the Passionate and Depressive Side of Macha

Macha y El Bloque Depresivo – El Bloque Depresivo (Barbès Records, 2018)

El Bloque Depresivo is the debut album from Macha (Aldo Enrique Asenjo Cubillos), the lead singer of acclaimed Chilean cumbia and roots music band Chico Trujillo. As the melancholic band name indicates, this project founded in 2012 specializes in the most depressing, slow songs that Macha and his colleagues performed during Chico Trujillo’s live sets. The idea was to sing passionate boleros and romantic despair ballads to soothe overexcited audiences.

Bloque Depresivo’s song set is intensely rooted in the traditions of Valparaiso, Macha’s birthplace. Valparaiso is a port city where you’ll find musical influences from across the South American region and overseas. Songs about longing, romance and rebellious happiness of poets and sailors.

El Bloque Depresivo features a number of the finest musicians in Chile and several guests including Chilean vocalist Álvaro Henríquez of the band Los Tres; Mexican band Son Rompe Pera; Brazilian artist Luciano Cardoso, better known as Maluco de Café con Leche; and Argentine actress Juli Laso.

Buy El Bloque Depresivo


Artist Profiles: Quilapayún


Quilapayún first started in Chile in 1965 and is now one of the most famous Andean musical bands in the world. Its main artistic value lies in its contribution to modernize the popular music of the continent. The band settled in France since September 1973. Nowadays, it moves between France and Chile.

The band mainly works on expressing and dealing with the creative tension between a nation and the universe, identity and diversity, tradition and innovation. In this regard, Quilapayún follows the example of certain famous artists of the continent: Huidobro, Matta, Neruda, etc. According to Quilapayun, these artists present the multi-cultural and heterogeneous dialogue.

Their work carries a combination of folk, popular, academic and expressive music, all containing original synthesis of the rich cultural diversity of Latin America.

The lyrics of the band always talk about the strong aspects of life through free and honest poetry. There set of themes are directed in a natural way of expression, which lead to a direct and moving dialogue. Through this means, they continue to use their lively sensibility against the injustice humans face in this world.

Quilapayun’s shows are full of passion, spontaneity, irony and emotions. One not only enjoys listening to exceptional music but also one is invited to participate in a non-stop modernization of the popular Latin-American music.

The music of Quilapayun has spread around the five continents. It was received with the same enthusiasm in the U.S as in Europe, Eastern Europe, Japan, and Australia, not to mention in all Latin-American countries.

Quilapayun has recorded over numerous albums in different European and American countries.


Quilapayún (1966)
Canciones folklóricas de América, with Víctor Jara (1967)
X Vietnam (1968)
Quilapayún Tres (1968)
Basta (1969)
Quilapayún Cuatro (1970)
Cantata Santa María de Iquique, with Héctor Duvauchelle (1970)
Vivir como él (1971)
Quilapayún Cinco (1972)
La Fragua (1973) (text and music by Sergio Ortega)
El pueblo unido jamás será vencido (1974)
Adelante (1975)
Patria (1976)
La marche et le drapeau (1977)
Hart voor Chili (various artists) (1977)
Cantata Santa María de Iquique, new version with Jean-Louis Barrault (1978)
Umbral (1979)
Darle al otoño un golpe de ventana… (1980)
La revolución y las estrellas (1982)
Tralalí Tralalá (1984)
Survarío (1987)
Los tres tiempos de América, with Paloma San Basilio (1988)
Latitudes (1992)
Al horizonte (1999)
Siempre (2007)
Solistas (2009)
Encuentros (2013)


Artist Profiles: Matato’a


Matato’a is a Chilean music and dance group from Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in the Pacific. The name of the group means The Warriors. It performs a combination of rock music with Rapa Nui, Polynesian and Latino styles.

The intention of the musicians is to promote and preserve the ancestral traditions, the dances, the costumes, and the body paintings of Easter Island through traditional and modern music. Acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards and bass are mixed with traditional percussion, ukulele, harmonica, and traditional instruments such as stones, horse jaws, big drums, etc. Matato’a has recorded four CDs, three on its own label and a compilation for a New Caledonian imprint.


Fusion Natura (2005)


Artist Profiles: Mariana Montalvo

Mariana Montalvo

Mariana Montalvo studied guitar at the Conservatorio Nacional de Santiago, Chile. Like many of her compatriots from Chile, Montalvo was forced into a life of exile in 1974, living in France since the coup that brought the military regime of Augusto Pinochet to power. Her connections to her roots has remained steadfast, however, and Montalvo provides fresh interpretations of the traditional music of Chile. With influences from the nueva cancion tradition of sophisticated and powerful music based on folkloric song forms, Montalvo’s music descends from the work of legendary Latin American singers such as Victor Jara, Violeta Para and Mercedes Sosa.

For many years she was a member of the popular group Los Machucambos, which is famed throughout Europe for their faithful interpretations of South American traditional music.

Montalvo’s original compositions featured instantly accessible melodies and unique instrumentation such as the South American charango (a type of guitar), quena (pan-pipes), and the trombone, which reflected the influence of Andean brass bands on Montalvo’s arrangements.

Mariana Montalvo died on July 28, 2017.


Mariana Montalvo canta a Jodorowsky (1997)
Cantos del alma (Putumayo World Music, 2000)
Piel de aceituna (World Village, 2003)


Artist Profiles: Los Jaivas

Los Jaivas – Photo by Hilda Pizarro

One of the defining bands in the history of Chilean music, the members of Los Jaivas first began playing together in 1963, and their sound soon grew into a genre almost all its own: progressive Andino rock. Mixing elements of South American ancestral and folk music with progressive rock, Los Jaivas emphasized elements of improvisation on ethnic instruments such as the tutruka, charango, tarka, tumbadoras, bongo and maracas, while jamming with the intensity and power of a progressive rock band, all the while adding symphonic touches to it all.

But more than just a band, Los Jaivas represented for many the freedoms and liberties associated with the Socialist movement in Chile in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Many artists decided to return to their native country’s own musical roots for inspiration instead of merely following foreign trends, and Los Jaivas took that one step further with their unique fusion of the two, making complicated and challenging folk music in the Andean tradition that spoke to the Chilean people in a time of change.

Following the military coup in 1973, Los Jaivas went into self-imposed exile in Argentina and France, where they were well received by foreigners and Chilean ex-patriots. 1977’s Cancion del Sur quickly became a classic of Chilean music, but probably their greatest success came in 1981 when they were asked by a Peruvian friend and film producer who was also exiled in France to compose music for Pablo Neruda’s masterwork Las Alturas de Machu Pichu (The Heights of Machu Pichu).

Composed as an epic rock opera, the band took the challenge one step further, and got permission to perform the new record on top of Machu Picchu itself, the world-famous ruins of the Inca Empire which sit perched high in the mountains of Peru. One of the truly great concerts in the history of South American music, the show was made possible with the help of the Peruvian government (helicopters lifted the grand piano and sound system to the peaks) and financed almost completely by Los Jaivas themselves, and was a major television event in Chile when it was finally broadcast on TV.

In August 2003, Los Jaivas celebrated 40 years in music, and their album Las Alturas de Machu Picchu was honored by Absolut vodka in May 2005 as one of the masterpieces of Rock en Español.


El Volantín (1971)
Todos juntos (1972)
La Ventana (1973)
Sueños de América (1974)
Los Jaivas (El indio) (1975)
Canción Del Sur (1977)
Mambo de Machaguay, compilation (1978)
Alturas de Macchu Picchu (1981)
Aconcagua (1982)
Obras de Violeta Parra (1984)
Si tu no estás (1989)
Hijos de la Tierra (1995)
Palomita blanca, 1973 Movie soundtrack (1995)
Trilogia: El Rencuentro (1997)
Mamalluca (1999)
En El Bar-Restaurant Lo Que Nunca Se Supo, compilation (2000)
Los Jaivas En Concierto: Gira Chile 2000 (2000)
Arrebol (2001)=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000067IP5?ie=UTF8&tag=musidelmund-20&camp=1789&linkCode=xm2&creativeASIN=B000067IP5″>Obras Cumbres, Compilation (2003)
Serie de Oro: Grandes Exitos, compilation (EMI, 2004)


Artist Profiles: Joe Vasconcellos

Joe Vasconcellos

José Manuel Yáñez Meira de Vasconcellos, better known as Joe Vasconcellos, was born March 9th, 1959 in Santiago de Chile.

Joe Vasconcellos is one of the most popular musicians in Chile today. His music, a unique fusion born out of a life of traveling, is dominated by Latin and Brazilian rhythms and completely dispels whatever notion the listener might have of what Chilean music should be.

Flowing from samba to cumbia to reggae, sometime all within the same song, Joe also incorporates the music of Chile’s native Mapuches into to the mix alongside more traditional blues and pop.

Joe Vasconcellos embodies the essence of what is today’s world music–a fusion of cultures and sounds from around the globe–and channels it through intelligent traditional and pop songs that have made him a superstar in Chile.

Born in Chile to a Chilean mother and Brazilian father, Joe (as he is affectionately known in Chile) spent his youth in Italy listening to and DJing Brazilian music. He returned to his homeland in the late 70s and soon joined the legendary progressive-folk band Congreso, with whom he wrote one of their most famous hits, Hijo del Sol Luminoso (1985), a song that continues to be heard throughout the country to this day. But after 6 years and much success with the group, Joe once again felt the need to travel, and so he left to go to Brazil, where he studied Brazilian percussion and was part of the great Brazilian singer Maria Creuza’s group.

Feeling the need to follow his own calling, he returned to his native Chile after 5 years and began a solo career, starting from the bottom as an underground artist with a unique blend of all his influences, charting a territory that was very different from the popular music at the time. A mix of Brazilian rhythms, Chilean folk, and Latin sounds with politically charged lyrics, his crossover success, from a folk musician to becoming one of the highest selling artists in the country, has proven the power of his urban, social and ecological songs.

After a series of hit records, his live greatest hits album ”Vivo” went gold in 2000, and he has since received numerous awards including being knighted by the Brazilian government, which distinguished him with the Order of Rio Branco for his support through his music of the integration between Chile and Brazil.

In 2004 he made his first ever tour of the US, and 2005 saw his music appearing in three major motion pictures in Chile, as well as being the theme song to a hit reality show, as he finished his latest album. His contemporary musical synthesis, rising as the result of an incredible life experience and a sincere vision (regional and at the same time universal), fit perfectly in the Chile of the 1990?s, a society that was re-finding its roots, re-locating itself in the region and connecting itself with the world.

Day by day he is more and more representative, in his eclecticism, of the musical crossbreeding possessed by countries like Chile. In that resides the secret of his local success as well as the attraction of his music for other countries and peoples of the world.


With Congreso

Viaje por la cresta del mundo (1981)
Ha Llegado Carta (1982)


Esto es sólo una canción (1989)
Verde cerca (1992)
Toque (1995)
Transformación (1997)
En paz (2003)
Banzai (2005)
Destino (2007)
Llamadas (2014)


Artist Profiles: Inti-Illimani

Inti-Illimani in 2009

For several decades Inti-Illimani’s music has attracted and playing on more than 30 wind, string and percussion instruments. Inti-Illimani’s compositions evoke sacred places, carnivals, daily lives, loves and pains. The name of the group, Inti-Illimani, comes from the indigenous Ayamara language. Inti means sun and Illimani is a mountain near La Paz, Bolivia.

Known for their open-minded musical approach, the “Intis” had a much different mission in mind when they met in the 1960s at Santiago Technical University: to become engineers. Their love of music encouraged their restless souls to explore the indigenous Andean cultures of Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina. In some of the poorest, purest and most ancient cultures they discovered Andean music and in a sense their roots. Inti-Illimani’s music became Latin America’s visceral link between pueblo and people, vivified in Nueva Canción.

In 1973, Chilean President Salvador Allende was deposed while Inti-Illimani was on tour in Europe. The young musicians found themselves without a homerland or passport. Italy became their home for the next years. In 1988, they were warmly welcomed back to Chile, moving home permanently in 1990.

They have appeared on Amnesty International stages with Peter Gabriel , Bruce Springsteen, Mercedes Sosa, Sting, and Wynton Marsalis and at benefit concerts for the Victor Jara Foundation (London, Dortmund, Glasgow) with Peter Gabriel, Paco Peña, John Williams, Emma Thompson, Karen Matheson, Maria Farantouri, Salsa Celtica, and the Rambert Dance Company.

Jorge Coulon, a founding member, in an interview stated: “We have never been so political that it was propaganda. We are not a political group in that sense, but we have always been politically engaged. We have a concept of society and about the relationships between human beings, and we try to translate our ideas into our sound, not to be part of one political party or another but in the sense to bring about a better world.”

In 2000, Inti-Illimani signed a worldwide license agreement with Warner Brothers. Warner released The Best of Inti-Illimani: 1973-1987″, Inti-Illimani performs Victor Jara (a selection of works by the late Chilean composer, singer, poet, actor and close friend of the Intis) and Inti-Illimani: Antologia en vivo (live tracks spanning 33 years). Xenophile Records also released The Best Of Inti-Illimani with works from the four titles they did with Xenophile during the 90s.

During 2001, Inti-Illimani toured throughout South America, Italy, Spain, Mexico and North America, ending the year with a tour of Chile and Argentina with John Williams and Paco Peña.

The album Lugares Comunes (common ground), recorded in 2003, celebrated the common joys and trials of daily life, and the value of simple things, in a series of finely-etched songs. The ten tracks of Lugares Comunes feature a number of newly-written compositions, many by the band’s new members, along with traditional songs from Mexico and Peru.

In 2001 Inti-Illimani split into two groups: Inti-Illimani Nuevo (New Inti-Illimani) led by the Coulon brothers and Inti-Illimani Histórico featuring José Seves, Horacio Durán and Horacio Salinas.


Si Somos Americanos (1969)
Voz para el camino (1969)
Por la CUT (1969)
A la Revolución Mexicana (1969)
Inti Illimani (1969)
Inti-Illimani (1970)
Canto al Programa (1970)
Charagua/El Aparecido (1971)
Autores Chilenos (1971)
Nuestro México, Febrero 23/Dolencias (1972)
Canto para una Semilla (1972)
Quebrada de Humahuaca/Taita Salasaca (1972)
Canto de Pueblos Andinos, Vol. 1 (1973)
Viva Chile! (1973)
La Nueva Canción Chilena (1974)
Canto de Pueblos Andinos (1975)
Hacia La Libertad (Inti-Illimani 4) (1975)
Canto de Pueblos Andinos, Vol. 2 (1976)
Chile Resistencia (Inti-Illimani 6) (1977)
Hart voor Chile (various artists) (1977)
Canto per una Seme (1978) – Italian edition of Canto para una Semilla (1972)
Canción para Matar una Culebra (1979)
Jag Vill Tacka Livet (Gracias a la Vida) (1980)
En Directo (1980)
Palimpsesto (1981)
The Flight of the Condor (1982)
Con la Razón y la Fuerza (1982)
Imaginación (1984)
Sing to me the Dream (1984)
Return of the Condor (1984)
La Muerte no Va Conmigo (1985)
De Canto y Baile (1986)
Fragmentos de un Sueño (1987)
Leyenda (1990)
Andadas (1992)
Arriesgaré la Piel (1996)
Grandes Exitos (1997)
Lejanía (1998)
Amar de Nuevo (1999)
Sinfónico (1999)
La Rosa de los Vientos (1999)
Inti-Illimani Interpreta a Víctor Jara (2000)
Antología en Vivo (2001)
Lugares Comunes (2002)

Inti-Illimani Histórico

Esencial (2006)
Travesura, with Diego “El Cigala and Eva Ayllón (2010)
Inti Illimani Histórico – Vivir En Libertad (2013)
Inti-Illimani Histórico Canta a Manns (2014)

Inti-Illimani Nuevo

Viva Italia (2003)
Pequeño Mundo (2006)
Meridiano (2010)
Teoría de cuerdas (2014)


Artist Profiles: Claudia Acuña

Claudia Acuña

Singer, songwriter, and arranger Claudia Acuña was born on July 31, 1971 in Santiago, Chile. Claudia Acuña draws upon the culture of her homeland by fusing Latin rhythms with her instinctive jazz sensibilities.

Many of her songs are sung in Spanish, making it clear that music crosses all barriers – particularly when sung with her distinctive brand of authentic emotion.

Her recording Luna moved beyond the jazz standards of previous releases for a more contemporary R&B/Latin feel.


Wind from the South (Verve, 2000)
Rhythm of Life (Verve, 2002)
Luna (Maxjazz, 2004)
In These Shoes (Zoho Music, 2008)
En Este Momento (Marsalis Music, 2009)