“Protest song”: popular art in support of human rights

There can be no revolution without songs
(Salvador Allende)

In the 60s, the “New Chilean Song” turned traditional folk music into a tool of reflection, condemnation and the call for social change. The genre combines popular music, played with traditional instruments and written with political lyrics; it uses the language of the street and demands recognition for the dignity of the working and peasant classes. The movement spread throughout Latin America and the Caribbean in the 60s and 70s, as new musical voices were raised to clamour for democracy, equality, justice and an end to US intervention, with a positive message to fight, built on words and the desire for a better world.

Committed songs, lively expressions of social conflict, spread to the area of artistic performance to vindicate identities and social practices that question relations of power. A connection therefore grew between art and politics, foundation for the most outstanding Chilean artistic movement of those years. Violeta Parra, one of the pioneers of that expression, made her own personal contribution to the icons of the workers’ movement and the construction of popular national identity. She also brought a fresh approach to popular women with a stage attitude that turned its back on stereotyped female behaviour.

Film: Violeta Parra Went to Heaven

2019 © copyright
  • San Sebastián Donostia 2016
  • Construyendo San Sebastián
  • Donostiako Udala. Ayuntamiento de San Sebastián
  • donostiakultura.com. San Sebastián: ciudad de la cultura
  • AIETE: Casa de la Paz y los Derechos Humanos