Apr 1 2015

Music for Change

By David Byrne

Song Artist Purchase
Introduction: Music For Change feat. Isabel Parra David Byrne
Casamiento de Negros Barbara Lira
Zamba de Mi Esperanza Jorge Cafrune Amazon
Ay, Qué Sencillo Amarte Pedro Luis Ferrer Amazon
Inténtalo Encontrar (Try To Find It) Yasmin Levy Amazon
Que Pena Siente el Alma Barbara Lira
La Pechuga de Guanajo en Fricasé Pedro Luis Ferrer Amazon
Canción del Elegido Silvio Rodríguez Amazon
El Derecho de Vivir en Paz Victor Jara Amazon
La Falsa Moneda Buika Amazon
La Que Se Queda Luna Monti y Juan Quinteros Amazon
Lietzenburgerstrasse 1976 Sílvia Pérez Cruz Amazon
Tu Nombre y El Mio Liliana Herrero Amazon
Tengo Miedo Maria Rodés Amazon
El Cosechero Liliana Herrero Amazon
La Familia, la Propiedad Privada y El Amor Silvio Rodríguez Amazon
Mississippi Goddam Nina Simone Amazon
Coplas Al Agua Luna Monti y Juan Quinteros Amazon
Freddy Stephen Barber
La Maza Mercedes Sosa Amazon
Desde El Día Que Te Vi Vitorino Discogs
Canción Para Carito [feat. Peteco Carabajal] Mercedes Sosa Amazon
El Abanico Marisa Sannia Amazon
La Tarde Se Ha Puesto Triste Pedro Luis Ferrer Amazon
Oye Bien La Clave Francisco Céspedes Amazon
Oye Niño Liliana Herrero Amazon
ABC Edu "Pitufo" Lombardo Amazon
Ay, Que Bueno Pedro Luis Ferrer Amazon
Canción Y Huayno Mercedes Sosa Amazon
Mi Negrita Devendra Banhart Amazon
Gracias a la Vida Isabel Parra Amazon
Pal Que Se Va Luna Monti y Juan Quinteros Amazon
Juras de Samba Carlinhos Brown Amazon
Mambo de Machahuai L'Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio Amazon
Volver Volver Buika Amazon
Memoria de Pez Sílvia Pérez Cruz Amazon
Tatuaje Maria Rodés Amazon
Al Final de Este Viaje En La Vida Silvio Rodríguez Amazon
O Meu Amor É Glòria Sílvia Pérez Cruz Amazon
Pena Camila Moreno Amazon
Azul [feat. Rodrigo Amarante] Natalia Lafourcade Amazon
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood Nina Simone Amazon
Tema del Hombre Solo Liliana Herrero Amazon
Inti Bïa Amazon
María Bonita (Acoustic version) Natalia Lafourcade Amazon
A Nadie Liliana Felipe Amazon

One often hears the question raised, “Can music effect social and political change?” I have my doubts that it can—directly at least. I do think it provides cohesion and moral support, but if there was ever a genre to refute my doubts, here it is.

This was a movement of Latin American “new song” that paralleled the folk music explosion in the US and UK. Much of it began in the ‘50s with a renewed appreciation of the regional folk musics of many Latin countries. A lot of it was centered in Chile, where by the ‘60s the singers and songs became very politicized. Every country in Latin America had a version—in Cuba it was called Nueva Trova, in Argentina, Nuevo Cancionero.

Here is the Wikipedia definition for "Nueva canción", slightly edited by me:

It is a type of music which is committed to social good. Its musical and lyrical style (like early Dylan Woody Guthrie and many others… Bruce Springsteen, etc. ) is rooted in the popular music and often uses a popularly understood style of satire to advocate for sociopolitical change. The movement in Latin America reacted against the dominance of American and European music at the time by assuming an anti-imperial stance that was markedly less focused on the slick showbiz spectacles of commercial pop music and more focused on social and political messages.

It was hugely popular—these acts filled stadiums—and lasted at least into the ‘80s. Although the early recordings imitate the folk music they are drawing from, by the late ‘60s they admit a lot of other musical influences into the genre.

Needless to say, the US-supported dictatorships of the time all over Latin America hated this stuff; they banned it as when they had absolute power and they imprisoned many of the singers and songwriters. Victor Jara (below) was killed—they chopped off his hands as a symbolic gesture.

A black and white photograph of Victor Jara
Victor Jara

When audio cassettes came into being they became a kind of samizdat—one could circulate the music without government approval. And eventually, after decades, the dictatorships were overthrown and the exiled survivors returned. (Members of the Chilean group Inti-Illimani told me it was “the longest tour in the world”—they were on tour when the military coup happened so for a decade they just kept playing around Europe and elsewhere). The overthrow of the dictatorships was not entirely due to this music, but it definitely provided moral support—some of these songs were even used during the Orange revolution in Kiev! Now, they are the underpinning of a lot of Latin Rock, which doesn’t sound like this music, but there is a common moral and philosophical thread and similar commitment, if not quite as overt.

Though its popularity eventually waned, there are very similar artists working today—so some recordings here are very new and some are very old. You can hear the continuity, I think.

DB
New York City

A compliation of about 15

Update 04/13/2015: On Saturday, The New York Times briefly touched on the importance and relevance of hip-hop in Latin America. The blurb can be read here, and focuses on Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux's newest album, "Vengo", and her upcoming NYC performances. Pulled directly from the article: "Hip-hop has a strongconscience in Latin America—a determination to speak for 'all the silenced, all the neglected, all the invisible ones,'..."

Apr 1 2015

Music for Change

By David Byrne

Song Artist Purchase
Introduction: Music For Change feat. Isabel Parra David Byrne
Casamiento de Negros Barbara Lira
Zamba de Mi Esperanza Jorge Cafrune Amazon
Ay, Qué Sencillo Amarte Pedro Luis Ferrer Amazon
Inténtalo Encontrar (Try To Find It) Yasmin Levy Amazon
Que Pena Siente el Alma Barbara Lira
La Pechuga de Guanajo en Fricasé Pedro Luis Ferrer Amazon
Canción del Elegido Silvio Rodríguez Amazon
El Derecho de Vivir en Paz Victor Jara Amazon
La Falsa Moneda Buika Amazon
La Que Se Queda Luna Monti y Juan Quinteros Amazon
Lietzenburgerstrasse 1976 Sílvia Pérez Cruz Amazon
Tu Nombre y El Mio Liliana Herrero Amazon
Tengo Miedo Maria Rodés Amazon
El Cosechero Liliana Herrero Amazon
La Familia, la Propiedad Privada y El Amor Silvio Rodríguez Amazon
Mississippi Goddam Nina Simone Amazon
Coplas Al Agua Luna Monti y Juan Quinteros Amazon
Freddy Stephen Barber
La Maza Mercedes Sosa Amazon
Desde El Día Que Te Vi Vitorino Discogs
Canción Para Carito [feat. Peteco Carabajal] Mercedes Sosa Amazon
El Abanico Marisa Sannia Amazon
La Tarde Se Ha Puesto Triste Pedro Luis Ferrer Amazon
Oye Bien La Clave Francisco Céspedes Amazon
Oye Niño Liliana Herrero Amazon
ABC Edu "Pitufo" Lombardo Amazon
Ay, Que Bueno Pedro Luis Ferrer Amazon
Canción Y Huayno Mercedes Sosa Amazon
Mi Negrita Devendra Banhart Amazon
Gracias a la Vida Isabel Parra Amazon
Pal Que Se Va Luna Monti y Juan Quinteros Amazon
Juras de Samba Carlinhos Brown Amazon
Mambo de Machahuai L'Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio Amazon
Volver Volver Buika Amazon
Memoria de Pez Sílvia Pérez Cruz Amazon
Tatuaje Maria Rodés Amazon
Al Final de Este Viaje En La Vida Silvio Rodríguez Amazon
O Meu Amor É Glòria Sílvia Pérez Cruz Amazon
Pena Camila Moreno Amazon
Azul [feat. Rodrigo Amarante] Natalia Lafourcade Amazon
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood Nina Simone Amazon
Tema del Hombre Solo Liliana Herrero Amazon
Inti Bïa Amazon
María Bonita (Acoustic version) Natalia Lafourcade Amazon
A Nadie Liliana Felipe Amazon

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