On September 23, 2008 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings will release '¡Que Viva el Canto! Songs of Chile.' Veteran musician Rafael Manríquez, paired with an array of Chilean musician notables, crafts a stunning portrait of Chilean folk music and captures the stylistic evolution of the genre from the mid-20th century to the present. Influenced by the extraordinary work of performer-researchers Margot Loyola, Violeta Parra and Gabriela Pizarro, who documented the musical traditions of the Chilean countryside during the 1960s, Manríquez pays tribute to his homeland with songs that epitomize its rich, albeit tumultuous, cultural heritage. Ultimately, '¡Que Viva el Canto!' aims to offer a new rendition of Chilean folk music that bridges the past and the present.
In the aftermath of Pinochet's violent coup d'état in 1973, Manríquez, both a music critic and a musician, left Chile to escape the severe military censorship. "My music career had stopped right there," he recalls. He eventually relocated to Berkeley, California, where he found many sympathetic musicians, some of whom had suffered persecution and even torture at the hands of the dictatorship. There, he conceived the recording of '¡Que Viva el Canto!' as a contemporary expression of the diverse threads of Chilean musical creation.
These 25 gorgeous songs, co-produced by Manríquez and accompanied by extensive liner notes from musician-ethnomusicologist Emily Pinkerton, demonstrate how distinct forms of folk music in Chile today carry the symbolic weight of earlier discourses on politics, class, ethnicity and nationalism in which they have been invoked. Manríquez showcases traditional rural Chilean song (música tradicional), stylized versions of huaso (Chilean cowboy) música típica, nueva canción influenced by rural Chilean and other Latin American music, and the newest waves of folk music revitalization represented by the urban cueca brava and poetry accompanied by guitarrón.
Listeners will hear the sound of instruments specific to the genre like the charango (small guitar, fashioned from the shell of an armadillo), quena (a notched vertical flute), zampoñas panpipes and bombo (double-headed drum). '¡Que Viva el Canto!' features many talented musicians such as renowned poet-singer Eduardo Peralta, traditionalist Hector Pavez, and Hugo González, who represents Chile's newest generation of poets and guitarrón players.
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