Testimonies

The testimonies are sorted by publication date, showing the new ones first.
Click on to sort by witness, to sort alphabetically by musical piece title, or to sort by publication date.


Ode to Joy (Himno a la alegría)

Author:
original by Friedrich von Schiller (lyrics) and Ludwig van Beethoven (music). Free version in Spanish by Amado Regueiro Rodríguez, aka Orbe (lyrics) y Waldo de los Ríos (music), popularised in Chile by Miguel Ríos.
Testimony by:
Luis Madariaga
Place & date:
« In prison we would sing this when a comrade was released or sent to exile. It was a powerful source of strength, solidarity and ironclad brotherhood, created during those long months in captivity, seeking an outlet for our hearts. I believe that that experience left a mark on all of us. »
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Published on: 05 August 2016


I Can Trust the Lord (Puedo confiar en el Señor)

Author:
Unknown
Testimony by:
Sigifredo Ramos Vásquez
Place & date:
Cárcel de Temuco, September - December 1973
« My experience during our captivity can be summed up in this personal observation. Protest songs were forbidden, so we had no other option than to sing religious songs. One religious song really struck a chord among my fellow prisoners, to such an extent that it took on the character of a true battle anthem. »
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Published on: 27 July 2016


Melody by Jorge Peña Hen

Author:
Jorge Peña Hen
Testimony by:
María Fedora Peña
Place & date:
Cárcel de la Serena, October 1973
« “Look here, Maria Fedora. I’ve brought you a treasure...” - it was the voice of my brother Juan Cristián as he crossed the doorway of our mother’s house one morning in January 1983. Peering over the staircase banister, I saw him raise his right hand with something clenched inside. »
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Published on: 01 July 2016


Melody by Jorge Peña Hen

Author:
Jorge Peña Hen
Testimony by:
Eliseo González
Place & date:
Cárcel de la Serena, October 1973
« Jorge Peña Hen was in solitary confinement that day. I don’t know how, but someone brought him matches. With his saliva, he made ink from the phosphorus tips, which he then used to write a score of music on a scrap of paper. »
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Published on: 26 April 2016


The Little Fence (La rejita)

Author:
lyrics: collective creation; music: “Jálame la pitita” by Luis Abanto Morales (Peruvian polka)
Testimony by:
María Cecilia Marchant Rubilar
Place & date:
Cárcel de Mujeres Buen Pastor, La Serena, September 1973 - January 1974
« We always sang this song when we were taken to Regimiento Arica. That was a torture centre. On our departure and return, the female prisoners who remained behind also sang the song. The lyrics were a collective effort, it was like our anthem. »
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Published on: 02 January 2016


Three Mountaineers (Eran tres alpinos)

Author:
Unknown. Traditional Spanish children's song
Testimony by:
María Cecilia Marchant Rubilar
Place & date:
Cárcel de Mujeres Buen Pastor, La Serena, September 1973 - January 1974
« We adapted this song and produced a play based on it. Each of us played one of the characters. We spent a lot of time on this. We performed the play to the other women prisoners in both centres within the prison: Regina Coellys and Alborada. »
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Published on: 02 January 2016


What Will the Holy Father Say (Qué dirá el Santo Padre)

Author:
Violeta Parra
Testimony by:
María Cecilia Marchant Rubilar
Place & date:
Cárcel de Mujeres Buen Pastor, La Serena, September 1973 - January 1974
« We sang songs that were popular at the time. We’d sing "What will the Holy Father say," especially the part that says "What will the Holy Father who lives in Rome say ... they are slitting the throat of his dove..." quite often, for example when someone was taken off to Regimiento Arica, which was a torture centre. »
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Published on: 02 January 2016


We Shall Prevail (Venceremos)

Author:
Claudio Iturra (lyrics) and Sergio Ortega (music)
Testimony by:
María Cecilia Marchant Rubilar
Place & date:
Cárcel de Mujeres Buen Pastor, La Serena, September 1973 - January 1974
« I was studying to be a chemistry teacher at the University of Chile in La Serena. I was 21 years old when I was arrested. I think I was picked up due to a specific fact. I was regularly sent copies of the El Rebelde (The Rebel) newspaper by train, in order to distribute them in parts of Region IV. »
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Published on: 02 January 2016


Today I Sing for the Sake of Singing (Hoy canto por cantar)

Author:
Nydia Caro and Riccardo Cerratto
Testimony by:
Ángeles Álvarez Cárdenas
Place & date:
Villa Grimaldi, 6 - 15 January 1975
« At that time many prisoners were subjected to extreme torture in the interrogations. Some managed to get through those processes alright, while others broke down. Breaking down meant "speaking” and for the members of the DINA (secret police) it meant "this jerk is singing". »
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Published on: 02 December 2015


St John Passion (Pasión según San Juan)

Author:
Ángel Parra
Testimony by:
Luis Cifuentes Seves
Place & date:
Campamento de Prisioneros Chacabuco, January - February 1974
« This song is the third track on the cassette recorded in the Chacabuco concentration camp by the band Los de Chacabuco, formed by Ángel Parra and conducted by him until his release. This song, like the Gospel of Luke, was performed by Los de Chacabuco during the masses offered by the chaplains for the benefit of both prisoners and soldiers. »
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Published on: 13 November 2015