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.


The Man Who Transformed into an Animal (El hombre que se convirtió en animal)

Author:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
« I wrote this song shortly after reading Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, one of the books that circulated in Camp Melinka from hand to hand and cabin to cabin. I presume I don’t have to explain who is the one experiencing the metamorphosis here. »
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Published on: 23 September 2015


Priests and Soldiers (Curas y milicos)

Author:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
« I don’t want to exaggerate but Camp Melinka became not only a factory that produced handicrafts and a performance hall but also a university. Every day there were classes to learn foreign languages, art, medicine or literature. Solar ovens were built. »
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Published on: 23 September 2015


Captain, our Destiny is a Wandering Island (Capitán, el rumbo es una isla errante)

Author:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
« This song was dedicated to Óscar Castro, who I was lucky enough to meet in 1975, in Puchuncaví. With his experience in theatre – Óscar was already a fairly well-known actor before his arrest – he threw himself into the cultural work we had organised, in what was then called “Camp Melinka” where the prisoners presented a show every Friday. »
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Published on: 23 September 2015


King Ñaca Ñaca (El rey Ñaca Ñaca)

Author:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
« “Ñaca-ñaca” was an interjection we used at Camp Melinka whenever we wanted to signal and poke fun at any dark thought that might crossed our minds. That may be why it seemed the ideal name to give to the papier maché puppet that played the role of the mean king in the puppet stories we performed to entertain the children who came to visit their captive fathers. »
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Published on: 23 September 2015


That General (Ese General)

Author:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
Place & date:
« The night of 24 March 1976, the residents of cell 198 hardly slept. We hadn’t slept on account of a long, heated discussion about the prospects of revolution in Latin America’s Southern Cone. What had ignited our discussion was clear: that day we heard the news about the military coup in neighbouring Argentina. »
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Published on: 23 September 2015


They Say the Homeland Is - Soldier's Song

Author:
Chicho Sánchez Ferlosio
Testimony by:
Sergio Reyes Soto
Place & date:
« This song, like so many others, was not at all “captive”. The revolutionary songs we sang behind bars imbued us with a sense of freedom. Rolando Alarcón, and later Quilapayún, introduced “Dicen que la patria es” (or “Canción de soldados”) to Chile. »
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Published on: 07 September 2015


The Salamander (La salamanca)

Author:
Arturo Dávalos
Testimony by:
Luis Cifuentes Seves
Place & date:
Campamento de Prisioneros Chacabuco, January - February 1974
« A “salamanca” is a type of salamander that lives in caves in northern Argentina. By extension, it also represents the cave. In this song, the lyricist turns the “salamanca” into a place where a coven of witches gathers. »
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Published on: 01 September 2015


To Be Seventeen Again (Volver a los diecisiete)

Author:
Violeta Parra
Testimony by:
Gabriela Durand
« I was 18, and already I had been tortured on the rack several times. One day I was with some other comrade prisoners, and as sometimes happened, the guards put some music on. They used to put the radio on, playing popular tunes of the time. »
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Published on: 01 September 2015


You Can Blame Me (Échame a mí la culpa)

Author:
José Ángel Espinoza, aka Ferrusquillo
Testimony by:
Marcia Scantlebury
« Mexican songs - and this one in particular - have always moved me. When I shared a cell with Miriam Silva, a young woman who belonged to the Communist Youth, arrested by the DINA when she was handing out leaflets on the street, we killed time in an organised fashion to keep ourselves from getting depressed and overcome by anxiety due to an unknown fate. »
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Published on: 28 August 2015


Far Away (Tamo daleko)

Author:
Djordje Marinkovic. Chilean adaptation of traditional Serbian song, originally composed in 1916.
Testimony by:
Jorge Grez Leuquén
« Working as a documentary film-maker for some years, I recorded the stories of some of the prisoners during the dictatorship. It was during some of these sessions that the song 'Tamo Daleko' reappeared; it had been sung numerous times on Dawson Island. »
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Published on: 12 August 2015