Testimonies

Testimonies are sorted by publication date, showing the newest first.
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Love (Amor)

Song by:
Sergio Vesely (music); Guillermo Núñez (lyrics)
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
« This song is based on a poem Guillermo wrote in the Puchuncaví Prison Camp dedicated to his partner Soledad. Of all the songs I composed as a prisoner, this is the only one where the lyrics are not mine. The reason is very human and simple. »
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Published on: 23 September 2015


Three Indian Songs (Tres canciones indias)

Song by:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
« After our transfer from Tres Álamos to Puchuncaví in April 1975, a group of prisoners began toying with the idea of presenting a poetic-theatrical performance about the history of Latin America’s indigenous cultures and their extermination under Iberian domination. »
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Published on: 23 September 2015


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

Song by:
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)

Song by:
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)

Song by:
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)

Song by:
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)

Song by:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
Experience in:
« 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

Song by:
Chicho Sánchez Ferlosio
Testimony by:
Sergio Reyes Soto
Experience in:
« 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)

Song by:
Arturo Dávalos
Testimony by:
Luis Cifuentes Seves
Experience in:
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)

Song by:
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