Testimonies

Testimonies are sorted by publication date, showing the newest first.
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They Say the Homeland Is - Soldiers

Music piece 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)

Music piece 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)

Music piece 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. »
[Read full testimony]

Published on: 01 September 2015


You Can Blame Me (Échame a mí la culpa)

Music piece by:
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)

Music piece by:
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


Let’s Break the Morning (Rompamos la mañana)

Music piece by:
René “Popeye” Cárdenas Eugenin
Testimony by:
María Soledad Ruiz Ovando
Experience in:
« Music was very important for us (my mother Sylvia, my sister Alejandra and myself) while my dad, Daniel Ruiz Oyarzo, 'el Negro Ruiz', was imprisoned during the dictatorship, when Alejandra was seven and I was four. »
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Published on: 30 July 2015


May the Omelette Flip Over (Que la tortilla se vuelva)

Music piece by:
Chicho Sánchez Ferlosio. Popularized by Quilapayún
Testimony by:
Claudio Melgarejo
Experience in:
« I spent a week in captivity, in November 1973. I didn’t hear many songs, but the most popular ones sung by my comrades were 'Venceremos' (We Shall be Victorious) and 'Que la tortilla se vuelva' (May the Omelette Flip Over), also known as 'The Tomato Song', which portrays the bosses' exploitation of the workers. »
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Published on: 13 July 2015


Free (Libre)

Music piece by:
Nino Bravo
Testimony by:
Marianella Ubilla
Experience in:
« I was taken prisoner on 23 November 1973, at the University of Concepción. In the Regional Stadium of Concepción, we had to sing the National Anthem every day. »
[Read full testimony]

Published on: 13 July 2015


Coplas of El Yopo (Coplas de El Yopo)

Music piece by:
Unknown. Traditional Venezuelan song. Popularised in Chile by Isabel and Ángel Parra
Testimony by:
Carlos Muñoz
Experience in:
« A comrade whose last name was Saavedra (if I recall correctly) sung this song passionately. This song earned him the nickname of ‘El Yopo’ (also ‘Chopo’), as is usual in popular culture. »
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Published on: 09 July 2015


The Paper Boat (El barco de papel)

Music piece by:
Julio Numhauser, popularised by the band Amerindios
Testimony by:
Carlos Muñoz
Experience in:
« One of the most important songs in the detention centres. Impossible to count how many times we sang it. Every time someone was released from a detention camp or there was credible information that a person would be sent into exile, a gigantic chorus would sing this song, in a powerful unison. »
[Read full testimony]

Published on: 09 July 2015