The Scholar (El letrado)

Music piece by:
Quelentaro (Gastón and Eduardo Guzmán)
Testimony by:
Luis Cifuentes Seves
Experience in:
Campamento de Prisioneros Chacabuco, November 1973 – February 1974

From the first time I heard it, I was impressed by the way the duo Quelentaro sang this song, which was also written by them. When I sang it, I always tried to sing it in their style. I never sang it on stage, only for myself or for small groups of friends strumming guitars together.

At Chacabuco, I sang it whenever I could get a guitar, which was not an easy thing because many people wanted to play the few available guitars. When I got hold of a guitar, I would play it sitting on the benches where we ate our meals and sometimes someone would come by and we’d sing it together.


Published on: 13 January 2015

I don’t know how to work the land
my hands have never bled
nor does the horizon glare
so bloody and so sprightly.

My father could barely sign his name
and he read chewing each word
he gave me more schooling
thanks to the sweat of his brow.

I studies the spelling book
that my granddad didn’t finish
and I’ve read a few books
that talk about revolution.

And he smiled as he sung goodbye
when he drunk with a single gulp
the two pearls that from his eyes
went on burning his chest.

My father was already old
the wrinkles of his night
contained a thousand shades of shadow
where silence cried.

Ploughing the hands bleed
my old man bled furrows
those who preach don't bleed
those who preach don't bleed
those who preach don't bleed.