I Come Back (Vuelvo)

Music piece by:
Patricio Manns (lyrics) and Horacio Salinas (music)
Testimony by:
Fernando Aravena
Experience in:

During our mateadasGatherings to drink infusion of mate leaves, common in the Southern Cone. in the Prison of Santiago, we always talked about the song ‘Vuelvo’ (I Come Back). It gave you the hope of returning to the fight. The prison was only something temporary.

There were comrades that went abroad. They offered me to go to Norway, but to have fought to get this country back and then have to leave? No, I stay, my roots are here.

Amongst the visitors we had in the prison was Silvio Rodríguez(1946-) Cuban singer-songwriter and leader of the Nueva Trova movement.. He sang ‘El breve espacio en que no estás’, a very well-known song by Pablo Milanés(1943-) Cuban singer-songwriter and leader of the Nueva Trova movement..

The guards asked him for autographs and they took photos. It was an unprecedented incident.

Joan Manuel Serrat(1943-) Catalan singer-songwriter. One of the most important figures of popular music in Catalan and Spanish languages. and Patricio Manns(1937-) Chilean composer, poet and essayist. Founding member of the music group Karaxú. also visited us.

There were two comrades who were guitar soloists. They played classical music but I don’t remember what pieces they played, I am not an expert. The guards came to listen.

The relationship with the guards was generally good because they knew that we were not criminals and that we had a higher standard of culture. So the difference was evident.


Published on: 27 April 2019

The group Inti-Illimani at an improvised concert on the day of their return from exile. Cañada Norte shanty town (Santiago), September 1988.

With ashes, with tears
with our heavy impatience
with an honest conscience
with anger, with suspicion
with active certainty
I set foot in my country

I set foot in my country
and instead of crying
and pounding my suffering to the wind
I open my eye and its view
and contain my discontent.

I come back handsome, I come back kind
I come back with my tough wait
I come back with my armour
with my sword, my wakefulness
my frank despair
my prediction, my sweetness
I come back with my thick love
I come back in soul and I come back in flesh
to meet my pure homeland
at the end of the last kiss.

I come back at last without humiliating myself
without asking for forgiveness or forgetting
man is never defeated
his defeat is always short
a stimulus that moves
the vocation of his war
because the race that banishes
and the race that receives
they’ll tell him in the end that he lives
the pains of every land.