Song to the Pampa (Canto a la pampa)

Music piece by:
poem by Francisco Pezoa Astudillo set to music by Quilapayún
Testimony by:
Renato Alvarado Vidal
Experience in:

The first song that we managed to sing was Quilapayún's setting of the poem Canto a la Pampa (Song to the Pampa), by the anarchist poet Francisco Pezoa Astudillo, which recounts one of the bloodiest episodes of the class struggle in Chile: the massacre of the Santa María school in Iquique in December 1907. The prisoners of the large Room 13 of Cuatro Álamos camp sang it complete and as a chorus around February 1975.

Rafael knew most of it, and together we managed to reconstruct the complete lyrics. Singing it, in that place, at that moment, was an impulse that came in handy.

We were still in the vestibule of hell – fortunately apparently on the way out – and our conviction was intact. The imperative of justice that had brought us to where we were continued as our banner.


Published on: 02 July 2023

Song to the pampaSouth American plains devoid of tree vegetation., the sad land
reprobate cursed land
that never dresses in greenery
not even in the prettiest part of the season.

Where the bird never chirps
where the flower never grew
not even the crystalline buzz
of the meandering stream was heard.

Until one day, as a lament
from the depths of the heart
through the alleys of the camp
an accent of rebellion vibrates.

They were the woes of many chests
it was a roar of rage
the clarion of the rights
of the poor working people.

Blessed victims who came down
from the pampas full of faith
and on their arrival what they heard
was merely a voice of shrapnel.

Eternal injury for the beasts
merciless slaughterers
are stained with workers' blood
as a curse stigma.

I ask revenge for the brave
that shrapnel pulverized
I ask revenge for the orphaned and sad mourner
who remained there.

I ask revenge for that which came
to open the chest of the workers
I ask revenge on behalf of the pampino
who knew how to die there in Iquique.