Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Chilean Folk Music

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In Chile, a gentler style of music is starting to flow through venues that were originally opened to accommodate hard rock guitar riffs. Dubbed Nu Folk, it is the sound of a folk music revival that springs from both traditional Andean music and the works of world-renowned Chilean artists such as Violeta Parra, Víctor Jara and Atahualpa Yupanqui.

Nu Folk artists such as Felipe Cadenasso with his band Matorral, and others such as Perrosky, Camila Moreno, Nano Stern, and Chinoy represent a mix of musical genres. With ages ranging from early-20s to late-30s, some have backgrounds in hard rock or techno, while others are folk purists. But they all share a deep interest in traditional beats and Chilean folkloric roots.

Some fans view the simple lyrics about regular people and everyday life combined with bucolic images as calls for a return to a simpler lifestyle or to a period of greater cooperation after an era of individualism.

Several festivals have evolved for Nu Folk fans. The folk festival Solistas en Solitario had its second annual event in 2009, but this year’s gathering was postponed indefinitely after February’s earthquake. Meanwhile, the Chilean Folk Summit is already scheduled for 2010 in Santiago and Valparaíso. More than mere retro, the trend harkens back to a musical tradition of concern for the dispossessed, with a modern twist on the rhythms and harmonies of indigenous traditional music.


Matthew Aho is a consultant in the corporate practice group at Akerman LLP.

Tags: Chilean Folk Music, Matorral, NuFolk Chile, Perrosky
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