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2- Illapu performs Mapuche music: political struggle and indigenous subjectivities in contemporary Chile - Laura Jordán González, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

4:00 PM, Friday 24 May 2019 (2 hours)
November 14th of 2018 will be remembered in Chile as the day in which the police killed Camilo Catrillanca using military force. His name adds on a list of Mapuche youth killed under the rule of democratic governments in the aftermath of Pinochet’s dictatorship, as part of a long-lasting political conflict between the Chilean state and the Mapuche indigenous people. Although this conflict is arguably one of the most notorious in national history, popular “engaged” musicians have not embraced systematically this political cause.

When the New Chilean Song movement began in the late 1960s, its musicians were decidedly committed within the political left, but they scarcely dealt with the political struggles fought by the Mapuche indigenous people against the Chilean government. Instead, many of these musicians chose to represent the indigenous component of the Latin American population through “Andean Music,” (Fairley 1984) as recreated by South American exiles in Europe since de 1950s (Ríos 2008, Aravena 2009) and reinvented in the Southern Cone through this stereotypical stylisation. However, one band made the difference: Illapu.

This paper examines different strategies through which the band Illapu (created in 1972 and still active nowadays) engages with the so-called Mapuche conflict. I will argue that, by incorporating, first, Mapuche instruments and rhythms (1970s); by then adding politically engaged lyrics referring to Mapuche history (1980s); and by finally engaging with Mapuche listeners and artists (1990s-2000s), Illapu participates in the transformation of the very way of conceiving indigeneity, attesting of the emergence of new indigenous subjectivities at the turn of the century.
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso
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