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Victor Jara

The facts of Victor Jara's tragic death are well documented. Arrested in the aftermath of a military coup d'état, Jara was one of many political prisoners led to the National Football Stadium where many were tortured, beaten, and executed. Although his hands were broken or, as many have claimed, amputated, Jara continued to sing a song supporting the ousted Popular Unity Party. After receiving many brutal blows, Jara stopped singing only when a machine gun fired by a military officer took his life. In the nearly three decades since, Jara's songs and spirit have been celebrated by numerous politically minded folksingers including Pete Seeger and Tom Paxton. Arlo Guthrie set Adrian Mitchell's words to music for the ballad "Victor Jara," recording the song on his album Amigo. Undoubtedly, although Jara's heart may have been forcefully stilled, his music has lived on.

The youngest of four children born to a ploughman (Manuel) and a semi-professional folksinger (Amanda), Jara grew up in severe poverty. Raised on a feudal-like farm, he lived on the bags of flour and occasional fruit that his father earned from his labors. By the age of six or seven, he was already accompanying his father to work in the fields. Family life was extremely difficult as his father increasingly began drinking to escape his woes. When a pot of boiling water fell on his sister, he joined his mother and moved to Santiago, the site of the only hospital equipped to treat his sister's burns. While in Santiago, his mother took a job at a food stand at an open market, but in March 1950, Jara received word that his mother had died from a stroke suffered while she was at work.

For the next three years, he struggled through school while sleeping at the homes of friends. At the age of 15, Jara left school and entered the Redemptist Order in San Bernardo, a small village south of Santiago. His quest to become a priest, however, lasted only a year. In 1952, he left the seminary and enlisted in the Chilean army. The following year, he was dismissed with honors. Jara's interests in theater and music soon became the dominant force in his life. Enrolling in the school of theater at the University of Chile, he studied acting. After completing his degree, he continued on to begin studies in theatrical directing. While at the school, he met his future wife, Joan Turner, a teacher from Great Britain. A turning point in Jara's musical career came when he met Violeta Parra, a traditional folksinger and artist and the owner of a small café in Santiago. Taken under Parra's wing, Jara began to sing more and more in the cafe. In 1966, he released his self-titled debut album. Four years later, he left the theater to devote his attention full-time to music.

From the beginning, Jara used his songwriting skills to supply a voice for Chile's working class and peasantry. Strongly supportive of the Communist Party, he was thrilled when Dr. Salvador Allende, the head of the Popular Unity Coalition, became the first socialist to be elected president of a Latin American country. Under Allende's leadership, the Popular Unity Coalition planned to strengthen educational support, increase low-income housing, and furnish free socialized medical care. Jara's dreams began to crumble, however, when on September 11, 1973, a military junta headed by Admiral Toribio Merino and Army General Augusto Pinochet, assisted by the United States via the Central Intelligence Agency, overthrew Allende and launched a brutal coup. Thousands of Popular Unity Coalition leaders and supporters were imprisoned with hundreds being subsequently executed. Jara was working at the State Technical University when it was surrounded by the military. Taken prisoner, he spent five days in a cold, dirty cell without adequate food or water, before being taken to the National Football Stadium. Although he was initially buried in a mass grave, his wife was permitted to provide him with a decent funeral and burial. She later left Chile in secret, taking many unreleased tapes of Jara's songs. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Estos son nuestros verdaderos heroes,¡¡¡
hasta la Victoria siempre
viva victor jara
Su vida tuvo el firme proposito de levantar una conciencia de pueblo, una unidad popular contra la tirania y las condiciones de pobreza que enfrentaba la clase obrera en Chile y el mundo. Levantar tambien la tradicion popular del olvido, afirmar las costumbres y el proposito de luchar contra la asimilacion cultural al imperio. Tambien "Vitin" como le digo cariñosament e tenia gran amor por los niños que a muy corta edad trabajaban arduamente en las minas y en el campo, cantaba sobre el amor y tam
sjgrodsky
Viva Victor diga esta gringa.
Aun me acuerdo la primera vez que escuche esta canción.
Si la verdad que te trasporta alos year de gerra en nuestro paiz el salvador solo esa mucica se escuchaba
¡Un gran hombre este! Me enamoré de su música, y la de Violeta Parra igual, durante mis estudios en Chile. ¡Que linda el país, su cultura, y su gente! ¡Viva Chile y viva Victor Jara!
fraymommy
Por fin.... La version original.... Always remember never forget... That was my 9/11/ 1973
jbospina64
Cuando escuchamos mas de estos poetas se enriquese no solo el alma sino el intelecto
One of my heroes for sure!
wow! one of Chile's greatest!
Victor Jara vive!!
aguilard37
el no a muerto el estara con nosotros por siempre no nos dejemos mas
steinerjess
love victors music and especial el mensaje entre su musica y letra. god bless his soul
Victor Jara fue dado un don en su canto y en su corazon por el pueblo. Aunque el comunismo no es la respuesta, hombres que luchen por la verdad y los derechos de un pueblo oprimido son mas necesitados hoy en dia.
reina_1684
nunca olvidare la musica de Victor Jara, que cante y admire desde los años de mi formacion, alla por los 70's.
Victor Jara lives forever in us.
matadores45
que tristeza que allan matado a este poeta, que desgracia que mala jente
wow por fin escucho la version original... aunque la version de Gondwana es buena
they really should have Zamba al Che on here

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