Traditional / folk music of CHILE
Chile is one of longest country in the world with the unique
geography. Chile is about 4200 kilometers long and just 90 to 445 kilometers
wide. It has a long extraordinary coast line from Antarctic sea up to the
Equator along the Pacific Ocean and is bordered by the Andes Mountains to the
east. It has an amazing wine industry and
benefit considerably from the natural irrigation of pure water from melting
There are evidence of stone tool in Monte Verde valley which
comes back to 18500 years ago. Also there are evidences that shows 10000 years
ago, migrating Native Americans settled in valleys and coastal area of Chile.
In 1520 the first Spanish explorers visit the land today named Chile. Later
they conquered Chile and replaced Inca Empire in the north and center of Chile.
Chile could declared it's independent in 1818. Later during 19th century Chile
had significant economic and territorial growth.
As Chile was under Spanish Empire ruling, today the folk and
traditional music of Chile had been influenced by Spanish music. But it mixed
up a lot with local indigenous tribe folk music. Many of these folk music
genres are also in common with other neighbor South American countries as the
Andean Culture is strong between many of these countries. Most of these folk
music is accompanied with dances. In general the folk music of Chile can be
categorized in three different category: Northern Chilean folk music, Central
Chilean folk music and Southern Chilean folk music.
The main and biggest ethnic group in Chile were Mapuche
people who lived from north until south, but there were not under Inca Empire.
So their folk music and instruments are different from others in the north.
Another important ethnic group was Fueguinos people. They were living in the
south of Chile.
Here we mention some of notable genres of folk music in
This kind of folk music is a kind of dance and it is the
national dance of Chile. It is like an identity of Chilean people. It is also
popular in some other Andean countries like Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. It is
categorized as music of central part, but it is common and used in all the
country today. Especially in the Independence Day celebration. The exact origin
of this folk music is not very clear, but it must be come from Spanish
traditions which mixed with indigenous music style.
This type of folk music is also from central part of Chile.
It is not a dance and it distinguished from cueca with its slow-moving song
with a melancholy theme. The modern tonada is typically simple and
"monotonous". It is said that tonada has Spanish origin.
This type of folk music can be categorized under Northern
Chilean folk music. It is a popular Andean music and dance which originated in
the mountains of Peru. It belongs to different ethnic tribes of Andean
specially Quechua people. It is performed by different type of instruments like
violin, quena (flute), harp, siku (panpipe), accordion, saxophone, charango,
lute, guitar, and mandolin. In different Andean country, different combination
of these instruments are used. This music and also similar folk genres in the
north of Chile created when European culture meet up with ethnic group music in
This type of folk music is also common in Argentina and
Uruguay. Payador is the name of the person who perform this type of folk music.
It is a performance of improvised verse usually accompanied by guitar. In the
performances two or more payadores will compete to produce the most eloquent
verse. It is like a duel in singing and making poems with questions and answers
This type of music was a big music movement which started in
60s. Then it was also appeared in many other South American countries, Spain
and Cuba. This genre of music and movement happened by the effort of Violeta
Parra. Victor Jara was also one of the most characteristic musician of Nueva
canción who began its traditions of criticizing government officials and
policies. Jara was arrested shortly after the Chilean coup of 11 September
1973, which overthrew Allende. He was tortured during interrogations and
ultimately shot dead, and his body was thrown out on the street of a shantytown
in Santiago. Since September 1973, the new military government of Augusto
Pinochet threatened Nueva Canción artists, driving them underground during the
City folk music
This type of folk music also known as "Música Tipica"(traditional music). It was the rebirth of urban music inside the cities, radios and the music industry. This happened by the effort of bands like Los Huasos de Chincolco, Los Huasos Quincheros, Los Cuatro Hermanos, Ester Sore. Later this mentality continued by musicians like Victor Jara, Violeta Parra and caused to the birth of Nueva canción.
Some other genre of folk music which can be mentioned in
Chile are Pericona, El Costillar, El Chapecao.
Chile has many more types of folk music. If you have
information about them, please kindly help us improve this article. You can
also send some Chilean folk songs from the "Post a song" link in top
menu. If you see any mistake in the tags of song list below, please kindly let
us know through Contact Us page.
Traditional / folk songs for CHILE
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