Victor Jara’s Songs
“The junta broke the fingers on Victor Jara’s hands
They said to the gentle poet “play your guitar now if you can”
Victor started singing but they brought his body down
You can kill that man but not his song
When it’s sung the whole world round
If you can sing for freedom I can too”
Holly Near “It could have been me” 1974
Essential Questions

What impact do songs have on social
movements?

What is the historical context in which
these songs are written and performed?

What makes a song effective in a cause?
Role of Music
Music has been used to lift the spirits of
poor, oppressed and rebels.
 Music has been used to communicate the
ideas of change and protest.
 From different historical eras from slavery,
The Great Depression, Civil Rights
Movement and Vietnam, individuals have
shared their opinions of injustice.

Victor Jara




He was born on
September 23, 1932.
He was a Chilean folk
singer who challenged
military rule.
He was imprisoned and
tortured.
They broke his hands
because he played his
guitar to sing his protest
songs.
He taunted the soldiers by
singing.
He died on September 16,
1973. He was shot 44 times
by the military who
supported Augusto Pinochet.
Victor Jara
Victor Jara was a peasant
He worked from a few years old
He sat upon his father's plow
And watched the earth unfold
His hands were gentle, his hands
were strong
Now when the neighbors had a
wedding
Or one of their children died
His mother sang all night for them
With Victor by her side
His hands were gentle, his hands
were strong
He grew up to be a fighter
Against the people's wrongs
He listened to their grief and joy
And turned them into songs
His hands were gentle, his hands
were strong
He sang about the copper miners
And those who worked the land
He sang about the factory workers
And they knew he was their man
His hands were gentle, his hands
were strong
by Adrian Mitchell, music by Arlo Guthrie
He campaigned for Allende
Working night and day
He sang "Take hold of your brothers hand
You know the future begins today"
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong
Then the generals seized Chile
They arrested Victor then
They caged him in a stadium
With five-thousand frightened men
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong
Victor stood in the stadium
His voice was brave and strong
And he sang for his fellow prisoners
Till the guards cut short his song
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong
They broke the bones in both his hands
They beat him on the head
They tore him with electric shocks
And then they shot him dead
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong
Victor Jara of Chile
Lived like a shooting star
He fought for the people of Chile
With his songs and his guitar
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong
El Martillo
Oh hermano, oh hermano.
Si tuviera un martillo
golpearía en la mañana
golpearía en la noche
por todo el país
Alerta el peligro
debemos unirnos para
defender,
la paz.
Si tuviera una campana
tocaría en la mañana
tocaría en la noche
por todo el país
Alerta el peligro
debemos unirnos para
defender,
la paz.
Si tuviera una canción
cantaría en la mañana
cantaría en la noche
por todo el país
Alerta el peligro
debemos unirnos para
defender,
la paz.
Ahora tengo un martillo
y tengo una campana
y tengo una canción que
cantar
por todo el país.
Martillo de justicia
campana de libertad
y una canción de paz.
Manifesto
Yo no canto por cantar
ni por tener buena voz,
canto porque la guitarra
tiene sentido y razón.
Tiene corazón de tierra
y alas de palomita.
Es como el agua bendita,
santigua glorias y penas.
Aquí se encajó mi canto
como dijera Violeta;
guitarra trabajadora
con olor a primavera,
Que no es guitarra de ricos,
ni cosa que se parezca,
mi canto es de los andamios
para alcanzar las estrellas.
Que el canto tiene sentido
cuando palpita en las venas
del que morirá cantando
las verdades verdaderas.
No las lisonjas fugaces
ni las famas extranjeras,
sino el canto de una lonja
hasta el fondo de la tierra.
Ahí donde llega todo
y donde todo comienza,
canto que a sido valiente
siempre será canción nueva.
Manifesto: English translation
I don’t sing for love of singing
or to show off my voice
but for the statements
made by my honest guitar
for its heart is of the earth
and like the dove it goes flying....
endlessly as holy water
blessing the brave and the dying
so my song has found a purpose
as Violet Parra would say.
Yes, my guitar is a worker
shining and smelling of spring
my guitar is not for killers
greedy for money and power
but for the people who labour
so that the future may flower.
For a song takes on a meaning
when its own heart beat is strong
sung by a man who will die singing
truthfully singing his song.
I don’t care for adulation
or so that strangers may weep.
I sing for a far strip of country
narrow but endlessly deep.
El Derecho De Vivir En Paz
El derecho de vivir
poeta Ho Chi Minh,
que golpea de Vietnam
a toda la humanidad.
Ningún cañón borrará
el surco de tu arrozal.
El derecho de vivir en paz.
Indochina es el lugar
mas allá del ancho mar,
donde revientan la flor
con genocidio y napalm.
La luna es una explosión
que funde todo el clamor.
El derecho de vivir en paz.
Tío Ho, nuestra canción
es fuego de puro amor,
es palomo palomar
olivo de olivar.
Es el canto universal
cadena que hará triunfar,
el derecho de vivir en paz.
The right to live in peace
Lyrics Victor Jara
The right to live
poet Ho Chi Minh
striking of Vietnam
all humanity.
No gun cleared
the path of your rice.
The right to live in peace.
Indochina is the place
beyond the wide sea,
where the flower burst
with genocide and napalm.
The moon is an explosion
which merges all the clamor.
The right to live in peace.
Uncle Ho, our song
Fire is pure love,
is the pigeon loft
oil of olive.
It is the universal song
a string that will succeed
the right to live in peace.
El Aparecido
Abre sendas por los cerros,
Deja su huella en el viento,
El águila le da el vuelo
Y lo cobija el silencio.
Nunca se quejó del frío,
Nunca se quejó del sueño,
El pobre siente su paso
Y lo sigue como un ciego.
Correlé, correlé, correlá,
Por aquí, por allí, por allá,
Correlé, correlé, correlá,
Correlé que te van a matar,
Correlé, correlé, correlá.
Su cabeza es rematada
Por cuervos con garra de oro,
Cómo lo ha crucificado
La furia del poderoso.
Hijo de la rebeldía,
Lo siguen veinte más
veinte,
Porque regala su vida
Ellos le quieren dar
muerte.
Correlé, correlé, correlá,
Por aquí, por allí, por allá,
Correlé, correlé, correlá,
Correlé que te van a matar,
Correlé, correlé, correlá.
“Estadio Chile”
cinco mil
en esta pequeña parte de la ciudad.
Somos cinco mil
¿ Cuántos seremos en total
en las ciudades y en todo el país ?
Solo aqui
diez mil manos siembran
y hacen andar las fabricas.
¡ Cuánta humanidad
con hambre, frio, pánico, dolor,
presión moral, terror y locura !
Seis de los nuestros se perdieron
en el espacio de las estrellas.
Un muerto, un golpeado como jamas creí
se podria golpear a un ser humano.
Los otros cuatro quisieron quitarse todos los
temores
uno saltó al vacio,
otro golpeandose la cabeza contra el muro,
pero todos con la mirada fija de la muerte.
¡ Qué espanto causa el rostro del fascismo !
Llevan a cabo sus planes con precisión artera
Sin importarles nada.
La sangre para ellos son medallas.
La matanza es acto de heroismo
¿ Es este el mundo que creaste, dios mio ?
¿Para esto tus siete dias de asombro y trabajo ?
en estas cuatro murallas solo existe un numero
que no progresa,
que lentamente querrá más muerte.
Pero de pronto me golpea la conciencia
y veo esta marea sin latido,
pero con el pulso de las máquinas
y los militares mostrando su rostro de
matrona
llena de dulzura.
¿ Y Mexico, Cuba y el mundo ?
¡ Que griten esta ignominia !
Somos diez mil manos menos
que no producen.
Ay, canto qué mal me sales
cuando tengo que cantar espanto.
Ay, canto qué mal me sales
Ay, canto qué mal me sales.
¿Cuántos somos en toda la Patria?
La sangre del companero Presidente
golpea más fuerte que bombas y metrallas
Asi golpeará nuestro puño nuevamente
¡Canto que mal me sales
Cuando tengo que cantar espanto!
Espanto como el que vivo
como el que muero, espanto.
De verme entre tanto y tantos
momentos del infinito
en que el silencio y el grito
son las metas de este canto.
Lo que veo nunca vi,
lo que he sentido y que siento
hara brotar el momento
hará brotar el momento.
“Chile Stadium”
There are five thousand of us here
in this small part of the city.
We are five thousand.
I wonder how many we are in all
in the cities and in the whole country?
Here alone
are ten thousand hands which plant seeds
and make the factories run.
How much humanity
exposed to hunger, cold, panic, pain,
moral pressure, terror and insanity?
Six of us were lost
as if into starry space.
One dead, another beaten as I could never have
believed
a human being could be beaten.
The other four wanted to end their terror
one jumping into nothingness,
another beating his head against a wall,
but all with the fixed stare of death.
What horror the face of fascism creates!
They carry out their plans with knife-like
precision.
Nothing matters to them.
To them, blood equals medals,
slaughter is an act of heroism.
Oh God, is this the world that you created,
for this your seven days of wonder and work?
Within these four walls only a number exists
which does not progress,
which slowly will wish more and more for death.
But suddenly my conscience awakes
and I see that this tide has no heartbeat,
only the pulse of machines
and the military showing their midwives’ faces
full of sweetness.
Let Mexico, Cuba and the world
cry out against this atrocity!
We are ten thousand hands
which can produce nothing.
How many of us in the whole country?
The blood of our President, our compañero,
will strike with more strength than bombs and
machine guns!
So will our fist strike again!
How hard it is to sing
when I must sing of horror.
Horror which I am living,
horror which I am dying.
To see myself among so much
and so many moments of infinity
in which silence and screams
are the end of my song.
What I see, I have never seen
What I have felt and what I feel
Will give birth to the moment.
Will give birth to the moment.
How hard it is to sing
when I must sing of horror.
How hard it is to sing
How hard it is to sing….
U2 in “One Tree Hill” 1987
And in the world, a heart of darkness, a
fire zone
Where poets speak their heart, then bleed
for it
Jara sang, his song a weapon in the hands
of love
You know his blood still cries from the
ground
It runs like a river, runs to the sea
It runs like a river to the sea
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History of Protest Songs