In the News

The Justice (February 7, 2006)

Sol y Canto: A Tradition of Protest and Memorial

by Jonathan Fischer

Sol y Canto, who comes to campus this week as part of the MusicUnitesUs Residency series, is a follower of the musical tradition of nueva canción, the Latin American music of protest.

With members from Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Puerto Rico and elsewhere, the ensemble, which is led by husband-and-wife duo Brian and Rosi Amador, combines traditional Latin American folk songwriting and instrumentation with contemporary political ideals.

The group will perform around campus through the week, as well as lecture in classrooms and for students.

"[Sol y Canto's] message is really that we have to speak about ourselves and our rights and our lives and our liberties," said Prof. Judith Eissenberg (MUS), who founded MusicUnitesUs in 2003. "Singing is speaking and sometimes music can go beyond words in a deeper way."

The nueva canción movement emerged in the 1960s and '70s, when its most iconic musician, the Chilean singer/songwriter Victor Hara, was kidnapped, tortured and eventually murdered by his country's military government.

But according to Eissenberg, the tradition of nueva canción goes back further than that.

"The concept of singing songs for political reasons and social reasons is older than the '60s and '70s in Chile and Argentina," Eissenberg said. "These songs sing of the rights of indigenous people, the environment, personal freedoms."