Víctor Jara

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For the main-belt asteroid, see 2644 Victor Jara.
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Jara and the second or maternal family name is Martínez.
Víctor Jara
Víctor Jara.jpg
Background information
Birth name Víctor Lidio Jara Martínez
Born (1932-09-28)28 September 1932
Lonquén, Chile
Origin Chillán Viejo, Chile
Died 15 September 1973(1973-09-15) (aged 40)
Santiago, Chile
Genres Folk, Nueva canción, Andean music
Occupation(s) Singer/songwriter, Poet, Theatre director, University academic, Social activist
Instruments Vocals, Spanish guitar
Years active 1959–1973
Labels EMI-Odeon
Warner Music Group
Associated acts Violeta Parra, Patricio Castillo, Quilapayún,
Inti-Illimani, Patricio Manns, Ángel Parra, Isabel Parra, Sergio Ortega, Pablo Neruda, Daniel Viglietti, Atahualpa Yupanqui, Joan Baez, Dean Reed, Silvio Rodríguez, Holly Near, Cornelis Vreeswijk
Website FundacionVictorJara.cl

Víctor Lidio Jara Martínez (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈβiktor ˈliðjo ˈxaɾa marˈtines]; 28 September 1932 – 15 September 1973)[1] was a Chilean teacher, theatre director, poet, singer-songwriter, and political activist. A distinguished theatre director, he developed Chilean theatre by directing a broad array of works, ranging from locally produced Chilean plays, to the classics of the world stage, to the experimental work of such playwrights as Ann Jellicoe. He also played a pivotal role among neo-folkloric musicians who established the Nueva Canción Chilena (New Chilean Song) movement; this led to an uprising of new sounds in popular music during the administration of Salvador Allende.

Shortly after the Chilean coup of 11 September 1973, Jara was arrested; he was tortured under interrogation and ultimately shot dead. His body was later thrown out into the street of a shanty town in Santiago.[2] The contrast between the themes of his songs, on love, peace and social justice and the brutal way in which he was murdered transformed Jara into a "potent symbol of struggle for human rights and justice" for those killed during the Pinochet regime.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Víctor Jara was born in 1932 in the locality of Lonquén, near the city of Santiago, to poor peasants Manuel Jara and Amanda Martínez. His father Manuel was illiterate and encouraged his children to work from an early age to help the family survive, rather than to attend school. By the age of 6, Jara was already working on the land. His father could not support his family on earnings as a peasant at the Ruiz-Tagle estate, nor was he able to find stable work to support his large family. As he took to drinking, he became increasingly violent. His relationship with his wife deteriorated, and Manuel left the family to look for work when Víctor was still a child.

Amanda Martínez persevered in raising Víctor and his siblings; she insisted that each get a good education. A mestiza with deep Araucanian roots in the south of Chile, she was self-taught; she played the guitar and the piano. She also performed as a singer, with a repertory of traditional folk songs she used for local functions like weddings and funerals.[5]

Jara's mother died when Jara was 15, leaving him to make his own way. He began to study to be an accountant, but soon moved into a seminary, where he studied for the priesthood. After a couple of years, however, he became disillusioned with the Church and left the seminary. Subsequently he spent several years in army service before returning to his home town to pursue interests in folk music and theatre.[6]

Artistic life[edit]

Jara was deeply influenced by the folklore of Chile and other Latin American countries; he was particularly influenced by artists such as Violeta Parra, Atahualpa Yupanqui, and the poet Pablo Neruda. Jara began his foray into folklore in the mid-1950s when he began singing with the group Cuncumen. In the 1960s, he started specializing in folk music, and got to sing at Santiago's La Peña de Los Parra, owned by Ángel Parra. Through these activities, Jara became greatly involved in the la Nueva Canción Chilena movement of Latin American folk music. He published his first recording in 1966 and, by 1970, had left his theatre work in favour of a career in music. His songs were drawn from a combination of traditional folk music and left-wing political activism. From this period, some of his most renowned songs are Plegaria a un Labrador ("Prayer to a Worker") and Te Recuerdo Amanda ("I Remember You Amanda"). He supported the Unidad Popular ("Popular Unity") coalition candidate Salvador Allende for the presidency of Chile, taking part in campaigning, volunteer political work, and playing free concerts.

Political activism[edit]

Jara's origins in political activism started soon after he joined the choir at the University of Chile. Convinced by a choir-mate to pursue a career in theater, Jara subsequently joined his university's theatre program, earning him a scholarship for talent.[6] Appearing in several of the university's plays, he gravitated towards those with social themes, such as Russian playwright Maxim Gorky's The Lower Depths, a depiction of the hardships of lower-class life.[6] In 1957 Jara met with Chilean folksinger Violeta Parra. It was Parra who steered folk music in Chile away from the rote reproduction of rural materials toward modern song composition rooted in traditional forms. Parra tried to incorporate folk music into the everyday life of modern Chileans, establishing musical community centers called peñas. Jara absorbed these lessons and joined a folk group called Cuncumén, with whom he continued his explorations of Chile's traditional music.[6] Jara continued his theatre career as a director for nine years, before he became more passionate about music.

Jara released his first album, Canto a lo humano , in 1966. Early in his recording career he showed a knack for antagonizing conservative Chileans, releasing a traditional comic song called "La beata" that depicted a religious woman with a crush on the priest to whom she goes for confession. The song was banned on radio stations and removed from record shops, but the controversy only added to Jara's reputation among young and progressive Chileans.[7] More serious in the eyes of the Chilean right wing was Jara's growing identification with the leftist social movement led by socialist politician Salvador Allende. After visits to Cuba and the Soviet Union in the early 1960s, Jara had joined the Communist Party. The personal met the political in Jara's songs about the poverty he had experienced firsthand.[7]

Jara's songs spread outside Chile and were known to and performed by American folk artists.[8] His popularity was due not only to his songwriting skills but also to his exceptional power as a performer. Jara took a decisive turn toward political confrontation with his song "Preguntas por Puerto Montt" (Questions About Puerto Montt, 1969), which took direct aim at a government official who had ordered police to attack squatters in the town of Puerto Montt. The Chilean political situation deteriorated after the official was assassinated, and right-wing thugs beat up Jara on one occasion.[8]

Jara composed "Venceremos" (We Will Triumph), the theme song of Allende's Unidad Popular (Popular Unity) movement, and he welcomed Allende's election to the Chilean presidency in 1970. Jara and his wife were key participants in a cultural renaissance that swept Chile, organizing cultural events that supported the country's new socialist government. He set poems by Chilean writer Pablo Neruda to music and performed at a ceremony honoring Neruda after the famous writer received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1972. Throughout rumblings of a right-wing coup, Jara held on to his teaching job at Chile's Technical University. Jara's popular success during this time as both a musician and communist earned him a concert in Moscow. So successful was he that the Soviet Union even tried to latch onto his popularity, claiming in their media that his vocal prowess was the result of surgery he had undergone while in Moscow.[9]

Jara's role in Chilean society was not limited to his musical output. A supporter of the Popular Unity party, Jara publicly spoke on Salvador Allende's behalf.[10] Allende's campaign was successful and, in 1970, he was elected president of Chile. Jara continued to actively support Allende as president, frequently speaking in support of Allende and playing an important role in the new administration's efforts to reorient Chilean culture.[11]

The Chilean right wing believed that Allende was too far to the political left. Backed by the United States, which opposed Allende's socialist politics, the right staged a coup d'état on September 11, 1973 through the Chilean military,[12] and Death of Salvador Allende. At the moment of the coup, Jara was on the way to the Technical University (today Universidad de Santiago), where he was a teacher. That night he slept at the university along with other teachers and students, and sang to raise morale.

Víctor Jara's grave in the General Cemetery of Santiago. The note left reads: "‘Till Victory!"

Torture and murder[edit]

On the morning of 12 September, Jara was taken as a prisoner by the military, along with thousands of others deemed suspect, and interned as a prisoner in the Chile Stadium in September 1973.[13] His body was later discarded outside the stadium along with other civilian prisoners who had been killed by the Chilean Army.[14]

Jara's wife, Joan Jara, was allowed to come and retrieve his body from the site and was able to confirm the physical damage he had endured. After holding a funeral for her husband, Joan Jara fled the country in secret. Joan Turner Jara currently lives in Chile and runs the Víctor Jara Foundation. Before his death, Jara wrote a poem about the conditions of the prisoners in the stadium. The poem was written on a piece of paper that was hidden inside the shoe of a friend. The poem was never named, but is commonly known as "Estadio Chile". (The Chile Stadium, also known as the Víctor Jara Stadium, is often confused with the Estadio Nacional (National Stadium).)

Forty two years later former Chilean military officers were charged with his murder.[15]

Legal Actions[edit]

On 16 May 2008, retired colonel Mario Manriquez Bravo, who was chief of security at Chile Stadium as the coup was carried out, would be the first to be convicted in Jara's death.[16] Chilean Judge Juan Eduardo Fuentes, who oversaw Bravo's conviction, then decided to close the case.[16] Jara's family soon appealed this decision.[16]

In June 2008, Judge Fuentes re-opened the investigation into Jara's death. Judge Fuentes said he would examine 40 new pieces of evidence provided by the singer's family.[17]

On 28 May 2009, José Adolfo Paredes Márquez, a 54-year-old former Army conscript, arrested the previous week in San Sebastian, Chile, was formally charged with Jara's murder.

Following Paredes' arrest, on 1 June 2009, the police investigation identified the name of the officer who first shot Víctor Jara in the head. The officer played Russian roulette with Jara, by placing a single round in his revolver, spinning the cylinder, placing the muzzle against Jara's head and pulling the trigger. The officer repeated this a couple of times, until a shot fired and Víctor fell to the ground. The officer then ordered two conscripts (one of them Paredes) to finish the job, by firing into Jara's body. A judge ordered Jara's body to be exhumed in an effort to determine more information regarding his death.[18][19][20]

On 3 December 2009, a massive funeral took place in the "Galpón Víctor Jara" across from "Plaza Brasil". Jara's remains were honoured by thousands. His remains were re-buried in the same place he was buried in 1973.[21]

On 28 December 2012 a judge in Chile ordered the arrest of eight former army officers for alleged involvement in the murder of Víctor Jara.[22][23] He issued an international arrest warrant for one of them, Pedro Barrientos Núñez, accused of shooting Jara in the head during a torture session. Barrientos lives in Florida and US authorities have failed to comply with the warrant.[24]

On 4 September 2013, the Center for Justice and Accountability filed suit in US court against Pedro Barrientos, who currently resides in Florida, on behalf of Víctor Jara's widow and children. The suit accuses Pedro Barrientos of arbitrary detention; cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; extrajudicial killing; and crimes against humanity under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS); and of torture and extrajudicial judicial killing under the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA), in connection with the death of Víctor Jara. The complaint alleges that Barrientos is liable for Víctor Jara's death as a direct perpetrator, as well as a commander, and an indirect collaborator to the crimes at Chile Stadium.[14][25]


  • Paragraph 23- On 11 September 1973, Chilean Army troops from the Arica Regiment of the Chilean Arma from La Serena attacked the University. Troops prohibited civilians from entering or leaving the University premises. During the afternoon of 12 September 1973, military personnel entered the University and illegally detained hundreds of professors, students, and administrators.
  • Paragraph 24- Víctor Jara was among those arbitrarily detained on the campus and, thereafter, was transferred to the Stadium, where he was ultimately tortured and killed.
  • Paragraph 32- In the course of transporting and processing the civilian prisoners, Captain Fernando Polanco Gallardo, a commanding officer in military intelligence, recognized Víctor Jara as the well-known folk singer whose popular songs addressed social inequality and who had supported President Allende's government. Captain Polanco then separated Víctor Jara from the group and beat Víctor Jara severely. He then transferred Víctor Jara, together with some of the other civilians, to the Stadium.
  • Paragraph 35-Throughout his detention in the locker room of the Stadium, Víctor Jara was in the physical custody of Lieutenant Barrientos, soldiers under his command, or other members of the Chilean Army who acted in furtherance of the Chilean Army's common plan, design, and scheme to commit human rights abuses against civilians at the Stadium.
  • Paragraph 43- The arbitrary detention, torture, cruel, inhuman or degreading treatment, and extrajudicial killing inflicted upon Víctor Jara and other detainees at the Stadium were part of a widespread and systematic attack of the civilian population by the Chilean Army in the days following the military coup from 11 September 1973 through 15 September 1973. Lieutenant Barrientos knew or should have known about the widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population if for no other reason than because he was present for and participated in the attacks carried out against civilians at the Stadium.[14]

On 15 April 2015 a US judge ordered Barrientos to stand trial in Florida.[26]


Although the military dictatorship burned the majority of master recordings of Jara's music, Joan Jara managed to get recordings out of Chile; these were later copied and distributed worldwide. The widow later wrote an account of Víctor Jara's life and music, titled Víctor: An Unfinished Song.

Named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the fifteen foremost protest artists.[14]

On 22 September 1973, the Soviet/Russian astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh named a newly found asteroid 2644 Víctor Jara, in honor of Víctor Jara's life and artistic work.

American folksinger Phil Ochs, who met and performed with Jara during a tour of South America, organized a benefit concert in his memory in New York in 1974. Titled "An Evening With Salvador Allende", the concert featured Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie and Ochs.

For Neruda, for Chile contains a section called "The Chilean Singer", with poems dedicated to Jara.[27]

An East German biographical movie called El Cantor (the Singer) was made in 1978. It was directed by Jara's friend Dean Reed, who also played the part of Jara. That same year, the Dutch-Swedish singer-songwriter Cornelis Vreeswijk released an album of Victor Jara songs translated by him into Swedish, Cornelis sjunger Victor Jara ("Cornelis sings Victor Jara").

In the late 1990s British actress Emma Thompson started to work on a screenplay, which she planned to use as the basis for a movie about Víctor Jara. Thompson, a human rights activist and fan of Jara, considered the political murder of the Chilean artist as a symbol of human rights violation in Chile. She believed a movie about Jara's life and death would make more people aware of the Chilean tragedy.[28] The movie would feature Antonio Banderas – another fan of Víctor Jara – as Jara himself where he would sing some of his songs and Emma Thompson as Víctor Jara's British wife Joan Jara.[29] The project has not yet been made into a film.

UK poet Adrian Mitchell translated Jara's poems and lyrics. He wrote the tribute 'Victor Jara', which singer Arlo Guthrie later set to music.

The Soviet musician Alexander Gradsky created the rock opera, Stadium (Стадион, Stadion) (1985), based on the events surrounding Jara's death.[30]

Portuguese folk band Brigada Víctor Jara is named after him.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Wrecking Ball Tour made a stop in Chile on 12 September 2013 (Springsteen's first ever performance in the country), just days before the 40th anniversary of Jara's death. Springsteen and guitarist Nils Lofgren paid tribute to Jara by covering his song, "Manifiesto," which Springsteen sang in Spanish.

In a short speech before the song, Springsteen said (in Spanish): "In 1988 we played for Amnesty International in Mendoza, Argentina, but Chile was in our hearts. We met many families of Desaparecidos, which had pictures of their loved ones. It was a moment that stays with me forever. A political musician, Víctor Jara, remains a great inspiration. It’s a gift to be here and I take it with humbleness."[31]

Political Legacy[edit]

Victor Jara, pioneer of the Nueva Cancion Chilena movement and member of the Communist Party in Chile, remained true to his ideology right up to the moment of his death. He was tortured and murdered days after Salvador Allende; Chile’s democratically elected president. On 16 September 1973, just a few days before his birthday, Victor Jara had his hands broken after already having suffered other forms of torture while being held captive in the Chile Stadium. The Pinochet regime had successfully overthrown Allende in a coup aided by the United States. Pinochet’s soldiers had rounded up many people who were believed to be politically involved with the leftist parties and Allende’s Popular Unity (UP), Jara being one of them. The guards at the Chile Stadium mocked Jara by asking him to play guitar after he had his hands and fingers smashed. He was told to sing for his fellow prisoners to which he boldly sang "Vencerermos," a jingle he had composed for Salvador Allende’s presidential campaign. Soon after, he was shot and killed.1 His body was left outside for his wife, Joan Jara, to find. She took his body and gave him a quick burial in the general cemetery before she fled the country into exile. This was the best she could do under such brutal circumstances and in the small amount of time she had. She made sure to take recordings of Jara’s music to later make copies and distribute. Today, Victor Jara’s music is world known and he is recognized as a political figure. His music began to resurface in Chile in 1981, shortly after the coup in 1973. Nearly eight hundred cassettes, of early nonpolitical Jara songs, were confiscated no the "grounds that they violated an internal security law." The importer was given jail time and released six months later due to lack of merit. Victor Jara’s records were being openly sold throughout Santiago, Chile by 1982. By this point, everyone already assumed that Jara had been murdered by the Pinochet regime.2 In 2009, Jara’s body was exhumed in order to discover exactly what had happened to him. Many officers were being charged for having some participation in his murder. As of 2013, ten officials have been charged for Jara’s murder. The intentions of the 2013 lawsuit by Jara’s family were against Pedro Barrientos Nuñez for delivering the fatal bullet into Victor Jara’s head. The lawsuit says that Barrientos Nuñez is responsible for personally firing the final shot into the back of Jara’s head as part of Barrientos Nuñez game of Russian roulette. Peter Kornbluh, author of "The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability," stated, "I hope that the Jara family will prevail and that the U.S. government understands that it must expel Pedro Barrientos to Chile to join these others who’ve been indicted… otherwise the United States will be seen as harboring one of the key culprits in the murder of Victor Jara. Barrientos Nuñez is still living Florida, United States, since 1989. The case of Jara is one of the many in which families of desaparecidos (people disappeared by the Pinochet government and most likely tortured and killed) are still struggling to get justice for. 3 Victor Jara received a proper burial thirty-six years after his first burial. After being exhumed, he received an emotional burial on 3 December 2009 in Santiago, Chile. Thousands of Chileans went to Jara’s funeral to pay their respects. Jara’s widow led the funeral cortege in what was the second time she buried her husband. Chile’s president in 2009, Michelle Bachelet, spoke in regards to Jara’s funeral, she said, "Finally after 36 years, Victor can rest in peace. Bachelet was also a victim of the Pinochet regime and spent years in exile. He is considered to be a hero even though he continues buried in the general cemetery where his widow originally buried him. He is a hero for the left and he is known worldwide. Not only do Latin American artists commemorate him but also global artists such as U2 and Clash, which have also paid homage to him. U2 has given concerts at the stadium not only as homage to Jara but also for the many that suffered under the Pinochet dictatorship.4 Jara’s face is still featured on posters throughout Chile. Today the stadium in which Jara and many others were held captive and tortured still stands. It is often referred to as the Victor Jara Stadium.5 There is a Victor Jara Foundation which was founded by Jara’s wife and children and legally established on 4 October 1994. The Foundation is a non-profit, cultural organization with the purpose of promoting and continuing Jara’s work.6 1 Augustyn, Adam. "Victor Jara Chilean Musician." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 9 December 2015. http://www.britannica.com/biography/Victor-Jara 2 Morris, Nancy E. "Canto Porque Es Necesario Cantar; the New Song Movement in Chile, 1973-1983." Latin America Institue 16 (1984): n. pag. Web. 1 December 2015. http://repository.unm.edu/handle/1928/9709 3 Henao, Luis A. "10 Former Chilean Soldiers Charged in Victor Jara Killing." Washington Times. The Washington Times, 23 July 2015. Web. 8 December 2015. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/23/10-former-chilean-officers-charged-in-victor-jara 4 Long, Gideon. "Murdered Chilean Folk Singer Laid to Rest after 36 Years." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited, 5 December 2009. Web. 8 December 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/dec/06/victor-jara-folk-singer-chile-/?page=all 5 Waldstein, David. "In Chile’s National Stadium, Dark Past Shadows Copa América Matches." The New York Times. The New York Times, 18 June 2015. Web. 9 December 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/sports/soccer/in-chiles-national-stadium-dark-past-shadows-copa-america-matches.html?_r=1 6 "FUNDACION VICTOR JARA." FUNDACION VICTOR JARA. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 December 2015. http://sreyes.org/old/vjfndt.htm.

Songs mentioning Víctor Jara[edit]

  • 2014 – "I Thought I Heard Sweet Víctor Singing .. " by Paul Baker Hernandez (British singer-songwriter living in Nicaragua). Original song begun in Joan and Víctor's very garden in Santiago during events to cleanse the torture stadia (1990/91). 'Chorus: 'Don't give up, don't give up, don't give up the struggle now. Keep on singing out for justice, don't give up the struggle now!'
    • ("Pense oir al dulce Victor en la noche cantar" by Paul Baker Hernandez [singer británico que vive in Nicaragua]. Song original nacida en el mero jardin of Joan y de Víctor durante events para limpiar los estadios of torture (1990/91). Estribillo: 'No se rindan, no se rindan, no se rindan ya! A la justicia cantemos, no se rindan ya!')
  • In 2014, Faroese soul-rock singer Högni Reistrup released the song "Back Against The Wall" on his album Call For a Revolution; the song is dedicated to Víctor Jara, whom Hogni was told about as a child by his father; the song portrays the horrors of the torture, and his strength to withstand it: One line is:

"My voice is weak, just a whisper
My hands are broken
But I have written a letter
To remind my love
That she was born and raised
With her Back against the wall"

  • "Cancion Protesta" by Aterciopelados (Colombia) is a tribute to protest songs. In the music video, Aterciopelados also make visual a quote from Víctor Jara, who said "The authentic revolutionary should be behind the guitar, so that the guitar becomes an instrument of struggle, so that it can also shoot like a gun."
  • "Ki an eimai rock" (lyrics Dora Sitzani-music Manos Loizos) by Vassilis Papakonstantinou
  • (Chilean brothers Rodstarz and G1 along with DJ illanoiz) Rebel Diaz's "Broken Hands Play Guitars" is a tribute to Víctor Jara.
  • The Chilean group Inti-Illimani dedicated the songs "Canto de las estrellas" and "Cancion a Víctor" to Víctor Jara.
  • Dutch-Swedish singer-songwriter Cornelis Vreeswijk recorded "Blues för Victor Jara" on his album Bananer – bland annat in 1980.
  • In 1975, Norwegian folksinger Lillebjørn Nilsen included a tribute song entitled "Victor Jara" on his album Byen Med Det Store Hjertet. In the same year, the Swedish band Hoola Bandoola Band included their song "Victor Jara" on their album Fri information.
  • Belgian singer fr: Julos Beaucarne relates the death of Víctor Jara in his song "Lettre à Kissinger" (Letter to Kissinger).[32]
  • In 1976, French singer fr: Jean-Max Brua dedicated to him a song called "Jara" on his album La Trêve de l’aube.
  • French singer Pierre Chêne also wrote a song about Jara's death, entitled "Qui Donc Etait Cet Homme?"
  • In 2004, Swiss singer fr:: Michel Bühler published "Chanson pour Victor Jara", in his album Chansons têtues (EPM).
  • In 1976, Arlo Guthrie included a biographical song entitled "Victor Jara" on his album Amigo.[33] The words were written by Adrian Mitchell and Arlo Guthrie wrote the music.[34]
  • Former German folk duo Zupfgeigenhansel (Thomas Friz and Erich Schmeckenbecher) featured a live performance of their song "Victor Jara" as the last track on their 1978 LP Volkslieder III.
  • The Clash sing about Jara in the song "Washington Bullets" on their 1980 album Sandinista!. Joe Strummer sings:

    As every cell in Chile will tell, the cries of the tortured men. Remember Allende in the days before, before the army came. Please remember Victor Jara, in the Santiago Stadium. Es Verdad, those Washington Bullets again.

  • Holly Near's Sing to me the Dream is a tribute to Víctor Jara.

The song "It Could Have Been Me" includes this verse about Jara:

"The Junta took the fingers from Victor Jara's hands.
Said to the gentle poet 'play your guitar now if you can.'
Well Victor started singing until they shot his body down.
You can kill a man, but not a song when it's sung the whole world round."

  • British jazz-dance band Working Week's debut single "Venceremos (We will win)" from their 1985 first album Working Nights is a tribute to Victor Jara.
  • The Southwestern American band Calexico open their 2008 album Carried to Dust with the song "Victor Jara's Hands".
  • Rory McLeod's title song on his album Angry Love is about Jara.[35]
  • In 1987, U2 included the track "One Tree Hill" on their album The Joshua Tree, where Bono sings: "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. Though his blood still cries from the ground."
  • Chuck Brodsky wrote and recorded "The Hands of Victor Jara" [36] This 1996 tribute includes these words:

The blood of Victor Jara

Will never wash away
It just keeps on turning
A little redder every day
As anger turns to hatred
And hatred turns to guns
Children lose their fathers

And mothers lose their sons
  • Spanish singer Ismael Serrano included Jara's name and the name of the song "Te Recuerdo Amanda" in his "Vine del Norte" song on the album La Memoria de los Peces, released in 1998.[37]
  • Irish folk artist Christy Moore recorded the song "Victor Jara" on his Live at the Point album.
  • On Barnstormer's album Zero Tolerance (2004), Attila the Stockbroker mentions Jara in the song "Death of a Salesman", written just after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. "You were there in Chile, 11 September '73. 28 years to the day – what a dreadful irony. Victor Jara singing 'midst the tortured and the dead. White House glasses clinking as Allende's comrades bled."
  • Marty Willson-Piper, who plays guitar for The Church, included "Song for Victor Jara" on his 2009 solo album, Nightjar.
  • The Argentine rock group Los Fabulosos Cadillacs remember Víctor Jara in their song "Matador", with the lyrics "/Que suenan/son balas/me alcanzan/me atrapan/resiste/Víctor Jara no calla" ("What is that sound/It's bullets/They reach me/They trap me/Resist/Victor Jara is not silent").
  • Heaven Shall Burn wrote and performed two songs about him and his legacy called "The Weapon They Fear" and "The Martyrs Blood".
  • Spanish ska group Ska-P dedicated a song called "Juan Sin Tierra" to Jara (the song was originally written by Jorge Saldaña, and previously recorded by Jara), with the chorus going:

No olvidamos el valor de Víctor Jara/

dando la cara siempre a la represión/
le cortaron sus dedos y su lengua/
y hasta la muerte gritó revolución

We won't forget Victor Jara's courage/

always fighting oppression/
They cut off his fingers and his tongue/
And right up to his death he shouted 'Revolution'.

  • Tucson, Arizona-based Calexico include a song called "Víctor Jara's Hands" on their 2008 album Carried to Dust.
  • "Decadencia". The song goes: "Como Víctor Jara diciendole a su pueblo: La libertad esta cerca"
  • The Peruvian ska band Psicosis mentions Jara in their song "Esto es Ska". The chorus says "Lo dijo Víctor Jara no nos puedes callar" ("Victor Jara said it, you can't silence us").
  • Belarusian composer Igor Lutchenok wrote a song, "In memory of Victor Jara", with lyrics by Boris Brusnikov. It was first performed in 1974 by Belarusian singer Victor Vuyachich and later was performed by Belarusian folk-rock group Pesniary, with an arrangement by the late Vladimir Mulyavin.
  • The Glasgow-Irish folk group The Wakes included a song called "Víctor Jara" on their album These Hands in 2008.
  • The San Francisco post-rock band From Monument to Masses samples excerpts from a reading of Jara's "Estadio Chile" on the track "Deafening", a song from their 2005 remix album Schools of Thought Contend.
  • German singer Hannes Wader published his song "Victor Jara" on his album Wünsche (2001).
  • Scottish singer-songwriter Bert Jansch wrote "Let Me Sing" about Jara.
  • Venezuelan singer-songwriter Alí Primera wrote his "Canción para los valientes" (Song to the brave) about Victor Jara. The song was included in the album of the same name in 1976.
  • British musician Marek Black's CD, I Am A Train (2009), features the song "The Hands of Victor Jara", written by Marek Black.
  • Scottish group Simple Minds released a 1989 album, of which the title track is "Street Fighting Years", dedicated to Victor Jara.
  • Welsh folk singer-songwriter Dafydd Iwan wrote a song called "Cân Victor Jara" ("Victor Jara's Song") that was released on his 1979 album Bod yn rhydd (Being free).
  • In 2011, London-based band The Melodic released a track titled "Ode to Victor Jara" as the B-side to their limited-release vinyl single "Come Outside".
  • American singer-songwriter Rod MacDonald wrote "The Death Of Victor Jara" in 1991, with the refrain "the hands of the poet still forever wave." The song is on his And Then He Woke Up CD (Gadfly Records). MacDonald met Phil Ochs on the eve of the 1973 concert, and sang for him a song he had just written about the Chilean coup.
  • American singer-songwriter and performer Jack Hardy (1947–2011) mentioned Victor Jara in "I Ought to Know", a song recorded on the album Omens in 2000.
  • Finnish punk rocker Pelle Miljoona mentions Victor Jara in his song "Se elää".
  • Turkish protest-rock band Bulutsuzluk Özlemi refer to Jara in their song "Şili'ye Özgürlük" (Freedom To Chile), as a part of their 1990 album Uçtu Uçtu.
  • San Francisco ska-punk band La Plebe mention Victor Jara on their song "Guerra Sucia" from their album Brazo En Brazo.
  • The German hip hop band Freundeskreis mention Jara in their song "Leg dein Ohr auf die Schiene der Geschichte" ("Put your ear on the rails of history") published in 1997: "...C.I.A. - Chile ist amerikanisch, Victor Jara sang auf spanisch, seine Stimme mahnt Dich: Vergiss die Toten nicht, vergiss die Diktatur Despoten nicht, 1973..." ("...C.I.A. - Chile is American, Victor Jara sang in Spanish, his voice reminds/urges you: Don't forget the dead, don't forget the despots of dictatorship, 1973..."). After the word "spanisch," a short sample of Jara singing is inserted.

Theatre work[edit]


Studio albums[edit]

Year of release Title
1966 Víctor Jara (Geografía)
1967 Canciones folklóricas de América (with Quilapayún)
1967 Víctor Jara
1969 Pongo en tus manos abiertas
1970 Canto libre
1971 El derecho de vivir en paz
1972 La Población
1973 Canto por travesura
1974 (Estimated release) Tiempos que cambian (unfinished)
1974 Manifiesto

Live albums[edit]

  • Víctor Jara en Vivo (1974)
  • El Recital (1983)
  • Víctor Jara en México, WEA International (1996)
  • Habla y Canta en la Habana Cuba, WEA International (2001)
  • En Vivo en el Aula Magna de la Universidad de Valparaíso, WEA International (2003)


  • Te recuerdo Amanda, Fonomusic (1974)
  • Vientos del Pueblo, Monitor – U.S. (1976)
  • Canto Libre, Monitor (1977)
  • An Unfinished Song, Redwood Records (1984)
  • Todo Víctor Jara, EMI (1992)
  • 20 Años Después, Fonomusic (1992)
  • The Rough Guide to the Music of the Andes, World Music Network (1996)
  • Víctor Jara presente, colección "Haciendo Historia", Odeon (1997)
  • Te Recuerdo, Víctor, Fonomusic (2000)
  • Antología Musical, Warner Bros. Records (2001) 2CDs
  • 1959–1969 – Víctor Jara, EMI Odeon (2001) 2CDs
  • Latin Essential: Victor Jara, (WEA) 2CDs (2003)
  • Colección Víctor Jara – Warner Bros. Records (2004) (8CD Box)
  • Víctor Jara. Serie de Oro. Grandes Exitos, EMI (2005)

Tribute albums[edit]

  • An Evening with Salvador Allende, VA – U.S. (1974) [40]
  • A Víctor Jara, Raímon – Spain (1974)
  • Het Recht om in Vrede te Leven, Cornelis Vreeswijk – Nederlands (1977)
  • Hart voor Chili (various artists) (1977)
  • Cornelis sjunger Victor Jara, Rätten till ett eget liv, Cornelis Vreeswijk – Sweden (1979)
  • Omaggio a Victor Jara, Ricardo Pecoraro – Italy (1980)
  • Quilapayún Canta a Violeta Parra, Víctor Jara y Grandes Maestros Populares, Quilapayún – Chile (1985)
  • Konzert für Víctor Jara VA – Germany (1998)
  • Inti-illimani performs Víctor Jara, Inti-Illimani – Chile (1999)
  • Conosci Victor Jara?, Daniele Sepe – Italy (2001)
  • Tributo a Víctor Jara, VA – Latin America/Spain (2004)
  • Tributo Rock a Víctor Jara, VA – Argentina (2005)
  • Lonquen: Tributo a Víctor Jara, Francesca Ancarola – Chile (2007)

Documentaries and films[edit]

The following are films or documentaries about and/or featuring Víctor Jara:

  • El Tigre Saltó y Mató, Pero Morirá…Morirá…. Director: Santiago Álvarez – Cuba (1973)
  • Compañero: Víctor Jara of Chile. Directors: Stanley Foreman/Martin Smith (Documentary) – UK (1974)
  • Il Pleut sur Santiago. Director: Helvio Soto – France/Bulgaria (1976)
  • Ein April hat 30 Tage. Director: Gunther Scholz – East Germany (1978)
  • El Cantor. Director: Dean Reed – East Germany (1978)
  • El Derecho de Vivir en Paz. Director: Carmen Luz Parot – Chile (1999)
  • Freedom Highway: Songs That Shaped a Century. Director: Philip King – Ireland (2001)
  • La Tierra de las 1000 Músicas [Episode 6: La Protesta]. Directors: Luis Miguel González Cruz/Joaquín Luqui – Spain (2005)
  • Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune Director: Kenneth Bowser (2010)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Report of the Chilean Commission on Truth and Reconciliation Part III Chapter 1 (A.2)". usip.org. 2002-04-10. Archived from the original on 2006-12-31. Retrieved 2007-01-06. 
  2. ^ Jara, Joan. Víctor: An Unfinished Song, 249-250
  3. ^ "Jara v. Barrientos". Center for Justice and Accountability. 2013-07-04. Retrieved 2014-10-03. 
  4. ^ Charlotte Karrlsson-Willis (2013-09-06). "Family of Víctor Jara turns from Chile to US in quest for justice". The Santiago Times. Retrieved 2014-10-03. 
  5. ^ Jara, Joan. Víctor: An Unfinished Song, 24-27
  6. ^ a b c d "Victor Jara Biography - life, family, childhood, children, parents, death, wife, school". www.notablebiographies.com. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  7. ^ a b "'They Couldn't Kill His Songs,'" BBC News, World: Americas, http://www.news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/165363.stm
  8. ^ a b "Victor Jara," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (16 January 2007)
  9. ^ Minkova, Yuliya (2013). OUR MAN IN CHILE, OR VICTOR JARA'S POSTHUMOUS LIFE IN SOVIET MEDIA AND POPULAR CULTURE. Virginia Tech. p. 608.  line feed character in |title= at position 35 (help)
  10. ^ Jara, Joan. Víctor: An Unfinished Song,
  11. ^ Mularski, Jedrek. Music, Politics, and Nationalism in Latin America: Chile During the Cold War Era. Amherst: Cambria Press. ISBN 9781604978889.
  12. ^ Hitchens, Christopher (2001). The Trial of Henry Kissinger. New York: Twelve. p. 304. ISBN 978-1455522972. 
  13. ^ "Stadium's Renaming an Ode to Singer Martyred There". Los Angeles Times. 9 September 2003. Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  14. ^ a b c d "Complaint: Jara v. Barriento" (PDF). Official Florida court legal filing. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 
  15. ^ "Former Chilean military officers charged in 1973 murder of singer Víctor Jara". The Guardian. 23 July 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c "author=Reuters". Stuff.co.nz. 16 May 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  17. ^ "New probe into Victor Jara murder". BBC News. 2008-06-04. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  18. ^ "Chilean singer Jara is exhumed". BBC. 2009-06-04. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  19. ^ "A oficial que ajustició a Víctor Jara, le decían "El Loco"". Red Nacion. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  20. ^ Carroll, Rory. "Ex-Pinochet army conscript charged with folk singer Victor Jara's murder". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  21. ^ "Chile: A Proper Funeral for Víctor Jara". Global Voices Online. 2009-12-05. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  22. ^ Mariano Castillo (29 December 2012). "Charges brought in Chilean singer's death, 39 years later". CNN. 
  23. ^ "Ex-army officers implicated in Victor Jara death". BBC. 2012-12-28. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  24. ^ Wadi, Ramona (9 February 2013). "Forty Years Later, Justice for Víctor Jara: School of the Americas Grads Indicted in Murder of the Popular Allende-Era Singer/Activist". Truth-out.org. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  25. ^ "Jara v. Barrientos No. 3:13-cv-1075-J-99MMH-JBT (2013).". Center for Justice and Accountability. 2013-09-04. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 
  26. ^ "Victor Jara killing: Chile ex-army officer faces US trial". Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  27. ^ Lowenfels 1975.
  28. ^ Stasio, Marilyn (Fall 1998). "Emma Thompson: The World's Her Stage". ontheissuesmagazine.com. 
  29. ^ Beatrice Sartori (1999-01-07). "Antonio Banderas se mete en la piel del poeta torturado". elmundo.es. Retrieved 2006-02-03. 
  30. ^ A website dedicated to the Alexander Gradsky's rock opera Stadium (Stadion) (Russian)
  31. ^ "Springsteen News". Backstreets.com. Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  32. ^ Julos Beaucarne – Lettre a Kissinger. 10 December 2011. 
  33. ^ Allmusic link
  34. ^ Video of Adrian Mitchell's poem "Victor Jara", with music by Arlo Guthrie, performed by Guthrie and his band Shenandoah in 1978 on YouTube
  35. ^ "Brief Descriptions of some of Rory’s recorded and released songs". Rorymcleod.com. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  36. ^ "Music". Chuck Brodsky. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  37. ^ "La memoria de los peces (1998)". Ismael Serrano. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  38. ^ Instituto de Teatro de la Universidad de Chile (Theatre Institute of the University of Chile)
  39. ^ Oliver, William (2002-10-13). "Marat/Sade in Santiago. Educational Theatre Journal 1967)". jstor.org. Retrieved 2007-01-06. 
  40. ^ An Evening with Salvador Allende was a recording of the Friends of Chile benefit concert held in New York City (1974) to honor Allende, Neruda and Víctor Jara. The double album appeared as a limited edition several years after the concert event; it was never reissued after its limited release. It featured Melanie, Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys, Phil Ochs and it was where Pete Seeger for the first time performed an English translation of Víctor Jara's last poem: Estadio Chile.


External links[edit]

Resources in English[edit]

Resources in Spanish[edit]