Today, Grammy Award-winner Ana Tijoux released her version of Chilean folk singer Víctor Jara’s song “Luchín” to reflect on the 43rd anniversary of Chile’s golpe de estado. On September 11, 1973, the country’s socialist president Salvador Allende was overthrown in a coup. This event led directly to Jara’s arrest and violent murder. Tijoux honored Jara’s memory and legacy with this new version of this timeless classic.
Jara’s original nueva canción version has been transformed into a full orchestral masterpiece. Tijoux’s lush vocals —coupled with violins, cellos, keys and horns— deliver the song’s message to a new generation over 40 years after it was first released.
The song tells the story of Luchín, an innocent small boy living in simplicity amid the squalor of his surroundings. Luchín’s innocence kept him oblivious to the social context into which he was born, that of los invisibles, the lower classes that have no chance of escaping the fate they are born into. But to see him smile in the most adverse moments, to run and play freely, that hope in his eyes is the conviction that Tijoux brings to the song each time it’s performed.
Forty years later, Tijoux finds it is sadly necessary to revisit these topics:
As artists, as humans, as fighters, we can’t lose this dream of a better world, the dream that is kept alive in every little Luchín. It’s our duty to keep working so that 40 years from now, it won’t be necessary to make another cover of the same song.
The devastation caused by the 1973 coup is still palpable. The cruel reality of the world’s inequality is alive in the poorest neighborhoods, in the schools and in the hungry children —thousands of Luchíns— who live on the streets today, as social injustice still runs rampant throughout Chile.