Quilapayún (pronounced: kee-lah-pah-YOON) are an instrumental and vocal folk music group from Chile and among the longest lasting and most influential exponents of the Nueva Canción Chilena (New Song) movement. Formed in Chile during the mid-1960s, the group became inseparable with the revolution that occurred in the popular music of the country under the Popular Unity Government of Salvador Allende. Since its formation and during its forty year long history - both in Chile and during its lengthy period of exile in France - the group has seen modifications to its personnel lineup, to the subject and content of its work, and controversy regarding irreconciliable differences with the current and former group director; which has led each to maintain a distinctive - yet equally impressive - Quilapayún ensemble: one in Chile (named: Quilapayún-Histórico) and one in France (named: Quilapayún-French-Faction).


Quilapayún originated in 1965 when Julio Numhauser, and the brothers Julio and Eduardo Carrasco formed a folk music trio which they simply called “the three bearded men” (viz. Quila-Payún) in the mapuche language (viz. Mapudungun – the language of the people native to the region that is now the south of Chile, the Araucanians). Their first public performances were at the Universidad de Chile in Valparaíso organized by their first musical director, Ángel Parra (The son of Violeta Parra). In 1966 Patricio Castillo joined the group and they began performing and winning notoriety for their Andean music as well as their black ponchos which became the group's trademark. During this time they won their first prize, La Guitarra de Oro (The Golden Guitar) in the Primer Festival Nacional del Folkore “Chile Múltiple”. (First National Festival of Folklore), they also made their first recording, appearing in one song of Angel Parra, El Pueblo (The People).

In one of these performances of 1966 in Valparaíso the group met with Víctor Jara with whom the group maintained a close and productive artistic association with for many years. At the request of the group Victor Jara becomes Quilapayún’s musical director and he worked on the groups discipline, their stage performances and the stylistics and thematic of the groups music and songs. Jara presents them to the record label Odeon Records, where they would record 5 LPs. Their first album, Quilapayún was basically an Andean music album but they included songs of Ángel Parra, Víctor Jara and new compositions of Eduardo Carrasco such as La Paloma and El canto del cuculi.

In 1967 they recorded an album together with Víctor Jara, Canciones Folklóricas de América (Folk songs of America). During this time Julio Namhausser left the group over discrepancies on the style of music the group was pursuing and was replaced by Guillermo “Willy” Oddó. During 1967 they also toured the USSR, Italy, France and other parts of Europe and recorded an LP with the Chilean painter and poet Juan Capra.

In 1968, Quilapayún participated in the launch of a new record label of La Jota (Chile’s Communist Party Youth Organization) and here they record their LP “X Vietnam” which included songs from the Spanish Revolution; to the surprise of many commercial record labels its release became a nation-wide success. This album established the group's thematic and aesthetics and created great interest and a following among progressive youth. From the success of this album the label DICAP (Discoteca del Cantar Popular) appeared, which became the springboard of the Nueva Canción Chilena (New Chilean Song) movement. The DICAP label would record up to 60 musical productions until the military coup of September 11, 1973, which banned and literally destroyed the record label. During 1968 Julio Carrasco left the group for political differences, and was replaced by Hernán Gomez, and Rodolfo Parada.

In 1969 they recorded the ‘Basta’ LP, which included an eclectic and highly political collection of songs from different parts of the world, establishing the fundamental element of the New Chilean Song: its Internationalism. This album was released with a lengthy statement made by the group about the nature of their work and their commitment to the socialist cause:

Bourgeois society wants art to be another factor contributing to social alienation; we artists should transform it into a revolutionary weapon, until the contradiction that actually exists between art and society is finally surpassed".

In 1969 they also appeared supporting Víctor Jara in his album, Pongo En Tus Manos Abiertas (I place in your open hands) in songs such as ‘A Cochabamba Me Voy’, ‘El Martillo’ and Movil Oil Special. They also joined Jara at the Primer Festival de la Nueva Cancion Chilena (First Festival of the New Chilean Song) where they jointly interpreted ‘Plegaria a un Labrador’ (Prayer to a Laborer) which ultimately won the festivals award. After three years Víctor Jara and Quilapayún assumed different paths and Eduardo Carrasco became the group's director.

They were forced into exile in France after the right-wing military coup of 1973. The group settled in the city of Colombes, France for more than a decade. Their major works include Santa María de Iquique (1970), an album of spoken history, songs, and instrumentals about a notorious massacre in the city of Iquique, and the song "El pueblo unido jamás será vencido" (Spanish: "The people, united, will never be defeated"), written by famed Chilean songwriter and playwright Sergio Ortega.

The group splits into two factions

Both Quilapayún and Inti-Illimani's recent paths have been marked by internal issues. Over the years historic members left the groups and others took their place. In the case of Quilapayún, the faction led by Rodolfo Parada and Patricio Wang continues to operate out of Paris, France and has released at least two albums since 1999. The remaining original members of the group reunited in 2003 forming the "historic" Quilapayún and have also released two albums since 2004. There continues to be pending litigation in the French courts regarding this issue, as both groups are claiming the name and legacy of Quilapayún. The Chile-based historic faction is celebrating the group's 40 year anniversary performing concerts in Chile, Latin America and Europe in coordination with the "historic" Inti-Illimani. The joint concerts have been advertised and promoted as Inti+Quila. The current "historic" lineup includes Eduardo Carrasco, Rubén Escudero, Ricardo Venegas, Guillermo García, Ismael Oddó (son of Guillermo "Willy" Oddó), Hugo Lagos, Hernán Gómez, Carlos Quezada and Sebastián Quezada (son of Carlos).

Group members


Studio albums

Live albums

  • Enregistrement public (1977)
  • Alentours (1980)
  • Quilapayún en Argentina (1983) (Live in Argentina)
  • Quilapayún en Argentina Vol II (1985) (Live in Argentina Vol. II)
  • Quilapayún en Chile (1989) (Live in Chile)
  • A Palau (2003)
  • El Reencuentro (2004)
  • Musica en la Memoria - Juntos en Chile (2005) (Inti-Illimani + Quilapayún together in Chile. Guests: Pancho Sazo, Los Bunkers, Mecânica Popular e Chancho en Piedra)


  • Quilapayún Chante Neruda (1983)
  • Antología 1968-1992 (1998)
  • La vida contra la muerte [Life against death] (2005)
  • La fuerza de la historia [The force of history] (2006)

References and other sources

  • Section: Historia / 1965-1970 / Los Orígenes of www.quilapayun.org 2006 (Spanish Language)
  • Section: Discografía de Quilapayún of www.trovadores.net 2006 (Spanish Language)

External links

Resources in Spanish

Resources in English

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