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What music means to those that had been blinded within the 2019 mass protests in Chile : NPR

Music has introduced solace and companionship for a few of those that had been blinded within the 2019 mass protests in Chile.


To a different story now in Chile. That is a rustic engulfed by violent anti-government protests in 2019. To manage crowds, the police fought again with tear fuel and shotguns. Greater than 30 folks had been killed. About 450 protesters had been partially blinded with shotgun pellets. NPR’s John Otis caught up with a number of of those victims who’re coping via music.

JOHN OTIS, BYLINE: At a recording studio in Santiago, the Chilean capital, musicians are noodling on guitars and adjusting the drum package.


OTIS: All 10 members of the band sustained critical eye accidents throughout the 2019 protests. Certainly, almost all their songs replicate their ache and frustration at what occurred.


HACIA LA VICTORIA: (Singing in Spanish).

OTIS: They actually have a tune known as “Asi Fue” – Spanish for that is what occurred. It was written by guitarist Sergio Concha, who was hit within the left eye with shotgun pellets.

SERGIO CONCHA: (Talking Spanish).

OTIS: He says taking part in the tune transports him again to the protests, as hospital docs patched his eye and all of Chile appeared like a struggle zone. The band’s rhythmic and emotional basis is drummer Gustavo Gatica.

GUSTAVO GATICA: (Enjoying drums).

OTIS: Gatica was finding out psychology at a Santiago college when protesters first hit the streets. He supported their calls for for jobs, well being care and schooling, so he joined them.


OTIS: Throughout one of many marches, Gatica was hit within the face with shotgun pellets. Regardless of a number of operations, he was left completely blind. Somewhat than denouncing police brutality, some Chileans known as Gatica and different injured protesters troublemakers who received what they deserved.

GATICA: (Talking Spanish).

OTIS: Many fell into melancholy, Gatica says, together with one protester who final 12 months dedicated suicide. So he says it is actually essential to have a circle of assist. To take out his personal frustrations, Gatica took up drumming.

GATICA: (Talking Spanish).

OTIS: Gatica quickly realized that quite a few protesters with eye accidents had been additionally musicians. Just a few months in the past, a bunch of them, together with Gatica, fashioned a band known as Hacia la Victoria. That is Spanish for onward in the direction of victory.


HACIA LA VICTORIA: (Singing in Spanish).

OTIS: Andres Lopez, a filmmaker by day, is likely one of the band’s vocalists. With most individuals, he finds it awkward to speak in regards to the shotgun pellet that left him blind in his proper eye. However together with his bandmates, he can open up.

So the band is like remedy.

ANDRES LOPEZ: For me, yeah. With these guys, it’s totally simple as a result of their respect, the tolerance.

OTIS: That tolerance extends to their divergent musical tastes, starting from rap to reggae to ballads.

LOPEZ: My music fashion is hardcore punk. I’m a singer in one other band – (vocalizing) – quite a lot of scream. However on this one, this – (vocalizing) – is gorgeous, yeah?


OTIS: The band is performing each week and has recorded just a few songs, however its members are most happy with the truth that their protests helped to vary Chile. For one factor, the nation now has a left-wing authorities addressing a few of their calls for.

GATICA: (Talking Spanish).

OTIS: Gatica, the drummer, calls this an essential first step. However there have additionally been disappointments. A progressive new draft structure strongly supported by the protest motion was overwhelmingly rejected by Chilean voters.


HACIA LA VICTORIA: (Singing in Spanish).

OTIS: That is why, regardless of their accidents, the band members insist they are going to stay lively on the streets and on stage. John Otis, NPR Information, Santiago, Chile.

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NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content might not be in its ultimate type and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability could range. The authoritative report of NPR’s programming is the audio report.



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