Carlos Arredondo, Carlos, Arredondo, Chile, Scotland, music, poetry, culture, Latin America  


Mi historia personal irremediablemente se entrelaza con la reciente historia política y cultural de Chile de los últimos cincuenta años: la época de la Democracia Cristiana en el poder, la época de Allende, los refugiados políticos que produjo la dictadura de Pinochet. Muchos refugiados chilenos llegaron a Escocia entre los últimos dos meses de 1974 y yo, fui uno de los primeros en llegar a Glasgow desde Londres, en un bus y junto a un grupo de hombres, mujeres y niños. Después de esta fecha continuaron llegando chilenos. Llegaba de todo. Gente que había sido detenida y torturada y otras, como yo, llegado por ayuda de la ACNUR de países limítrofes con Chile como el Perú y Argentina. Caras tristes e incertidumbre marcaron esas vidas nuestras en esos momentos muy especiales. Algunos refugiados llegaron para perderse en el silencio del exilio, sus dramas, sus estudios, sus trabajos domésticos y sus pensamientos y muchos llegaron para estudiar, trabajar, pensar en sus dramas y hacer solidaridad con nuestro pueblo. Yo fui uno de ellos. No tuve dramas en Chile pero por ningún motivo, en mi estado de refugiado, estuve ausente del trabajo solidario con Chile en Escocia y lo hice con lo que podía hacer. Con música: mi guitarra Tizona, mi voz, mis canciones, las de Violeta Parra, Víctor Jara, Patricio Manns, el folclore chileno y latinoamericano.

I am a singer/songwriter/musician.
I am a self-taught musician and singer. I play Spanish guitar, Bolivian Charango, Venezuelan Cuatro, Colombian Triple and a bit of Bolivian Quena. I have written about 50 songs. I have been singing in Scotland for more than 30 years, becoming perhaps the oldest Latin-American performer in Scotland. I perform in two ways: by invitation (that is when I am invited to give a proper concert or when I am invited to play and sing as a participant of a cultural or a political event) or when I decide to organise my own concert.). I always sing in Spanish.

Influencias musicales
My music and style have been inspired by the great Chilean folklorists, Violeta Parra, Victor Jara and by the "New Song" movement of the Americas of the 60s and 70s. My music also has been shaped by important events in recent Chilean history: The Presidency of Salvador Allende (1970-1973) and the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990). As I have been exposed to the Scottish folk Scene I have also been influenced by Scotland musical culture.

"Arredondo has the kind of voice that could chant the Santiago telephone directory and still tug the listener". Alastair Clark, The Scotsman.

I promote other peoples' music

  • The songs and music of Chileans songwriters Violeta Parra, Victor Jara, Patricio Manns, and of the Chilean band Inti-illimani have always been part of my repertoire. I also sung songs by Argentinean Atahualpa Yupanqui, Leon Gieco, Mercedes Sosa, and a few songs by Cuban Silvio Rodriguez. I also sing Chilean traditional songs and from the Latin American repertoire. Also sing songs from what we call in Chile "El repertorio popular" ("the "Popular Repertoire") : boleros, tangos, Peruvian waltzes, and love songs.
  • I always encouraged my good friend, the Chilean classical guitarist Galo Ceron to play in cultural events organised by me to play the music of Latin-American composers such as Heitor Villalobos, Aztor Piazzolla, Manuel Ponce, Agustin Barrio, Antonio Lauro, Leo brower, Alberto Ginastera.
  • I have always encouraged to have in my cultural activities, Scottish musicians and singers. I have performed all over Scotland, in Britain and abroad - in Chile, Peru, Canada, Italy and Sweden. I have performed many times in live shows for BBC radio ("Travelling Folk", "The Usual Suspects", Burns Supper celebrations, etc.). In December 2003 I feature for a half hour BBC radio programme called The World on our Streets".

Carlos music making in Chile
Melodies come to my ears naturally and since early days I began to write songs and to dream of singing in a band. With Ivan, Perico and José we formed "Los Eclipses": we used to have false wood instruments and none of us played any instruments. In 1967 I went to work at Tizona, a guitar factory based in my neighbourhood and soon I began to learn to play the guitar. I was very happy. Tizona used to sponsor a well known radio programme called "Chaparron" presented by a nice spectacled man called Juan La Rivera. Tizona's, owner Don Leonardo Rodriguez Dummont , asked Juanito to have me in his programme. He accepted it. My friends on the barrio listened to "Chaparron" and congratulated me for my performance. One listener girl heard me singing on the radio and wrote to me saying that she had enjoyed my songs and asked me to put music to some lyrics she had written. It seemed that she was an argentine girl living in the Chilean port of San Antonio. I kept her letter. I wanted to register and record my song and Juanito kindly asked Valentin Trujillo, a famous Chilean pianist and orchestra director, to help this" Tizona worker" consisting in putting my songs into notations. Don Valentin responded positively to Juanito's request. In my neighbourhood people knew my songs and neither could I, my friends, Don Leonardo, Juanito la Rivera or Valentin Trujillo imagine that one day I was going to be singing and playing in Scotland and other places.

Carlos music making in Glasgow, The Chilean Folk Group (1974-1978)
When I arrived in Glasgow at the end of 1974 I immediately was asked by the Chileans exile community to form a Chilean Folk Group to do Solidarity work. "It is very important" I was told. I formed the group with Hugo Alvarez from the Chiloe Island in the deep south of Chile and Tulio Bravo a dentist student from Talca. It was the first group of exiles in Britain doing music for a very specific reason and on this capacity we were playing all over the country from London to Liverpool, from Dundee to Edinburgh via Glasgow, Cumbernauld, Renfrew and East Kilbride. At East Kilbride we played for the workers of the Roll Royce factory who in 1975 were doing a fantastic solidarity work with the People of Chile by not repairing war airplane' s engines belonging to the Chilean Air Force. See The Chilean Folk Group's gallery showing photographs, poster, leaflets, some of the performances carried out by the group and the repertoire we had.

Carlos music making in Edinburgh, The Manuel Rodriguez group (1978 onwards)
When I arrived in Edinburgh there were already a vibrant community of exiles and among them dancers, singers and musicians performing in Edinburgh (The Figueroa sisters, Gabriel, Angelica and others) I formed a group with Zunilda, Ramiro, Gabriel, and Giovanna, We called our group Manuel Rodriguez and together we did a lot of solidarity work in Scotland and England in the area of Newcastle and Durham. Teresa was our magnificent driver and was she who used to take us to our destinations in her own car and with lots of instruments. Teresa was from Treviso in Italy. One member of our group, Gabriel, built his own charango. We enjoyed ourselves very much.
See Manuel Rodriguez Gallery. When the Manuel Rodriguez group disbanded I began to sing alone and I did it for a long time. In the 80s I began to play music with the Chilean guitarist Galo Ceron.

  Carlos Arredondo, Carlos, Arredondo, Chile, Scotland, music, poetry, culture, Latin America