Chilean New Song (la Nueva Canción chilena) entranced and uplifted a country that struggled for social change during the turbulent 1960s and early 1970s, until the 1973 coup that overthrew democratic socialist president Salvador Allende. This powerful musical style—with its poetic lyrics and haunting blend of traditional indigenous wind and stringed instruments—was born of and expressed the aspirations of rising classes. It promised a socially just future as it forged social bonding.
In Chilean New Song, J. Patrice McSherry deftly combines a political-historical view of Chile with a narrative of its cultural development. She examines the democratizing power of this music and, through interviews with key protagonists, the social roles of politically committed artists who participated in a movement for change. McSherry explores the impact of Chilean New Song and the way this artistic/cultural phenomenon related to contemporary politics to capture the passion, pain, and hope of millions of Chileans.