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Remembrance Day: 47 songs that talk about the dictatorship


47 years after the 1976 coup, a selection of songs that recount the horror of the Military Process. Many had been censored.

This year marks four decades since the return of democracy to Argentina, and also 47 years since the start of the fierce dictatorship of 1976. As León Gieco says, everything is stored in memory, but also in



In addition to the art of creating, music is, at least for Argentina, a review of its history.

Because, in the darkest times of the country, those different sound combinations became a

refuge to escape the horror

of the military dictatorship.

On March 24, 1976, when the coup silenced culture and the innocent became the guilty,

artists began to raise their voices

 to amplify the reasons of the people.

The journalist Alfredo Rosso made it clear, who once said that the history of the last 50 years could be reconstructed with the songs of

Charly García


Not just Charlie

Although Carlos Alberto García Moreno, a survivor of all eras,

was not the only one who dared to challenge power

through his melodies: there were several musicians who chose to express their repudiation during the Process.

Thus, they became victims, not only of censorship, but also of torture for being considered subversives.

That same year, 


, born in the Italian town of Gallipoli and living in Buenos Aires since he was a child, had to follow in the footsteps of Billy Bond and Moris and

go into exile abroad

after the regime tried to kidnap him.

His life in Spain took him so far away from compositions that, until his return in 1981, he stopped producing and dedicated himself to the field.

Litto Nebbia and Mercedes Sosa

"They say that traveling strengthens the heart, because walking new paths will make you forget the previous one," wrote

Litto Nebbia

, one of the founders of Argentine rock, shortly before leaving for Mexico.

The exodus of artists increased in 1977 and 1978, when personalities such as

León Gieco, Gustavo Santaolalla and Miguel Cantilo

, among others, had to leave.

In October 1978, while

Mercedes Sosa

sang in La Plata, a group of police evicted all the attendees of the Almacén San José and took La Negra away.

"The repertoire included protest songs," justified the military.

Those 18 hours in detention and the subsequent pressure dragged the Tucuman singer-songwriter into exile in 1979.

Mercedes Sosa, one of the resisters.

Two years before the Military Junta established its regime, Charly García and Nito Mestre already perceived closely the terror that would come later.

In that 1974, together with Ronaldo Rafanelli and Juan Rodríguez, Sui Generis released their third studio album.

It was not easy for that quartet.

The disc had to undergo some modifications

to be able to come out.

Thus, the name


was changed to

Little Anecdotes about Institutions

, and topics such as

Institutions, The Incredible Adventures of Mr. Scissors, Background music for any lively party


For Whom I Sing Then

had to be modified.

Crazy Boots




, two titles from that production, had a darker fate awaiting them:

they were eliminated and replaced by others


"If they are the homeland, I am a foreigner," García brandished, like a rallying cry, while he described the injustices of the colimba and the greed of Triple A.

These last two songs are part of the 47 that


chose to reflect the darkness of the time, 47 years after the last Argentine civic-military coup.

The cry of "Repression"

Los Violadores

was another of the bands that ignored the possible consequences and chose not to keep quiet.

One of their first shows came in 1981, a few months after their irruption: they were part of a cycle at the University of Belgrano.

"Repression around your house, repression at the kiosk on the corner", sang Pil Trafa.

And everything exploded: the recital ended with 200 people imprisoned and the band with a legal case.

"We got into the dressing room, the police arrived and beat us.

They said they were going to make us disappear

," the remembered singer once recounted in the documentary

Rompan todo


At that time, Pil, a punk icon,

was arguing with Federico Moura about the way in which to express himself


"There are a thousand ways of saying things. If you say 'repression' and then they don't record you...", suggested the leader of Virus during a talk for Expreso Imaginario magazine.

"There are already groups that say it subtly. Instead of saying 'repression' they say 'the monkey that comes down from the tree in the zoo and blah'", he retorted.

Stuka and Pil (Los Violadores) amuse Julio and Federico Moura.

The history of Virus was crossed by other issues


Jorge, the oldest of the Mouras, was a musician just like Federico, Marcelo and Julio.

But, while his brothers chose to form a band together with Mario Serra and Enrique Mugetti, El Flaco chose to join the Workers' Revolutionary Party (PRT-ERP).

The ambassadors of the new wave style in Argentina had its premiere in 1980 and in 1977 they had already experienced the worst: 

a task force from the dictatorship kidnapped Jorge from his home in City Bell

, where his parents lived.

Marcelo, who was just 16, lived that sequence up close.

"Brother, I want to squeeze your hand. We know that they have separated us," the group composed in 1983, when democracy was beginning to appear.

A year earlier, the Mouras and company were encouraged to confront the dictatorship: on May 16, 1982,

they refused to attend the Latin American Solidarity Festival

, promoted by Leopoldo Galtieri in the midst of the Malvinas war.

Then they published

The Banquet

, a melody whose stanzas refer to that war with Great Britain.

"They have sacrificed young calves to prepare an official dinner," reads the letter.

Los Twist followed that same line

on their first album


"I thought they were blind, the six wore black glasses," described Pipo Cipolatti.

Others, like Charly García, chose not to embrace any euphemism.

"The murderer murders you," he

exclaimed in the

Song of Alice in the Country

with Serú Girán.

His days in Sui Generis or The Bird Making Machine were behind him, but the fight didn't change.

Not everything happened at the time of the Process: much later, various artists were encouraged to recount the horror of which they were victims and that they had to keep quiet for years.

"Today they summon you to the Plaza and tomorrow they give it to you",

slides the hit that

Miguel Mateos

, leader of Zas, wrote in 1982 and saw the light a year later.

The cases are countless.

It is enough to observe the repertoires of the mentioned artists to understand it.

Although not everything goes through them.

There are many more who, with their style and poetry, have left their mark on Argentine music and history.

"Memory awakens to hurt the sleeping towns that do not let it live as free as the wind", sings León Gieco.

Music is also memory



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Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-03-24

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