An international line-up of musicians celebrated Victor Jara’s groundbreaking album, LaPoblación – ‘The Neighbourhood’ – at the zoom event hosted by the El Sueño Existe festival. Artists as diverse as Chilean singer and songwriter Alejandro Reyes, who was a musical collaborator with Victor in the group Cuncumen, and one of Chile’s foremost contemporary folk bands, Los Hermanos Millar, joined forces with other Latin American and British musicians to re-interpret the songs made famous when the revolutionary album appeared in 1972. It traced the land seizure, birth and day-to-day struggles of the shanty town of Herminda de la Victoria, close to the capital, Santiago, and gave voice to the courageous, determined people who made it their home. Fifty years on Herminda is still thriving, and our presentation included specially recorded interviews with current pobladores, and film showing the historic trajectory of a proud community.
Among other musical contributions to the evening, indigenous Mapuche children sang a song from La Población under the guidance of renowned Chilean musicologist Nancy San Martín, and youngsters from the south London Latin American orchestra, ECCO, gave their take on another. There was a special message too from Amanda, Victor’s daughter from The Victor Jara Foundation in Chile, as we pay tribute to an album that was a unique musical achievement, and a social document that still resonates all too clearly today.
Watch a short video publicising the event here:
You can listen to the album, which Victor researched and wrote within the urban Community of Herminda de la Victoria, (Santiago) on Youtube here:
There will be camping, (open from Thursday 4th August) right next to the festival site + space for campervans, & local B&Bs, hotels, etc. Easy access by train via Shrewsbury (from the North, Midlands, London and South) Machynlleth train station is 10 mins walk / 2 mins taxi ride from the festival site & camping area.
To book your own accommodation for the festival weekend :
Machynlleth Tourist Information Centre : Canolfan Owain Glyndwr, Machynlleth, SY20 8EE SY20 8EE Tel: 01654 702401 Email: email@example.com
Staying in Aberystwyth is very possible, there are trains (35 mins) back and forth, including mornings leaving Aberystwyth at 08.29 and 09.29 and last train back leaves Machynlleth at 23.03
Accommodation in Aberystwyth : from Tourist Information 01970 612125
IF you would like to be a volunteer during the festival (you’ll get a free weekend ticket in return for several sessions / 8hrs volunteering before during and maybe after the weekend, helping to keep the whole show on the road) the application form is available to download – from the main menu. Or email via the contact tab.
Festival Programme 2022 : Our main themes will be El Salvador & Peace and Climate Justice
A full programme of fantastic music, informative political workshops, cultural workshops, dance, poetry, theatre, visual art, a full kids’ and family programme, Latin America foods and drinks, and a whole lot more!
Already booked to headline are the fabulous band ‘Lokandes’, and there’ll be plenty of great music on throughout the weekend.
Over 30 workshops, with a wide range of speakers, including Jeremy Corbyn, and the Peace & Justice Project.
Discussion workshops will be exploring grassroots communities in Latin America, and the struggles for peace and climate justice that affect us all. Speakers range from academics, journalists, artists, activists, film makers, poets, campaigners etc. bringing a huge wealth of experience and commitment to the festival. Among cultural workshops ‘Las Juanas’ will be performing a new piece ‘Grietas/Cracks, and Adam Feinstein will explore the work of the great modern Salvadorean poet, Roque Dalton, whilst a number of Chilean poets will share their work and reflections.
And rumour has it a new ‘statue’ of Christopher Columbus may meet a fitting end, curtesy of Infamous Community Arts (and a long rope….)
We are also delighted to have support from a number of campaign organisations, including Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Peace and Justice Project’ Justice Mexico Now!, Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign, Environmental Network for Central America, Alborada, Music for Hope, El Salvador Network etc.
We’ll welcome the Swansea based Salvadorean folk dancers, who will be showing us the campesino (peasant farmer) dances which have survived war and repression, and there’ll be the popular participation dance workshop sessions as well. Full programme of family activities for younger festival goers. Foods and drinks will be on hand, you will get to try authentic Salvadorean ‘pupusas’ – tasty maize griddle cakes, curtesy of Green Goat (Machynlleth) catering.
Visual artists bringing their unique view of Latin American realities to the festival include Gisella Stapleton, who designed the beautiful poster, Myra Barraza, an acclaimed artist from El Salvador now living near London, Valentina Montoya, one of the generation of Chilean exiles who have brought so much to their adopted home, + Infamous Community Arts collective.
If you are a previous or regular festival attender, we’ll look forward to welcoming you all to Machynlleth in August. IF you haven’t been to El Sueño Existe before, but are intrigued by a festival of Latin American music, cultures and politics, then book the dates NOW! And check out some of the videos you’ll find elsewhere on the website under “Past Events” (from 2005 through to our 2020 online festival).
If you would like your address added to our email ‘mailchimp’ list, to receive regular festival updates, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally two great quotes, first from Dr. Francisco Dominguez (Middlesex University) – a Chilean academic and activist:
“In all my many years as an activist in Britain, I have found that one of the most beautiful gestures of commitment with Latin America’s struggles is the El Sueño Existe Festival in the depths of marvellous West Wales. Organised to celebrate the worldview and music of Chilean singer, Victor Jara, to tell the world that his dream, our dream, of a better world goes on.The El Sueño Existe festival is cultural and political solidarity at its very best”
And from Jeremy Corbyn : “El Sueño Existe happens in Machynlleth, because people have the vision to bring together music, literature, poetry, dance, art and politics – and it is the vision of the kind of world we want to live in. The festival rings with the hope & the inspiration we get, not just from Victor Jara and Salvador Allende, but also from right across Latin America today.”