Chile, the skinny country that comprises much of Western South America, is one of the globe’s rising musical incubators. In the last two decades the country has seen an outpouring of musical creativity and production. In fact, Chile was the first international destination that the popular music festival Lollapalooza expanded to. This playlist showcases the diversity and vibrancy of Chile’s musical talent.
1. 1977 – Ana Tijoux – 2010
Born in Chile, raised in France, and finally back in her homeland, Ana Tijoux is one of Latin America’s most famous MC’s. Her album 1977 was both critically acclaimed and commercially successful, being nominated for both a Grammy Award as well as countless Chilean music awards. She is noted for her ability to cross genres and boundaries, including collaborations from artists all over the world.
2. Lluve Sobre La Ciudad – Los Bunkers – 2007
A Chilean musical icon, Los Bunkers are one of the most popular bands in Latin American history and were one of the first to bring American pop punk influences to South America. They have toured widely throughout both South and North America and remain a popular influence on rock music today.
3. Amarrame – Mon Laferte – 2017
Singer-songwriter, actress, political activitst, cancer surviver, Mon Laferte already has one of the most interesting and closely followed musical careers in Chile. In 2007 she overcame tyroid cancer to become one of the most popular and listened to Chilean musicians in the world. In 2019 she made political protests at both the Latin Grammy’s as well as in Santiago, statements that led to public outcry as well as threats of prosecution from the police. All at the same time, she continues to top the Chilean charts while also receiving the most Grammy’s by a Chilean artist in history.
4. Otra Era – Javiera Mena – 2014
One of the first Chilean indie pop artists to break through to global exposure, Javiera Mena uses a combination of electronic and synthesized sounds to create her unique music. She has released four studio albums and has toured through both Europe and North America.
5. Tormenta – Alex Anwandter – 2012
A tw-time Grammay Award nominee, Alex Anwandter was already an acclaimed singer-songwriter and video director before he began releasing solo music in 2010. Anwandter identifies as queer and his music reflects his personal sexuality, providing a voice often overlooked in Latin American music.
6. Ya No Se Trata De Ti – Francisca Valenzuela – 2020
Born in the United States to two Chilean scientists, Valenzuela moved back to Chile where she’s established a successful career as a singer-songwriter, pianist, fashion designer, poet and active feminist. Her music champions the autonomy and empowerment of women and even established a music festival Ruidosa to boost the visibility of female artists in Chile.
7. Con Los Pies Sobre La Tierra – Isabel Parra – 2014
The daughter of Chilean legend Violeta Parra, Isabel has carved out her own career in Chilean folk music with over a dozen studio albums and tours across South America and Europe. She is also known for her arrangements and intepretations of South American folk songs and folklore.
8. La Luna Siempre Es Muy Linda – Victor Jara – 1966
A Chilean hero not only for his music, but also for his heroic and ultimate martyrdom during the repressive dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Jara was outspoken against the Chilean dictatorship and would endure torture and eventual death at the hands of the dictatorship. His music has lived on both as emblems of Chilean freedom and protests, as well as a bedrock of Chilean modern folk music.
9. Klara – Chinoy – 2009
Known for his unique voice, poetic lyrics and poignant guitar work, Chinoy has been called Chile’s Bob Dylan as well as one of the biggest names in Chilean folk music. He has released two studio albums as well as releasing songs for television and movie soundtracks.
10. Quiero Bailar Contigo – Natalia Contesse – 2013
Another one of Chile’s great folk musicians, Contesse has released three studio albums and performed at musical festivals throughout Chile. She is also heavily involved in folk craft art education and spends time at schools and institutions of folk art around the country.
11. Free Fall – Melissa Aldana – 2010
One of the biggest Chilean names in jazz, Melissa Aldana has released five albums and acts as both a tenor saxophonist as well as jazz band leader.
12. Darte Luz – Francesca Ancarola – 2000
Ancarola’s music melds traditional Chilean folk with jazz influences and lyrics bent towards social change and justice. She is noted for her modern interpretations of the work of Victor Jara and has been nominated for multiple Altazor Awards.
13. Ya No Esperes Mas – Pascuela Ilabaca y Fauna – 2016
Chilean singer-songwriter Pascuela Ilabaca is known for her unique music that draws from influences from India, the Middle East and Africa. She often accompanies herself on both the accordian as well as the piano.
14. Hacerlo de Dia – Moral Distraida – 2016
Founded in 2010, Chilean band Moral Distraida draws from reggae, hip-hop and salsa to create a unique Latin American sound. They have released two studio albums and have a large instrumental cast to help the band create their layered sound.
15. No Te Creo – Andres Bucci and Gustavo Cerrati – 2003
Andres Bucci is one of the most famous DJ’s and music producers in Chile. He has released many solo albums as well as helped create and compile dozens of albums with other artists.
16. La Pajita – Javiera Parra – 2009
The granddaughter of Violeta Parra, Javiera is the lead singer and frontwoman of the band Javiera y Los Imposibles. She is the third generation of folk music legend Violeta Parra.
17. Serenata Cruel – Villa Carino – 2013
Alternative indie band Villa Carino is one of Chile’s most popular summer festival bands and are known for their unique reggae influenced sound.
18. Gracias a la Vida – Violeta Parra – 1966
One of the most covered songs in Latin American history. Gracias a la Vida has taken on mytical status among folk artists in Chile. An original composition of Violeta Parra. The song helped cement Chile’s folk scene as one of the world’s most hauntingly beautiful. Violeta Parra would go on to become one of Chile’s most globally famous musical icons as well as influential.
19. Mi casa en el arbor – Jorge Gonzalez – 1994
Frontman and singer-songwriter of Los Prisoneros, Jorge Gonzalez has been one of Chile’s most popular and famous rock stars for over three decades. Gonzalez also released solo music as his own and still remains widely popular.
20. Un Gran Vacio – Gepe – 2012
One of Chile’s most popular indie artists, Gepe mixes traditional folk and Andean sounds with modern instrumentals and indie pop production. His performances are high energy and often feature dancers with traditional folk dances. He has toured in both the United States as well as Chile and has played at some of the largest music festivals in the world.
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