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Inti-Illimani: one has become two

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GUEST,keberoxu 25 Oct 15 - 08:29 PM
Joe Offer 26 Oct 15 - 03:15 AM
ChanteyLass 26 Oct 15 - 09:43 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 29 Oct 15 - 06:08 PM
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Subject: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 25 Oct 15 - 08:29 PM

The triumphal and emotional return of Inti-Illimani to their native Chile, after some fifteen years in exile, had not escaped my notice. The group of college graduates (in engineering, largely) who played Andean folk instruments, and combined their own compositions with those of Nueva Cancion artists and songwriters, came to my attention through a recording with no singing. Their instrumental album, "Imaginacion/Imagination," went places that their lyrics were not permitted to enter, and so I heard their infectious instrumental sound which spoke for itself. When I acquired my own copy -- a cassette tape, it was -- of the album, I could not fail to observe that it was recorded in exile, in a Rome studio.

I took to Internet search engines to look for updates on the group since their return to South America. What I found did not surprise me really, but made me very sad.

It is over forty years since the student days when this band first formed. And, in the years between 1999 and 2010, long-contained tensions and misunderstandings within the group of musicians caused a permanent rupture.

Today there are two groups. One calls itself "Inti Illimani Historico," and here one may find the white-haired charango player Horacio Duran, the passionate vocalist Jose Seves, and the longtime music director/guitarist/composer Horacio Salinas. Three younger musicians are part of their present ensemble. The association years ago with classical guitarist John Williams continues here, as Williams has fairly recently recorded an arrangement of Salinas' dance music, for which Horacio Duran provided his indispensable charango.

"Inti Illimani" is the name used by the brothers Coulon, longtime members of the band through the years in exile. These two older men have continued with one other old-timer -- sorry, I don't recall his name -- and Jorge Coulon is the mouthpiece for this group, which has also brought in younger musicians.

Each band has its own website, its own Facebook page, and its own management. Each band performs in its native Chile, and makes appearances abroad; for example, Inti Illimani Historico completed a European tour this year. Both bands have separately performed in the United States.

The legal dispute between the two groups rose to such a pitch, in the years 2000's, that an arbitrator had to be appointed to mediate their differences, and to determine who would use what name and how the royalties were to be distributed, amongst other things.

Jorge Coulon is polite but firm with journalists who, in interviews, want to draw him out about the rupture within what was formally one band. Now, my Spanish is pretty lousy, but I understood Coulon to say to one such reporter, "The discussion is a matter for the attorneys now, and I am not going to say anything about the statements that the attorneys have released to the press."

Horacio Salinas, however, has published a book of memoirs. The title is "El Cancion en el Sombrero" and it is published and distributed by a Chilean publisher (Catalonia, I think, is the name). In the book, and in interviews, Salinas observes that there was "una disinteligencia muy grande," a very great misunderstanding. Much of the tension seems to have been between the director (Salinas) and the brothers Coulon, but I have not studied the story in depth.

Compact-disc albums are now available from each of these two groups, using the names as given above. Of course their large back-catalog has not gone away either. it seems unlikely, however, that a permanent reunion/reconciliation could occur, rather that the two bands will continue their separate careers.

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Subject: ADD: Canción a Victor (Inti-Illimani)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Oct 15 - 03:15 AM

I first heard of Inti-Illimani during the last year, when I was researching songs for the Rise Again Songbook. We included their "Canción a Victor," a fitting tribute to Victor Jara.

Canción a Víctor
(Jorge Coulón, Horacio Salinas)

Trigo y maíz era tu voz, mano de sembrador
Alma de cobre, pan y carbón, hijo del tiempo y del sol (2x)

Tu canto fue flor de metal, grito de multitud
Arma en el puño trabajador, viento del norte y del sur...

Caíste allí junto a otros mil cuando nació el dolor
Hoz y martillo tu corazón, rojo de vida se abrió...

El pueblo así te regará en su jardín de luz
Serás clarín de lucha y amor ¡Canto de Chile serás!...

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 26 Oct 15 - 09:43 PM

I first heard of, and then heard, Inti-Illimani when they toured with Holly Near. A friend and I saw them in Boston. I am delighted to read that they have been able to return to their homeland, and this is the first I've heard of that.

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 29 Oct 15 - 06:08 PM

If I have got this wrong, somebody please correct me and set the matter straight.

I believe that the exile of the Inti-Illimani band ended just before the year 1990, so that was the triumphal return. In other words, the exile ended quite some time ago.

According to an interview with Horacio Salinas (for those who are punctilious about such nomenclature, his full name is given as Horacio Salinas Alvarez, that I understand to mean 'Horacio, whose father is a Salinas and whose mother's maiden name is Alvarez'), discussions within the group were still courteous, although intense, around the years 1998 - 1999. Mr. Salinas quotes Jorge Coulon, from whom Salinas' own group split away, as proposing, in Chilean vernacular:

"Si nos vamos a agarrar aqui de las mechas, cerremos el boliche."

Again, please correct me, but I understand this to mean:
"If we are going to....blow a fuse? pull the trigger? ....then we ought to close the premises down."      

Salinas states that at the time, his own suggestion was for the group to take a sabbatical, because for thirty years straight Inti-Illimani could not afford to do any such thing, and never had done; the group had just worked and worked, kept on going, and never had a rest or a break from each other. Salinas says he had the idea that the members could now afford to have some time away from each other, to cool things down, and then maybe they could come back together refreshed and ready to work together amicably without any crisis.   

The year-date on which more than one online source agrees, is 2004. Specifically, in that year there positively existed two different bands, both with the intention of using the same name, and ready to go to court in order to contest and dispute.

If I read correctly, the arbitration, which is said to have concluded in 2007, specified that the band led by Salinas, composer of much of the music in the back catalog, ought to call itself "Inti Illimani Historico." If this is correct, then Salinas, Seves, Duran, and their younger bandmates (one of whom, Camilo Salinas, appears to be the adult son of Horacio Salinas), are in compliance with the arbitrator's ruling. On the other hand, it appears that the band led by the brothers Coulon is the band which found the arbitrator's ruling unacceptable, which ruling specified that the brothers Coulon could call themselves and their band "Inti Illimani Nuevo." Jorge Coulon is one of the 1967 founders (his brother entered the group in a later year) so he has an emotional investment, not to speak of interests of other sorts, in Inti Illimani as an entity with a history of several decades.

It all reads somewhat like a family feud. Those things rarely have fairy-tale "happy endings," have they?

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 30 Oct 15 - 12:56 PM

This post is an attempt to offer a link to the Horacio Salinas interview quoted previously, en espanol.

This is not going well. What does cut and paste mean? I'm too old for word processing....went to school in the era BC, Before Computers.

Let me offer you all this.

(whew. sorry)

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 01 Nov 15 - 11:50 AM

From the website, which appears to be based in Madrid, Spain, comes the Spanish-language source for my quotes which follow, translated (all my fault if there are errors) in English.

The date is 2008, and the interview subject is Horacio Duran, the charango player of long standing for Inti-Illimani.

Journalist: You decided in 2004 to leave the brothers Coulon, and their "Inti-Illimani," and to join [Horacio] Salinas and [Jose] Seves in another "Inti".....

Duran: If I see it from the aspect of touring, which is a totally demanding job, since today we are here in Madrid, yesterday we arrived in Amsterdam, the day before that we were in Sweden, so it is very hard intense work doing these tours. Thus, in order that this "machine" called group should function, you have to have a great musical rapport and understanding, which is what happens for me. In reality, I recognize, and the "muchachos" know it, that I began to have rather great misgivings in the 1990's, and by the end of that decade I already wanted us to end because....I don't know....there were problems, discrepancies, because of which we no longer had the satisfaction as musicians which we had once. In those days, it was still Salinas, Seves, me, and the two Coulon brothers; and the other group members were, more than anything, musicians permanently invited to join the rest of us, but amongst the members of long-standing, things did not function any more.

Journalist: For this reason Horacio Salinas and Jose Seves left the main group then?

Duran: Jose [Seves] left a little because of this, but more because he was no longer satisfied with the system of working, and even more because he had no musical satisfaction. The group was in a kind of crisis, a crisis rather generalized throughout us all, and we did not succeed in managing it, and if you add to all this the fact the musical dissatisfactions, this produces a grave problem as a result.
What happens to me [now] is that, in spite of how difficult is this work, every time we go on stage, I go on happy to give of my very best, because it delights me to play with Horacio [Salinas] and Jose [Seves] and with these youngsters who accompany us in the group, which was not the case with me in the years 2000 - 2004 when I was a member of what is known today as "Inti Illimani Nuevo" [without Salinas and Seves, with Jorge and Marcelo Coulon].

Journalist: It is said by many that all this was provoked in February 2004, by the success in [a performance at] Vina Del Mar.

Duran: Look, there is nothing more misleading than success: it is a soap bubble, a fireworks display, it shows up for a moment and then it fades away and "chao!" The only thing that remains for you, is what you do yourself. But these are things that unite artists. Success is diabolical; if you believe in your own success, as an artist you are "frito" [FRIED !] . One has to believe in what one is doing, whether one has or does not have success doing it. But, in July or August of 2003 already, some six or seven months before the show at Vina, I communicated that I was going to retire from the group. But I made that decision internally almost at the beginning [of the crisis], when Horacio Salinas walked out, in a form very unpleasant and abrupt following a quarrel. Jose [Seves] had left before, and had returned to the group, and then it was his turn to leave again. And I continued [with the Coulon brothers] out of inertia, and the necessity not to add to the carnage, because it would have been very unpleasant if all three of us had broken away at once. Perhaps it would have been better to have one big break-up with the three of us, because Horacio, Jose, and I, equally all three of us wanted to go on playing in some other way together; but we never spoke of it, the three of us, amongst each other at the time, but these things were in our souls.

And in reality what I wanted was to get out. In reality I was dissatisfied, not because the "muchachos" in "Inti Illimani Nuevo" were bad musicians or anything, since technically they all function well; but because "no me calentaba" [they left me cold, I did not warm to the new ensemble]. I give you an example: playing our song "Campanitas Mis Llamitas," we went to play it one time, but it was like mixing oil with water. There was no emotional rapport. Something happened and it didn't function, then from that point of view I did not enjoy it. Not at all. And so that is what made me decide, "I am not going to continue, because this leaves me cold" [no me calienta].

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 01 Nov 15 - 02:49 PM

Before resuming the above interview-translation in this fresh post, some additional facts.

Before 1970, the Inti-Illimani line-up included Ernesto Perez de Arce, from Chile, and Max Berru, from Ecuador; Jorge Coulon was a member, but not yet his brother Marcelo.

Perez de Arce dropped out shortly before Inti-Illimani went to Europe, that is to say, shortly before the coup which stranded the band away from South America.

Marcelo Coulon did not join Inti-Illimani until they had been in exile for several years, in Western Europe; he replaced someone whose name I can't remember, who decided to leave the group.

Max Berru continued with Inti-Illimani until 1997. By then the Chile government had been transformed, and the exiles were permitted to return from Europe; Berru's departure was amicable, and a farewell concert punctuated his retirement.

A year later, Jose Seves left Inti-Illimani.   

With the year 2000, the greatly increased demand for Inti-Illimani and their recordings, prompted the re-release of some of the earliest recordings in their back-catalogue. This in turn led to the realization of reunion-style performances. For these, Inti-Illimani dressed in the red ponchos of their leftist youth, which can be seen on at least one of their early album cover photos. The performances brought back, just for the purpose of reunion, Ernesto Perez de Arce and Max Berru. Jose Seves returned for the performances, then rejoined the group.

2001 was the year that Horacio Salinas walked out, never to return; he was immediately replaced with a newer, younger musical director.

Jose Seves left, for the second and final time, in 2002.

"Vina del Mar" was a festival that took place in 2004, after which Horacio Duran quietly took his leave of Inti-Illimani.

And here I resume my rough English translation of Horacio Duran's interview in Spanish, at www., in 2008.   

Duran: ....I told the others that, No, we cannot deny those of us who really are Inti-Illimani, very specific persons such as Max Berru, the Coulon brothers, Salinas, Seves, and myself. In truth, I have always said this one thing, that I have never recognized in Marcelo Coulon someone who made any musical decisions in the band. Formally he is part of the group and we worked together on many recordings....I identify five individuals, amongst them the determining presence of a former member, this was Ernesto Perez de Arce, because he played a fundamental role in creating the musical style of this group.

....It is true that we three no longer wanted to work with him [Jorge Coulon], it was a time of tension, we concluded that it would not be possible. He is very close to his brother, and in reality the dividing line formed in 2001, owing to the rest of us wanting Marcelo Coulon to leave, and there started this "if he goes, I go," and that produced the rupture. The three of us have said from the beginning: here are two groups, we ought to share our name in some manner...

Journalist: But Jorge Coulon, from what can be seen, does not agree...

Duran: No, no way. Up to the present day he says that our group is fake, and in reality this is a "porfia" on his part which has no sense, and I greatly regret that he gets himself stuck in so obtuse a position. Me, I believe that [Jorge Coulon] is just as much Inti-Illimani as I, Horacio Salinas, Jose Seves, and Max Berru....for him [Jorge Coulon] to go on with this obsession that the only "Inti" is HIS "Inti," and besides there is this web page that speaks super badly [literally, "super mal"] about us, this is absurd, because we want to share the mark of the group.

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Nov 15 - 04:41 PM

"We have been in litigation since 2001, and the truth is that they are in open rebellion. I don't know how it will end. There was no manner for us to reach an accord, and the courts had to resolve the matter."

This quote is from a 2010 interview with Horacio Salinas, after "Inti-Illimani Historico" had released the compact-disc album "Travesuras" and was performing in support of the new release.

I find the words "open rebellion" give me food for thought. In interviews of an earlier date, closer to the 2001 crisis in which Salinas angrily walked away from the group -- and from the brothers Coulon in particular -- the language is more neutral, more cautious, at least on the part of Salinas. As if, earlier on, he feared giving offense; and by 2010 he can speak somewhat more of his opinion.

By "they," it is safe to presume that Salinas meant not just "Inti-Illimani [Nuevo]" in general, but Jorge and Marcelo Coulon in particular. This is the first time, granted that I have missed I don't know how many interviews, that the word "Rebellion" is used, which implies authority as well as conflict -- so that this is something beyond a difference of opinion.

In 1997, Max Berru (Ecuador) left amicably.
A short time later, so did Jose Seves, who was to come back in 2000 and then leave a second time.
Horacio Salinas left once and for all, with much rancor and bitterness, in 2001.
Horacio Duran quietly left in 2004.

These are four of the six core members of the band whilst in exile; while other musicians (notably Renato Freygangg and Jorge Ball) came and went, these six were constant during fifteen years away from Chile. It gives one something to think about, that Jorge Coulon and his brother keep stubbornly (that word "porfia") to one position in the group, and their four comrades from the exile years leave the group rather than continue with them.

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: keberoxu
Date: 05 Nov 15 - 07:11 PM

Max Berru, one of the founders and longer-lasting members of Inti-Illimani, is also one of those members who came from the ranks of UTE students: UTE stands for the Spanish name for the Chilean university (Santiago?) where the engineering students ran a folk club. From the engineering student body came Max Berru, Horacio Duran, and the Coulon brothers.

In one sense, Horacio Salinas was the odd one out in the beginning, because his background was entirely music; he was, as he has said, just out of the "liceo" and younger than the university engineering students, the youngest of the group at that point. Because of his credentials he became the "maestro de musica," the musical director, shortly after joining the group. This is so early on that I am not certain they had yet taken the name "Inti-Illimani," a name suggested by a Bolivian musician who was not actually a group member.

All these years later, after the rupture, the court arbitration, and the disgreements back and forth, the bonds of long-standing between the long-term musicians, members or former members, still exercise their attraction. This was clear when UTE's webpages published an interview online with Max Berru, from which I excerpt the following paraphrases (the original is in Spanish).

Berru, who sang and played guitar, and the charango player Duran remain friends. With Duran in particular, Berru has remarked, it is as though the past is still alive and current. Berru has remained on speaking terms with the Coulon brothers, although he had left Inti-Illimani before the dispute and would not take sides. He recalls, in the interview, that during the years in exile he almost lost his job. It was the early 1980's, in Europe, and there was tension between Horacio Salinas and Marcelo Coulon; Berru sided with Coulon, to which Salinas responded with the desire to throw out BOTH Coulon and Berru, and the tension continued for some time. "We had families with young children to think of," says Berru, adding that the conflict made life unpleasant for the families as well as the musicians themselves.

It was distressing for Berru to watch, after his retirement from the band, when the Coulon brothers and Salinas faced each other down in the legal disputes. Although Berru remains emotional about his part in the group and about his relationships, he managed to retire from the group in an amicable way, so that in each of the two existing groups he maintains long-sustained friendships.

Berru has behaved with some shrewdness in the aftermath of the legal arbitration. He still has close friends back in Italy, the country that made Inti-Illimani at home when they could not return to Chile; indeed, Berru periodically makes music with these friends even though they are an ocean apart. They prepared a concert program which they toured with, and eventually recorded in a studio. It is titled, "Concierto INTImo." Berru is the only INTI alumnus in the lineup. No one has served him with papers or threatened to shut down his engagements. In the meantime he has settled in Chile, rather than his native Ecuador, and has recently rejoiced in the birth of two grandchildren (photos on his Facebook page).

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: keberoxu
Date: 06 Nov 15 - 12:42 PM

A blog from Chile relates the experience (author: Franco Salinas) of attending an unusual concert in 2007, in late September. (Written in Spanish of course.)

The focal point of the concert, put together as a sort of tribute/reunion/birthday celebartion, is that Inti-Illimani had been founded in 1967, forty years earlier.

Conspicuous by their absence are Horacio Duran (charango), one of the earliest co-founders; Jose Seves (voice, guitar), who joined later; and Horacio Salinas (guitar) who joined in 1967 when he was young and somewhat inexperienced still. These three by now have formed "Inti-Illimani Historico," conforming to the decision arrived at through arbitration in the courts.

At one point in this 2007 evening, Jorge Coulon is joined onstage by: Altamirano, whose first name I have already misplaced; Ernesto Perez de Arce, clarinet and "quena" player, whose brief tenure did much to shape the Inti's musical discipline as a group: and Max Berru, to whom Coulon said goodbye when Berru left Inti-Illimani, amicably, in 1997. Together the four musicians perform a song from the revolution in Mexico ("Nuestro Mexico"). And there is much laughter, according to Franco Salinas, as the four men present themselves as:
"Inti- Illimani Pre-Historico."

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Nov 15 - 02:03 PM

This is very interesting stuff, keberoxu. I don't have anything to add, but I've learned a lot from what you've posted.

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: keberoxu
Date: 09 Nov 15 - 12:57 PM

Can't resist peeking at Wikipedia, if only for what is volunteered for charango player Horacio Duran (in Spanish as usual). Duran was one of those engineering students; regardless of which, he came from a highly artistic/musical household. He had already studied the violin, and would say, looking back, "I don't know por que mierda I picked up the charango, but I did for all that."

It seems his exit from Inti-Illimani had its rough edge. In conversation with those who remained, Duran blurted out at some point that Salinas was the one for him, musically; which did not please the Coulons. Meantime he was moving house, leaving the big city for one of the islands, of which Chile has several. Duran notified Inti-Illimani of the time period when he would be absent, making the big domestic relocation; and the surviving leaders took advantage of his absence to dismiss him from the group....thus sayeth Wikipedia, for what that's worth.

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: keberoxu
Date: 17 Nov 15 - 05:11 PM

I apologize for the mistake I made when posting quotes from the Max Berru interview. I was incorrect about the occasion in the 1980's when Horacio Salinas, Inti-Illimani's musical director, voiced the desire to dismiss Berru and Marcelo Coulon from the group.

It is true that Salinas did so, but I was mistaken in his reasons for doing so. I stand corrected by the book "La cancion en el sombrero," published in Chile and written by Salinas himself. There is information in this volume of memoirs which I have seen nowhere else.

Salinas explains, on page 150 in a section headed "La piedra en el zapato," that Max Berru literally had a hearing disability. His hearing was impaired in one ear alone. This did not render Berru entirely deaf; however it made a difference in live performances on tour, and in those days, Inti-Illimani maintained a grueling schedule of performances and tours. Berru literally posed a liability to Inti-Illimani because it was possible for him to be unaware of things onstage in the middle of a performance.

Later in "La cancion en el sombrero," Salinas recalls that the group stayed intact until the return from Europe to Chile. It was there, in the late 1990's, that Berru finally faced up to his hearing disability and the problems that it posed to Inti Illimani. He agreed to leave, and Salinas states that the whole group admired Berru's courage in facing the inevitable, and was sad to lose one of their beloved co-founders.

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Subject: and now there is a "trio historico"
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 Nov 15 - 01:59 PM

A new wrinkle appears in the Facebook page which promotes Jose Seves, Horacio Salinas, and Horacio Duran, and their present colleagues, as Inti Illimani Historico.

Now there are bookings and performances in which the three "historical" members appear as a trio, without the other musicians. An interesting development to reflect upon. When these "elder statesmen" were a band in exile, they were still young, and had growing families with young children to support. They spent at least as much of their time away from their families and their domiciles as they did with them. They had to, really -- no other way to support them.

Today the three older musicians have formed a band with members young enough to be their sons (in the case of director/guitarist Salinas, one of them IS his son, Camilo Salinas, who plays both guitar and keyboards). And yet, it appears, sometimes this newer generation of musicians would rather be with their own young and growing families than out on the road, in front of the public. While the older men have raised their families, have endured an ugly legal battle of years' standing with their former co-founders, and now have more time to themselves. (The exception is Jose Seves -- his daughter was born around 2006 and is still young.)

These trio bookings underline the statements quoted in previous posts by charango player Horacio Duran, about the strength and intensity of the bond between the three men, strong enough to motivate him, personally, to leave the "other" Inti-Illimani.

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: keberoxu
Date: 22 Nov 15 - 03:50 PM

"La cancion en el sombrero," the paperback book of memoirs by Horacio Salinas about Inti-Illimani, came out at about the same time as the interview, in Spanish, to which a link is present (thanks, Joe) in my post of October 30, at the "cancioneros" website from Spain. Only recently have I had access to a copy of Salinas' book, to compare with the online interviews, especially on the subject of Inti-Illimani splitting in two bands.

When bitter disagreements result in a lengthy legal battle, settled by a court-appointed arbitrator, as is the case with Inti-Illimani, it is telling, when looking at someone's account, to see what is left out, as much as what is disclosed.

It was a big deal, in the year 2000, when Inti-Illimani had some of their earlier recordings re-released in Chile. One of the November 1 messages on this thread made passing mention of a reunion-style concert. This took place in the Victor Jara stadium. At this point, Salinas was still in Inti-Illimani although there was already trouble brewing between him and the Coulon brothers. Max Berru had left several years earlier, and after him, Jose Seves, thus depriving Inti-Illimani of two of its strongest lead singers. Moreover, there had been a turnover of certain musicians over the years. In fact, Salinas was not Inti-Illimani's first musical director; that distinction belonged to Pedro Yanez. Then there was Ernesto Perez de Arce, who excelled at the quena, the cane flute, and was an excellent clarinet player, a trained musician whose presence made the whole musical discipline of the band raise itself; he left Inti-Illimani before the European exile.

Most, though not all, of these once-and-former Inti-Illimani musicians returned for the 2000 reunion concert in the Victor Jara stadium, and photographs exist of them onstage, wearing -- for the first time in decades -- the red ponchos of their student days.

Sadly, at this point in his narration in "La cancion en el sombrero," Horacio Salinas conceals this gala reunion, this public event, behind a veil of silence. He says nothing, that I can find -- and I have looked closely -- about the reunion concert and the highly symbolic red ponchos, the music-making with such co-founders as Max Berru of whom everyone seems fond. Salinas has plenty to say about how tense things were between him and Jorge Coulon, with whom he had already had the discussion that resulted in, "Cerremos el boliche." It was within twelve months of this landmark concert that Salinas announced that he was leaving the band, and did his last performance with the Coulon brothers, who took Inti-Illimani on tour to Italy -- by now, it was 2001 -- without Salinas.

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: keberoxu
Date: 27 Nov 15 - 06:42 PM

From "La cancion en el sombrero," original in Spanish, my poor translation into English, all errors my fault. Begins with the chapter "El Des-exilio," starting on page 195.

It was more or less the ground of our life as a band, that from the beginning of Inti-Illimani the members arranged themselves into a structure divided into two camps. I would say: one camp of "professional musicians," cultivating this conscience and necessity of arriving at and maintaining this standard of excellence, taking an active part, musically creative, offering propositions. And the other camp, passive, submissive, conspicuous in the absence of any creative ideas from themselves toward the group, and definitely detaching and distancing themselves from the work and discipline of overcoming their musical and technical deficiencies through study and perfectionism. And, behind this irritating facade that this camp presented to the group as a whole, who knows, if there did not exist an awareness, a consciousness, silent and bitter, that it would be of no use to even try to improve themselves as musicians, as the first camp always tried to.... This passive camp, instead, could wait with fixed, infinite patience for the others to submit their good ideas.

(skipping a paragraph here. Resume, page 196.)
I heard that Jorge Coulon said: "Horacio Salinas confused the band with his own personal career projects." This could sound like an accusation; but to me, it reads like an elegy. The strange thing is, that after all our long life together, all these decades, I recognize that that is exactly the way it was. I cannot deny it. For if I had not done thus, as a member of the band, I could not have been a member of the band in the first place, I could not have functioned musically there, otherwise. But not only in music, but also in love. The truth is, either I commit all the way in involvement, or I do not commit at all. But why is it so terrible that I am confused in this way? Was it not precisely because of this engagement of my whole self that I was driven to explore ideas, to create, to do what had to be done in order to compensate for my fellow companeros in the group to whom, for days, months, years, no ideas occurred to them?

page 197: We experienced this as a division, a separation, a divorce....[end of chapter]

The speaker/author is Horacio Salinas, for decades the musical director of Inti-Illimani, and now the musical director of 'Inti-Illimani Historico.'

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: keberoxu
Date: 27 Nov 15 - 09:36 PM

And now, the group that the arbitrator, about eight years ago, designated as Inti-Illimani Nuevo, led by Jorge and Marcelo Coulon, is referring to itself as Inti-Illimani Oficial, with a conspicuous trademark circle beside their logo. You can find this online, at Google Plus, at their YouTube channel, at their Facebook page....

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: keberoxu
Date: 28 Nov 15 - 12:35 PM

From 2009, on the blog "elunicointi" maintained by supporters of Inti-Illimani Nuevo a/k/a/ Oficial, directed at Horacio Salinas:

"Usted es un buen musico y nada mas."

"You are a good musician, and nothing more."

Actually it says a good deal more than that, some of it really bitter. Someone less squeamish than I, is welcome to present the point of view, on this thread, of those who are hostile to Salinas. I appreciate that Salinas has his shortcomings, only his statements are far less emotional and negative compared to those from whom he walked away. So if you disagree, feel free to say so.

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: keberoxu
Date: 04 Dec 15 - 04:50 PM

The well-known Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, had a brief interview published in 2010, on August 1, with co-founder Horacio Duran, charango specialist and core member of what is now Inti Illimani Historico.   
No big deal, what happens to a spoiled rock star, who breaks up with the band that is the source of their economic good fortune. But no, not when it is Inti-Illimani from Chile, the symbol of militancy and cohesion, it can't be accepted when it happens to all of you. You have passed a whole lifetime singing "The people united can never be defeated," and then, in the end, you are the ones who split up. Here, appearing across Italy, are already two versions of the Inti. Jorge Coulon, founding member, leading the Inti Nuevos. And the Historicos, the reunion of three other pioneers, Jose Seves, Horacio Duran, and Horacio Salinas. The rupture started in 2005: a divorce, complete with official documentation and a court trial through which to determine who has the rights to the original name. The "Nuevos" claim the victory in the battle. Tonight, in performance, we will see the others, the "historical" Inti-Illimani. Many things can be understood since then, according to Horacio Duran, who says: "They are thinking that they have to find new paths. We, however, we believe that the solution is continuity, not to abandon the traditional/folkloric instruments, the singing as a chorus, the marks of our history."

An agreement could not be reached?
"No. I understand that for you Italians this is a difficult thing to accept, but at a certain point it was inevitable."
Whatever the reason, the full story of the entire band was just related in a book, "Inti-Illimani, Storia E Mito", (publisher Il Margine), written by their inseparable friend Eduardo Carrasco.
[Translator's note: Carrasco, if he is who I think he is, was the co-founder of Quilapayun, and remained in Italy after Quilapayun returned to Chile.]

The preface of this new book is authored by former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, who testifies to the centrality of the Inti to their tormented homeland. With the Chilean election, in January, of Sebastian Pinera, the country has now swung to the right.
"We are not contented about it," says Duran. "but the last twenty 'post-Pinochet' years have taught the Chileans the importance of the rule of human rights. There is no turning back."

Written by Matteo Cruccu

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: GUEST,WFaldo
Date: 14 Jan 16 - 08:58 AM

Hi keberoxu,

As a Chilean in Australia growing up hearing my parent's Inti-Illimani CDs its funny that i didn't know about the split until I went to an Inti Illimani Historicos concert in Sydney.

finding out about the split i went out of my way to find as much info from either side and nothing comes close to the analysis provided by you in this blog.

thanks for shedding some light to the split and the possible factors that came into play.

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: keberoxu
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 02:44 PM

About "Inti-Illimani: Storia e Mito," the Italian-language paperback book, authored by Quilapayun's Eduardo "mono" Carrasco.

By the time Carrasco's book was published, released, and available to read, the conflict within Inti-Illimani was beginning to show. However, the book closes, firmly, with the period of Inti-Illimani's return from Europe to South America and of re-locating back to their native Chile. In fact, what is happening within the story as the book closes, is that Inti-Illimani's oldest member, Ecuador-born Max Berru, has decided to retire and to let Inti-Illimani go on without him.

Quilapayun, and Carrasco, go back a long long time with Inti-Illimani; they are of the same nation and the same generation, and so the Allende tragedy and the Pinochet regime are essential events in one common history between them. This ends up being the focus of "Inti-Illimani, Storia e Mito." I may be mistaken here, but I believe that author Carrasco continues to live in Europe even after it is possible for him to travel to, even return to, Chile.

Some powerful passages in Carrasco's book are dedicated to descriptions and contributions by other Chileans, either in exile or who survived the Pinochet regime.

Italy was Inti-Illimani's home base for over fifteen years; and more particularly, Europe's considerable base of Inti-Illimani fans revolves around Italy, where there is even an Italian-language forum devoted to the musical group. Carrasco's book most likely was published with this base of music lovers in mind. The decision to end the book before Horacio Salinas' departure from the original group, however, inevitably dates and limits this book.

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: Monique
Date: 15 Jan 16 - 04:48 PM

Eduardo Carrasco returned to Chile in 1988 after the referendum and lives still there. (Cf.Quilapayún -integrantes)

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Subject: RE: Inti Illimani Historico
From: keberoxu
Date: 22 May 16 - 04:38 PM

The current line-up of Inti Illimani Historico:
the youngsters:
Danilo Donoso
Fernando Julio -- rhythm section, bass and percussion

Hermes Villa Lobos, flute and wind instruments
Camilo Sanchez, keyboards (son of Horacio)

the old-timers:
Horacio Duran, charango
Horacio Salinas, guitar
Jose Seves, lead vocals and tiple/guitars

This version of Inti-Illimani is preparing to celebrate fifty years of music making (this is positively true of charango-player Duran, who has been there the longest). With repertoire newly written, Inti Illimani Historico will give three concerts in Chile in early June; directly afterwards they will take their new music to Havana, Cuba, and go into the recording studios there, to make their fiftieth-anniversary CD album.

(from the website; dated 10 May 2016)

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Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 02:51 PM

I must be the last person in the world to learn of
the death of Max Berrú, native of Ecuador,
and the oldest of all the members of the group Inti Illimani.

He died on 1 May 2018.
The previous year, Berrú had been diagnosed
with multiple myeloma of the bone marrow.
There were intense sessions of chemotherapy.
He carried on for as long as he could.

When he died, nearly one year ago,
he was seventy-four years old.

Between his diagnosis and the final stage of the illness,
he granted a Spanish-language interview online;
he was as blunt and outspoken as ever,
an extroverted personality who loved people,
and who still felt the sorrow
of relationships destroyed beyond repair.

"Yo he estado enfermo, y quién me ha llamado? Horacio Durán y José Seves.
Pero Salinas no.
No me importa, pero igual debe sentirse mal, porque sabe que yo sé cómo es él.
No es fácil convivir con alguien que hace una selección de las amistades. Yo lo encuentro 'arribista'.
Para mí, entró en una tierra casi del olvido."

"Creo que se ensució el legado del grupo
y me dió mucha pena cuando me enteré de eso,
sobre todo por los valores éticos y morales que transmitíamos. Fue una decepción."

-- 7 September 2017 from the website

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