The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #158418   Message #3746628
Posted By: GUEST,keberoxu
25-Oct-15 - 08:29 PM
Thread Name: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
Subject: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
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.