The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #158418   Message #3748819
Posted By: keberoxu
05-Nov-15 - 07:11 PM
Thread Name: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
Subject: RE: Inti-Illimani: one has become two
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).