define myself as a cultural worker for the range of things I do:
am a singer/songwriter/musician
I am a self-taught musician and singer. I play Spanish guitar, Bolivian
charango, Venezuelan Cuatro, Colombian Triple and a bit of Bolivian Quena.
I have written more than 50 songs. I have been singing in Scotland for
more than 30 years, becoming perhaps the oldest Latin-American performer
in Scotland. I always sing in Spanish. My music and style have been inspired
by the great Chilean folklorists, Violeta Parra, Victor Jara and by the
"New Song" movement of the Americas of the 60s and 70s. My music
also has been shaped by important events in recent Chilean history: The
Presidency of Salvador Allende (1970-1973) and the Pinochet dictatorship
(1973-1990). As I have been widely exposed to the Scottish folk scene
I have also been influenced by Scotland musical culture.
have performed all over Scotland, in Britain and abroad - in Chile, Peru,
Canada, Italy and Sweden. I have performed many times in live shows for
BBC radio ("Travelling Folk", "The Usual Suspects",
Burns Supper celebrations, etc.) In December 2003 I featured for a half
hour BBC radio programme called The World on our Streets". "Arredondo
has the kind of voice that could chant the Santiago telephone directory
and still tug the listener". Alastair Clark, The Scotsman.
promote other people's music
songs and music of Chileans songwriters Violeta Parra, Victor Jara, Patricio
Manns, and of the Chilean band Inti-illimani have always been part of
my repertoire. I also sung songs by Argentinean Atahualpa Yupanqui, Leon
Gieco, Mercedes Sosa. I also sing Chilean traditional songs and songs
from the Latin American repertoire. Also sing songs from what we call
in Chile "El repertorio popular" ("the "Popular Repertoire"):
boleros, tangos, Peruvian waltzes, and love songs. I have always encouraged
to have in my cultural activities Scottish musicians and singers.
write poetry and I promote the poetry of others
I am a keen reader of Chilean poetry I have always encouraged poetry and
the works of poet Pablo Neruda has been a constant feature in my cultural
activities. I have always involved Scottish poets in my work and in many
occasions I have been invited to take part, as a musician, in poetry events.
In recent years I began to write my own poetry and although nothing has
been published yet I have been invited, as a poet, to take part in poetry
events in Scotland and Sweden. Some of my poems have been translated into
English and I have translated other's people poems from the English into
funded FABULA (For a Better Understanding of Latin America)
FABULA is my cultural umbrella that I use to promote in Scotland anything
related to Latin-America. My view is that Scotland is not concerned with
Latin-America culture. Through Fabula I try to remedy it. In 2006 Billy
Kay invited me to take part in his BBC radio programme "Freedom is
a Noble thing" about Lord Cochranne, an admiral, involved in the
Chile liberation struggle against the Spanish colonist in the 19th century.
have written extensively about my life in Chile.
can explain nothing about me, about Chile, my political commitment if
I do not provide those interested in Chile with an account of my background
in the social and political context of my country. Years ago I began to
write, "Una detallada reflexion de mi barrio" ("A
detailed reflection on my neighbourhood") with a view to preserve
in writing a story of my barrio which is in fact, "the Chile"
of my nostalgias. I am proud to say that a tiny bit of Santiago of Chile
has a written story. In some ways the Scottish Statistical Accounts provided
me with ideas to write about my barrio.
consider myself an enthusiastic keeper of the history of Chilean exiles
the 10th of October of 1974 a group of Chilean political refugees left
London on a coach for Glasgow. I was one of them. Another small group
of Chilean continued their journey the same day towards Edinburgh. We
were in Scotland as a direct result of the bloody coup of the 11th of
September of 1973 and carried out by General Augusto Pinochet against
the democratically elected Socialist Government of Salvador Allende. Since
my arrival I have been busy collecting all type of material related to
the Chilean refugees in Scotland and the relationship that existed between
the Chileans and the Scottish Solidarity Campaign. It is quality material
which shows that our experience, as refugees, contrast greatly with those
asylum seekers coming today to Scotland for safety. We Chileans in 1974
had a feeling that we were welcome by the government of the day, the Labour
Party and by the People of Scotland. Today there is a felling that the
government of the day, the Labour Party and section of the Scottish society
careless about the refugee people. We in Britain are concerned in wars
which help to create here a robust armed industry and in other places
torments and misery for millions of people. The result of these policies
is clear: the creation of millions of refugee people. Based on the material
that I have collected through the years, I decided to write my own account
about the Chileans refugees in Scotland with a view to preserve our history
in the collective memory of this country and Chile. I called this account:
"Una detallada reflexión de mi exilio y la de muchos chilenos
en Escocia" (A detailed reflexion about my
exile and that of many Chileans in Scotland) I am proud to say that
those Chileans, who in this country assembles as political refugees, in
the 70s and 80s, have a written account of their experiences. In some
ways the Scottish Statistical Accounts provided me with ideas to write
about Chileans in Scotland. Extract of this accounts are found within
this web page. See Memories. I have also written in Spanish: "Detalladas
reflexiones de una adventura en Londres" which translates in
English as a "Detailed reflexions of an adventure
to London" In 1998 Chile beat England 2-0 in a friendly football
match and I was at Wembley celebrating the victory. I began immediately
to write a story about my trip to London. A few months after the football
game, General Pinochet left Santiago for London which resulted in his
detention here. It was not difficult for me to return to my original story
about the football match in order to continue with my London story this
time with Pinochet in the middle: the Chileans football stadiums, after
all, had been used by General Pinochet to torture and kill his opponents.
reasons I chose to become a cultural worker in this country
I would have felt very uncomfortable if I would have remained idle and
enjoyed this beautiful country knowing so well that many people in Chile
were giving their lives to restore democracy. Most of my work has been
carried out thinking in those who lost tragically their lives at the hand
of the Pinochet regime. My work in Scotland is about: traditions, survival,
memory, identity and solidarity.
lovely letter of thanks, in Spanish, and for the cultural work I do
from Vladimir A. Vega the cultural officer belonging to the Chilean Exile
Organization: Chile Democratico.
1997: University of Edinburgh (Faculty of Arts).
Degree obtained: The General Degree: Master of Arts (with merit). I did
Hispanic studies and subsidiary subjects: Scottish Ethnology. The History
of Western Art, the History of Western Music and Western European History.
Sept. 1993 - June 1994:
University of Edinburgh (Access course).
- 1993: Employed as a tutor of Latin-American studies at: The Centre of
Continuing Education of the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. My
programme for this course included the exploration at introductory level
of: Pre- Colombian civilizations, Post- Colombian culture, civilizations
and history, Latin American literature, theatre, cinema, paintings, music,
geography, topography, flora and fauna and current affairs.
Fluent in: Spanish, English and Italian.
I have been a member of "The Performing Royal Society" (P.R.S.),
since 1989. I love football, Colo Colo is my Chilean team and Partick
Thistle my Scottish team.