Carlos Arredondo, Carlos, Arredondo, Chile, Scotland, music, poetry, culture, Latin America  

Strong Solidarity with Chile

The people of Scotland were just formidable in their solidarity with the People of Chile. This solidarity work involved not only people from every walk of life but the best artists of the art scene in Scotland: folk musicians, folk group, poets, writers and journalists and Theatre Companies. I have compiled here a very interesting and comprehensive sample about solidarity activities with Chile in Scotland during the 1970s and 1980s. Several people appearing in this sample are unfortunately not longer with us and I dedicate to them the following accounts.

With thanks to Dave Richarson from the Boys of the Loch who gave me the below programme for this page.

Below: Angel and Isabel Parra at the above concert with the Boys of the Loch and the Scottish Baroque Ensamble. With thanks to Rubi Ceron for the pictures.

Below: I am playing here a song with Peggy Seager in Glasgow in 2103. An event about Victor Jara

While living in Glasgow, I took part in a political concert at the old Traverse Theatre for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1974. (The Scotsman’s review of this concert is available) Many Chileans like me were already promoting the music of Victor Jara, Violeta Parra, Quilapayun and the Inti-illimani. Not only this, but inside the exile's luggage one could find, along the music of the new song movement, cumbias, Salsa and tango music. “Salsa music” was brought to this country by the Chileans exiles from Perú where it was already known. These cassettes were played at political cultural events and at party time.

The giornalist and musicologist Jan Fairley, my friend. Victor Jara in her hands

Below: Dick Gaugham singing a song dedicated to Victor Jara


Our “Chilean Folk Group” played in many cities and towns of Scotland and England in the 1970s: London, Liverpool, Newcastle, Durham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Aberdeen, Dundee and Cumbernauld. This is because in those days there were many events organised by groups promoting solidarity with Chile.

We played in Renfrew on the 19th of June, 1976 and I particularly remember it because, it was a Labour Party meeting and Michael Foot was one of the guest speakers.

As a folk group, we often were invited to play at the Glasgow Star Folk (social Club) where we saw the wonderful Scottish-Irish folk group: The Laggan headed by the excellent bearded singer Arthur Johnstone. Songs like Work of the Weavers, the Railwayman, The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, I am the Common man, Rosa Luxemburg, Joe Hill, Jarama, Bandiera Rossa and The Wild Rover,are all songs which I remember fondly because I relate them to the Chilean solidarity movement in Glasgow. Their songs mixed very well with the songs of Victor Jara and Violeta Parra, played and sung by us: “The Chilean Folk group”! It is not surprising to find in my record collection: The Laggan’s ‘I am the Common Man’ and Arthur Johnstone’s: ‘Generation of Change’.

We also played several times at the McLellan Galleries, the Citizens’ Theatre and the Third Eye Centre where in 1976 there was a wonderful exhibition of Chilean arpilleras. The event was organized by the art critic Guy Brett and the playwright Tom McGrath, the director of the Centre (1974-77). Tom, whom I remember with a lot of affection, sent me in those days a letter and from this, we can read the following extract:
I look forward to the Chilean week happening at the Third Eye and I would like to express my solidarity with the Chilean People in their present suffering”

The arpilleras, were colourful “popular” art works, sewn from scraps of clothing fabric and wool. They were made by women living in shanty towns and by relatives of the disappeared people. Some arpilleras were even made in prisons. These pictorial works represented a powerful symbol of resistance in Pinochet’s country. They depicted a variety of themes linked with the sad reality of the people under the dictatorship: concentration camps, prisons and prisoners, soup kitchens, military people in tanks patrolling the streets etc.


There was also an exhibition of this patchworks exhibition in Edinburgh in 1978 at the Demarco Art Gallery.

As time went on, I could see the solid solidarity work with Chile. Many well known Scottish singers/musician, poets and bands, such as Dick Gaughan, The Boys of the Lough, The Laggan, The Whitlebinkies, Aly Bain, Matt McGinn, Hamish Imlach, Adam McNaughtan, Hamish Henderson, The 7:84 Theatre Company, The Battlefield Band. Liz Lochhead, the story teller Mick Broderick (Donald was a Piper, 1983), Leftturn, Nancy Nicholson, Sprangeen, Eileen Penman and many others artists were always available to express their solidarity with the People of Chile.


Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Chile Solidarity Campaign

The following was the: Autumn Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Chile Solidarity Campaign newsletter for 1976. ( See - who took part on the activity of Sunday 12th September)

Meetings Campaign meetings are to be held in the Sprouse Road Community rooms,

Abronhill, 8.00pm on the following dates:

Monday 6th September Organisation of Sept/Oct events

Monday 4th October Annual General Meeting

Monday 1st November outside speaker

Monday 6th December Legal position on Human Rights

Prisoner Adoptions. A total of thirteen Chilean political prisoners have been adopted

in our area. The adopting groups are the Carbrain, Kildrum and

Seafar ward Labour parties, The Banton and Queenzieburn branch

LP Cumbernauld Concern, The east Dunbartonshire Liberal

Association, a local branch of the EIS, and the two Cumbernauld

AEU branches. So far five of the prisoners have been released and

effective contact has been established with one of the others.

September Events. To mark the third “anniversary” of the fascist Coup the Scottish

Chile Defence Committee have organised the following:

DEMONSTRATION Saturday 11th of September.

Assemble Blythwood Square at

11am. March to Custom house Quay:

Madame Allende, Judith Hart MP, Alex Ferry and Chilean Folk

Group(this group is me, Tulio Bravo, and Hugo Alvarez)

Sunday 12th September

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow 7pm.

Stalls and circle £1.25, balcony 65p

The Laggan, 7:84 theatre Group, Phil McColl, Matt McGin and

The Chilean Folk Group are amongst the performers.

(The above Chilean group mentioned is me, Tulio Bravo,

and Hugo Alvarez)

CHILEAN PLAY - called Chile 1973 starring Coca Rudolphy at the Edinburgh

Festival Fringe, August 30-Sept.10th, Crown Theatre, Hill

Place, Edinburgh, 5pm.

Pleasae contact me as soon as possible regarding transport.

Arrangements for any of these events, final arrangements will

be made at the meeting on September 6th.


I personally developed a very good relationship with the Scottish composer Edward McGuire and his Glasgow-based band The Whitlebinkies. Edward always supported my artistic work in this country. It was Eddy who recommended me to work with John McGrath’s 7:84 Theatre Company. I worked with the actress Liz MacLennan, John’s wife, in two 7:84 Theatre projects: “The Baby and the Bathwater” and “The Albannach”. We did a lot of travelling in Britain and Canada and we did a lot of solidarity work for the miners during the Thatcher’s years.

On the 19th of February, 1989 I helped to organise in Edinburgh a cultural event in support of alternative theatre in Pinochet’s time, represented by Teatro El Telón, operating in the Centro Cultural Mapocho (not far from where I used to live). Appearing in this event were myself, Liz Lochhead, Christine Kidd, Nancy Nicholson, Communicado Theatre Company, Catherine Boyle, the Witches’ Tuesday and the poet, John Gillies.






  Carlos Arredondo, Carlos, Arredondo, Chile, Scotland, music, poetry, culture, Latin America