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Patricio Manns

The Chilean composer, author, and activist Patricio Manns continued to be an important member of his country’s creative culture through seventeen years of exile. Born in Nacimiento in 1937, Manns’s parents were musical and instilled in young Patricio a respect for art and literature. He held odd jobs through his teens but, by 1963, had settled on a journalistic career. In 1959, Manns composed “Bandido,” which, by 1962, had been recorded by multiple Latin American folk ensembles. With 1965’s “Arriba en la cordillera,” which became a national hit, Manns’s songwriting positioned him as one of the leaders of the Chilean New Song movement. By 1970, Manns’s series of traveling folk shows and his continued writing led him to support the government of Salvador Allende. When Allende was overthrown in a coup in 1973, Manns was forced to flee to France. The following year, he organized a group of Cuban musicians, Karaxú, and began his fight against the Pinochet regime. In France, Manns had his most fruitful period of composition and collaborated with Horacio Salinas to form Inti-Illimami, a group whose songs came to emblemize the struggles of Chilean exiles and became standards in the Latin American folk repertoire. Manns returned to Chile in August 1990 to tour, but found that his political trials were still pending, and he returned to France. Through the end of the 1990s, Manns continued to collaborate with Salinas and compose fiction. Upon his permanent return to Chile in 2000, Manns began a series of concerts and projects honoring those who had fought and died during the 1973 coup, including fellow folk musician Victor Jara and Allende himself. Though his creative work had resulted in myriad accolades while in exile, through the 2000s, Chilean arts organizations began to formally recognize his contribution to their country’s music and literary culture.