Music & Words | Amankay



The group Amankay was founded in the Netherlands 30 years ago. It probably was the most important Chilean group to be born in exile, founded by five music students.
Its main purpose was to contribute their own musical sound and repertoire to the manifestations of solidarity that were organized in those days in the struggle against the military dictatorship of Pinochet. The group  were convinced it was not enough to simply reproduce the existing repertoire, nor just to sing songs with a certain content. Amankay wanted to offer something which would musically justify their artistic existence.

Amankay was a remarkable group, despite its brief period of existence, first and foremost because of the high musical quality of its performances and the purity of sound and warmth of its artistic message. And secondly because its musical themes that departed from the usual repertoire of the New Chilean Song (NCS) of the day. The group made original contributions to the movement with fresh arrangements and new compositions.

In 1978 the band’s final line-up was reached with some of the best known Chilean artists and one Dutch singer: Patricio Wang (member of Quilapayun, main composer and musical leader of Amankay), Renato Freyggang (Inti-Illimani), Daniel Smith, Ricardo Mendeville and Winanda van Vliet (Winanda el Sur). This line-up recorded Amankay’s only, self-titled, album in 1979.

The band split up in 1981 and each member went its own way, leaving their traces in the international music scene.

The album Amankay is now re-released with its original liner notes and additional background articles by Dr. Alfonso Padilla (musicologist at the University of Helsinki) and Jan Fairley (ethnomusicologist at the University of Liverpool and world music journalist) on the brink of September 11, the day of the Chilean coupe in 1973.
The original and traditional compositions and songs have not lost their freshness and for the first time will become widely available for a larger audience, as the original lp (!) was only released by a small leftwing record label. Although firmly footed in the campaigns and manifestations of those days, the music has its own values, which can still be enjoyed today.

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