Various Artists, Cancion Protesta: Protest Songs of Latin America

Chris Nickson

By Chris Nickson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A parallel summer of love: the idealism of ‘60s Latin America in song.

This collection sets up its political stall right from the very beginning, opening with a speech from Fidel Castro. From there it's a mix of yearning for change under oppressive regimes and calls for brotherhood and peace. Recorded in Cuba during 1967's Summer of Love, the anonymous singers from Argentina, Cuba, Chile, Uruguay and Peru are wonderfully heartfelt, making these fine examples of the nueva cancion movement that swept the continent during the '60s. It was a time of hope, and that's reflected in the earnest sentiments. But even if the golden future didn't come to pass, this snapshot of the way young Latinos saw their world is invaluable. Often conveyed in metaphor, as in “Coplas de Pajarito” ("The Little Bird's Complaint"), there's a touching earnestness about the songs here, outrage mixed with naïveté, that makes them very human and appealing; idealism, it seems, once covered all the Americas.