When it comes to Chilean bands, few are bigger than Andean folk megastars Inti-Illimani – and fewer still boast such a long-running history.
Founded in Santiago in 1967, Inti-Illimani is now celebrating its 45 years of history with an extended tour. Having just completed the Pennsylvania and New York legs, the band is now heading to Connecticut, Massachusetts, Arizona, and California before embarking on a world tour and hitting Turkey, the U.K., Australia, and much of South America.
Focusing on their 45-year journey, founding member Jorge Coulon states, “What pleases me about our group today is that the creative risks are very much in keeping with our history, while opening us up to many perspectives, many possibilities.”
Established by the Coulon brothers and initially a seven-man act, Inti-Illimani’s members are considered fathers of the Nueva Canción (New Song) movement that originated in Chile in the 1960s and took over Latin America. Widely considered to have had a large impact on the social change movements that swept through Latin America, Spain, and Portugal in the 1970s and 1980s, Nueva Canción saw a revival of Latin American folk music blended with pointed social commentary.
Inti-Illimani, which means Son of the Illimani (a Bolivian mountain) in the Andean Aymara language, was on tour in Europe in the 1970s, and remained in Italy for more than a decade. Here the band’s sound evolved, eventually becoming a forerunner in the development of World Music. The band utilizes a series of regional styles to make a unique genre that speaks to a global audience.
Playing with dozens of wind, string, and percussion instruments, Inti-Illimani’s highly skilled members returned to Chile in 1988 and toured the country extensively to spread their music.
In the decades that followed, the band was prolific in its output. With almost fifty albums to its name, Inti-Illimani can be considered a Chilean institution, as well as a documented inspiration to World Music bands across the globe.
Shows for the band’s tour, La Maquina del Tiempo (The Time Machine), will include songs from throughout the band’s long history.
October will also see the release of a new 2-CD commemorative recording which will include a number of popular Chilean musical guests.
For information on tour dates and locations, visit the band’s web page.