An Intimate Look at Inti-illimani

By Audrey Coleman

inti-illimaniMy heart was in Humahuaca, a village in northwestern Argentina, where, last January, I had encountered a musician/folklorist steeped in Andean traditions. I was all set to write about Fortunato, when I learned that the Chilean ensemble Inti-Illimani was going to be performing at Caltech on Saturday, April 21 at 8pm. Too tantalizing! If you haven't attended a concert or heard a recording by this groundbreaking, legendary group, let me fill you in.

These eight men, who will be playing on more than 30 wind, string, and percussion instruments at Caltech's Beckman Auditorium, take their inspiration from the intoxicating rhythms and bittersweet melodies of the indigenous peoples of Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina. Their performances feature traditional South American instruments such as the siku (panpipes) and tiple (usually 12-stringed instrument of the guitar family) and melodies that originated in pueblos of centuries past. But while delving into this musical heritage, the musicians have composed music of stunning beauty. In the group's 45 year history, they have created over 400 such compositions.

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Woody Guthrie’s Home Town Lynching

A Bridge Over Troubled Water

By Ross Altman, Ph.D.

woody_guthrieOkemah, Oklahoma was the town that Woody Guthrie described as, “one of the singingest, square dancingest, drinkingest, yellingest, preachingest, walkingest, talkingest, laughingest, cryingest, shootingest, fist fightingest, bleedingest, gamblingest, gun, club, and razor carryingest of our ranch and farm towns, because it blossoms out into one of our first Oil Boom Towns.” He left out one small detail. It was also one of the lynchingest—the town that the year before he was born hosted one of the more horrific lynching parties that had ever made its way north of the Mason-Dixon line. Captured in a news photo of the time forever and for all to see, “our town” seemed to have nothing to hide—not a flicker of shame colored the glowing faces of the frenzied lynch mob of onlookers and supporters.

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