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Gabriel San Román


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photo credit: Zuleica Zepeda

Gabriel San Román is a multimedia journalist from Anaheim, California. He worked as co-producer on the daily drive time Uprising morning show on KPFK Pacifica Radio in Los Angeles from 2005–2011. In addition to radio, he began authoring articles for the Orange County Weekly in 2006 and has since become a contributing writer. San Román’s interviews, reviews and writings have additionally been published in Truthout, Z Magazine, and Common Dreams as well as numerous other online and print media outlets.

Listen to Gabriel hosting From the Vault about the Coup D’etat in Chile HERE

Check out this interview with Gabriel San Roman about the Historic Verdict Holds Florida Resident Liable for Victor Jara's Murder: The Real News Network

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“Venceremos”: Víctor Jara and the New Chilean Song Movement

Author: Gabriel San Román • Foreword by T.M. Scruggs
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-957-6
Published: 05/14
Format: Pamphlet
Size: 8.5 x 5.5
Page Count: 40
Subjects: History-Chile/Politics-Activism/ Music-Folk

When the socialist politician Salvador Allende dramatically won Chile’s presidential election in 1970, a powerful cultural movement accompanied him to power. Folk singers emerged at the forefront, proving that music could help forge the birth of a new society. As the CIA actively funded opposition media against Allende during his campaign, the New Chilean Song Movement rose to prominence, viscerally persuading voters with its music. Víctor Jara, a central protagonist at the time, became an icon in Chile, Latin America, and beyond for his revolutionary lyrics and life. Inti-Illimani, Quilapayún, and other musicians contributed by singing before audiences of workers outside factories or campesinos in Chile’s rural countryside.

A short cultural history, “Venceremos“ charts the development of the movement from the years before Allende’s victorious campaign to the brutal U.S.-backed military coup on September 11, 1973, that overthrew his presidency and imposed the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Featuring interviews from key figures and lyrical analysis, “Venceremos“ gives insight into how the New Chilean Song Movement’s revolutionary anthems came to be.

From the early folkloric documentation of Violeta Parra in Chile’s countryside to “Venceremos,“ the triumphant anthem of Allende’s Popular Unity Coalition, the music of Chile’s Nueva Canción was shaped by the larger history occurring all around it. Within the songs, all the hopes, dreams and apprehensions of the nation were reflected. At the same time, as its influence grew, the cultural movement claimed its own principal space as catalyst of not only Chile’s musical but its political future as well. So dangerous were its creations that the Pinochet dictatorship censored and attempted to destroy them. Most tragically, Víctor Jara’s life was taken in the bloody repression that immediately followed the coup.


“A well-written history and analysis that never forgets what the subject matter is: music for the ages.“
—Gustavo Arellano, editor, OC Weekly, and syndicated columnist for ¡Ask a Mexican!

“Gabriel San Román provides a thoughtful and comprehensive overview of the New Chilean Song Movement. Chile’s music of the 1960s and early 1970s was not only a milestone in Latin American popular culture, its importance transcended the strictly artistic to assume social and political significance. San Román insightfully interweaves the music’s artistic development with Chile’s tumultuous history of those years.“
—James Brennan, professor and chair of history, University of California, Riverside


For a calendar of speaking events, please click here

Latest Blog Entries

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Mentions, Excerpts, Interviews

venceremosNewer Songs: A Review
By Alexander Billet
Red Wedge Magazine
October 14th, 2014

"The shadow of Victor Jara looms large, and it’s only gotten larger with time. Just last month it was announced that a court in Chile had indicted three retired army officers for their involvement in the legendary folk-singer’s death in the wake of the coup that overthrew then-President Salvador Allende. Certainly, the open-endedness of Jara’s saga (more than forty years after his murder, nobody has been brought to justice) has contributed to his legend, intertwining his impressive skills with songwriting. The beauty of one combines with the horror of the other; like it or not, the two have become inseparable..."

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venceremosSinging Songs of Struggle: How a Folk Music Movement Helped Elect a Marxist Reformer in Chile in Truthout
By Eleanor J Badger
July 8th, 2014

Gabriel San Roman's tribute reminds us of what was lost when Pinochet smashed Nueva Cancion. At the same time, Venceremos highlights the power of culture - whether music or other artistic modalities - to foment change, raise consciousness and heighten excitement about the possibility of a better world. It's a lesson worth remembering as we work to dismantle oppressive laws and undo centuries of hate and exploitation.

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venceremosGabriel San Roman Remembers Víctor Jara, the Man and the Movement in the OC Weekly
By Gabriel San Román
OC Weekly
May 15th, 2014

Víctor Jara's "Manifiesto," the definitive song of La Nueva Canción Chilena, served as background music during the episode of CNN's Cold War series titled "Backyard," in which his widow, Joan Jara, was interviewed about her folk singer husband's murder at the hands of General Augusto Pinochet's forces. As a youthful teenager learning about the world, this segment on Chile and U.S. intervention during the latter half of the 20th century piqued my already-budding interest in politics and history. The basic history of the Sept. 11, 1973, coup that toppled the democratically elected socialist presidency of Salvador Allende in Chile had already been known to me, but it was the series, oddly enough, that first introduced me to the music of Víctor Jara.

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