For 20 days this July and August (summer to my mind, winter to my body), I ventured to Santiago, Chile.. my first time traveling by myself to another country, my first time south of the equator, my first time putting my Spanish ability a la prueba.

The natives who hosted me said their goodbyes with one request: show the rest of the world the quality of their music. All music featured in this video is by notable Chileans: Victor Jara, Manuel Garcia and his band, and Freddy Torrealba. The title track, "Gira, gira girasol" (Turn, turn sunflower) is originally by Chilean folk legend and civil activist Victor Jara. The verse repeats "turn turn sunflower / turn turn with the sun" seemed an appropriate theme. The version played here is a tribute by Mecanica Popular, the band of Manuel Garcia, who is seen in live performance in the video. The song performed at the end of the video is also a work of Victor Jara, "Ojitos Verdes" (Little green eyes). Finally, world-renowned charango artist Freddy Torrealba demonstrates his fingers like 10 hummingbirds on the tiny 10-string instrument characteristic to Andean folk music.

For full length videos of the songs in this video (that I recorded from the front row!), and until I can upload to vimeo, visit here: youtube.com/user/lamicmars

I am indebted to those who showed me such patience and hospitality throughout my stay. I met a lot of great people, great friends, and though I saw relatively little of the country, what I did see enchanted me enough to want to share it with the rest of you. If you have any questions about any of the locations featured, please ask and I would love to offer further explanation and information.

Also felicidades a Chile for celebrating its bicentenario this year.. glad I could be there for a portion of it! E-E-E-E!

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