Chilean Progressive Music presents :
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Los Jaivas are most known for their highly original blend of Chilean folk with progressive elements. A few of their albums are more symphonic, in a very unique way.
Recommendations as starters are 'Los Jaivas' and 'Alturas de Macchu Picchu', very closely followed by 'Los Suenos de America' ,'Obras de Violetta Parra', 'Cancion del Sur',.. Also one of the latest albums 'Mamalluca' is still good. "Palomita Blanco" contains some nice improvisations at side 2. A few of their albums are more folk inspired. Some of these need more time to get into al ideas (they are so many) but it's always worth taking this time. Only a few albums are less interesting.

This page is based upon a radioshow about Los Jaivas. It's a playlist with addition of comments about the records, recordings within a historical biographical perspective.

"Psyche van het Folk", Radio Centraal, Antwerpen, Belgium
Latin American progressive, part 1 : Chili : 'Los Jaivas'.

In 1963 the three brothers Parra (Claudius, Gabriel and Eduardo) started a group with some friends
(Eduardo "Gato/Cat" Alquinta and Mario Mutis ) called High Bass. (They took their name from their guitar amplifier (it had two knobs : 'high' and 'bass'). They gigged with a kind of tropical mix in (discotheques of) their native region of Vina del Mar and periodically in Santiago, the capitol of Chili. This happened in a time a 'new Chilean wave' came to life to express pop music under influence of rock'n roll, twist, ballads and other forms with original compositions. On the other hand there arose a neo-folk movement with simpler instrumentation and an influence from jazzy expressions stimulated by the national record industry to give this genre equally concern. Some years after that the 'Nueva Canción Chilena" ("the new Chilean song") with folkloristic elements combined with social concerns in the Andes region was another influence that led rise a different kind of folk music. One of the early groups, together with High Bass were "Los Masters" that later led to the birth of Congreso.  Another rise of popularity was stimulated by the interest in The Beatles. High Bass wanted to follow its own direction and spirit adapting all kinds of influences to transform them in their own way. Also the University Reformation of '68 made everybody aware of much more what was happening everywhere, also musically and artistically it gave the openness for wider explorations. End '69 Eduardo Parra wanted to get jazz in form of improvisation and fusion techniques into the mix, but without having the right instruments they continued to adapt other elements (Caribbean,..) like also some rock flavour from the time of the Beatles, very soon becoming the unique progressive blend they stand for. Into this new spirit of grapping the new elements they changed their name (in some way they "chileanized" their name into Los Jaivas (with a transformation of their name from a "jaiba" into "jaivas", meaning "little crabs" now), deeply involved in Andean roots but also with an openness to the fitting in the whole world with the help of the Western elements. Therefore they used some electronic instruments as well as old folk instruments. Also the term "Inca-Rock" fitted with their music. Gabriel's passion remained the trumpet and the secret sounds of whistle instruments. Eduardo's interest in poetry would also be one of the underlying influences in the group's creative process.
The newly named group released "El Volantin" privately. The music on this album was almost completely derived from improvisations, and can be considered as a performance of a "happening". It was pretty wild and free. From 20 hours of work only 40 minutes were used for publication. There were only 500 albums printed. It became not so widely known because it also did not fit to what radiostations usually played. The usual rockgroups from that time explored the electroacoustic styles, and were influenced by Cream or Jimmy Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Los Jaivas used the development of improvisation, also during the live concerts.

1. Columbia  Los Jaivas : El Volantin (1971)*°°'
        Tr. 1, "Cacho" 6 min
  Somewhat Latin Folk track with very psychedelic Floydian organ, freak-out
This album was first privately released, with free, freak-out and drugged like versions of music based upon Chilean Folk fundaments and dement percussion. Not always fantastic, but with fine moments. Especially "Cacho" is worth discovering. The rest might be a bit exaggerating. Almost the complete album was totally improvised.
In April / May 1972 the group also released a single "Ayer Caché /Todos Juntos"". Side B was a semi-improvised melody with a text which became the subject for "Todos Juntos". It became a very good selling single, resulting in interviews in magazines, successful performances.
In September 1972, a second single appeared, "Mira Niñita" and "Cuero Y Piel".
Shortly after that they recorded the album "La Ventana /the window"), the first commercial album published by IRT (now know as "Todos Juntos"). This album increased their popularity throughout the whole Latin American region.

audio : "La Vaquita", "Tamborcito De Milagro", "Que O La Tumba Seras"

2. Arci Music  Los Jaivas : Todos Juntos (1972)*°

This album is mostly folk inspired, contains a few improvisation elements, and an experience with a symphonic orchestra without really reflecting the groups potential. That's why I decided finally not to play any track of it.

Sound file fragments from 'Todos Juntos' here.  Texts at

3. Columbia     Los Jaivas : Palomita Blanca (1973)***'
  Tr.12, "Piedra Roja" 15 min
      Tr.1, "Tema de los Titulos" 4 min

Shortly after releasing "Todos Juntos" the group was asked to participate in the music of the movie "Palomita Blanca",directed by Raul Ruiz, based upon the novel of Enrique Lafourcade. The movie release was delayed almost twenty years because of the upcoming dictatorship in Chile.
The album has good elements. First half makes this not amongst the best/most original albums, but the long improvisational psychedelic trip "Piedra Roja" is very good, "Disuacion" after that is a fine long acoustic free improvisation, and the closing psych track is very fine too. And also the title theme altough more structured is pretty psychedelic.
A single was released after that : "Indio Hermano/Corre Que Te Pillo".
February 11th 1973 the group moved to Argentine to tour. The group led an international festival "Los Qaminos Que Se Abren" with other Latin American bands. They were finally going to settle down there (in Zárate) after the political coup in Chile the 11th of September. Argentina was in that time experiencing great promising musical developments (like with Sui Generis' second album). The success of Los Jaivas in Argentine grew rapidly too which led to the release of "Los Suenos de America".

4. Alerce            Manduka & Los Jaivas : Los Suenos de America (1974)****
                                 Tr. 4, "Ta Bom Ta que ta " 6 min

This album has much more specific progressive and fusing elements wit folk, compared to "Todos Juntos".
In February 1975 Los Jaivas returns for two months to Chile, but the situation there didn't seem very promising. Altough thousands of persons went to their come-back the press kept silence about it. While Mario Mutis decided to stay in Chile the rest of the group went back, with new member Julio Anderson. Their return in Argentine resulted in a contract with EMI. That album as a new start in the new country was also titled "Los Jaivas" :
5. EMI                     Los Jaivas (1975) ***°°
                              Tr.3, "La conquistada" 8 min
                             Tr.6 "Tarka Y Ocarina" 14 min

This is one of the most symphonic works of Los Jaivas. A recommended album. During the recording of this album they meat the Uruguayen musician Carlos "Pajarito", who had been a member of the Uraguayan group "Aquaragua" before (a group in which also participated Jaime Roos). This album had its deserved success. It has beautiful piano with acoustic guitars, flutes, exotic instruments, keyboard, electric guitars,.. The style is closer to Italian progressive and Argentine symphonic. The folk elements became symphonic elements. On the 6th track this becomes even heavy progressive, with very good electric guitars freak-outs, some flutes/exotic brass arrangements, very fast piano, fitting drums. Another highlight ! The album became also known as "El Indio/ The Indian".
In 1976 they recorded a single "Mambo de Machaguay", an adapted composition from Pizarro Cerron. On the B-side was "En Tus Horas"/ ("In your own time ?)". (The single can be found as bonus track on the CD of "Cancion del Sur").
But in Argentine there came also some political changes, which didn't make it easy for musicians either. The Argentinean Alberto Ledo became an extra new member. He arranged stringed instruments. The EMI contract still allowed them to record another album, on which they worked the first month of 1977. It resulted in recording "Cancion del Sur" (/song of youth). The title track derived from René Olive.

6. EMI                   Los Jaivas : Cancion del Sur (1977)***°'
                              Tr.1, " La vida magica. Ay,si ! 4 min
The origins of the fusing elements are more melted and blend as before. The Chilean folk with progressive symphonic blend is still successful in this slightly changed and evolved formula. First track is heavy progressive folkrock.
(Some information on some tracks of the album : the title track was inspired by the landscapes in Patagonia (Argentina), and "Dum Dum Tambora" was developed on an Uruguyan poem).

The group gave a farewell concert in Argentina for 20,000 fans and with the Symphonic Orchestra before they moved again. They arrived with a group of 27 persons to Spain first until finally install themselves in Paris, France. They started to gig in Europe at first in small jazz clubs and mostly for lots of Chileans mostly. (Later they will also tour in the USSR).
Since 1979 they also started with adapting some Violetta Parra songs to their repertoire, like "Arriba Quemando El Sol".
Early 1980 the group made an extensive tour in Spain to prove their original (progressive) use of traditional instruments. In the press this was called "rock with roots". Alberto Ledo left the group to settle down in the US (where he recorded his solo album "Materia Prima" /Raw Material".
The group then began experimenting more with new musical ideas and sounds. They were invited by Radio France for a concert. Therefore they decided to adapt more Violeta de Parra songs as a Chilean roots foundation, transformed into small symphonic works. As a project / event it had much attention in France.
The group then began experimenting more with new musical ideas and sounds. They were invited by Radio France for a concert. Therefore they decided to adapt more Violeta de Parra songs as a Chilean roots foundation, transformed into small symphonic works. As a project / event it had much attention in France.

In the beginning of 1981, Daniel Caminos, a Peruvian friend and film producer in exile in France suggested to adapt "Alturas de Macchu Picchu" from Pablo Neruda not only as an epic rock opera but also to perform it on TV on the village in the mountains itself. At the time of the first suggestion they were touring in Spain. When Way said he obtained permissions to shout the film in Peru the group decided to compose music for the poems by Neruda. The group mostly financed the project themselves and pre-recorded the introduction in Paris in July and August 1981. The 6th of Speptember they travelled to Peru to finish the score. Chanel 13 of the Catholic University in Chile and Canal 7 in Peru participated, under direction of the Chilean Reinaldo Sepúlveda. Also the Peruvian government cooperated and the Air Force brought over the grand piano and instruments with helicopters. The group restored some instruments like the trutruca, a traditional instrument which resembles an Alpine horn.

7. Columbia            Pablo Neruda & Los Jaivas : Alturas de Macchu Picchu (1981)*****
                                   Tr.2, "La poderosa muerta" 12 min
                                Tr.4, "Aguila Sideral" 6 min
                              Tr.5, "Antigua America" 6 min

"The Way to Macchu Picchu" had a lot to do with Pablo as Spanish Republican refugee. Pablo Neruda was in exile between 1948 and 1952. First he wrote "Canto General" published in 1950 where he explored the struggle of the South American people from poverty and oppression with at the same time a description of the beautiful ancient land. "Alturas de Macchu Picchu" can be considered as the second section of this "Canto General". It starts also as a more surrealist description of the world around him : "From air to air, like an empty net, dredging through streets and ambient atmosphere I came,.." with after the end of his pilgrimage and the reaching of the ruins he felt the city and the ability to express for the first time for those people who are now dead and were not able to speak before. Here Pablo used the ancient deserted city and its mystery within the question of what has been lost by the rude conquer of its original culture as a metaphor for his own times people's voice as the lost voice of the North American people in general, who sadly lost their ability but also their allowness to speak for themselves. Those people that build this society now were kept silent and buried. "All through the earth joins all, the silent wasted lips, and out of the depth speaks to me this long night, as if I was anchored with you here." This is comparable with what the less known Celan said : "There was an earth inside them and they dug.. they did not grow wise, made up no song, thought up no kind of language. They just dug." Those people were not building a beautiful Inca city but their own graves. Neruda finished the poem with "Hablad por mi palabras y mi sangre" or "Speak through my words and blood".
Unless the metaphoric oppression of those days related with the silence of now of what happened a beautiful mystery still remains.
It is from that point that those souls still speak. This kind of musical epos  builds further on those elements that became part of an evolution in society.
The painting of René represented the Inti Watanda, a secret astronomical stone altar in Macchu Picchu.
The release of the album with single sold very good in Chile. EMI from Chile also released almost jointly, the compilation album "Mambo de Machaguay" which also contained the singles "Mambo De Machaguay" with "Inca Dream" (also known as "Sueño Del Inca"), both in Chilean folkrock style.

Highly recommended album. "Unique adaptation of Neruda's work. Great instrumentation.
Beside rock and Latin folk instruments various keyboard instruments were used too (like mini-moog,clavelin,..). I have chosen the tracks were composed most independent from folk.

Both the albums 'Los Jaivas' and 'Alturas de Macchu Picchu' resemble some of the Italian classics, due also to the clear composing and the classical piano fundament.

Pablo Neruda page at

Review in English from the album at
and with soundfile :
Part of the Macchu Picchu text at (part of original texts at at
(part of
and at
An article in English at
Small English article :

In June 1982 they signed a contract with the Chilean CBS. The group was for some months able to return in their country. In October 1982 they were also actually the first band to return after the Pinochet years.
In Paris they recorded another single to promote their upcoming album, "Huairuro" with "Mambo De Machaguay". The album was going to be called "Aconcagua" :

8. Columbia          Los Jaivas : Aconcagua (1982)***°
                               Tr.7, "Corre que te pillo" 10 min

This album contains more traditional folk tunes with a rock flavour.
The registration of the album was combined with touring and was finally recorded in Santiago, in Chile. After having toured in Chile they continued in the rest of South America and Europe. At that time they recorded two live albums, "Los Jaivas in Argentina" and "Los Jaivas En Moscú", both less known and hard to find albums.
After some silence they finally returned to Paris to register their "Works of Violetta Parra" (mentioned before). It was merely adding some adjustments at the work earlier interpreted in 1980 for Radio France : 
It was actually Robert Wyatt who published before, in 1982,  an interpretation of Violetta Parra's "Arauco tiene una pene" before, in 1982 (publisghed by Hanibal Records, on the social inspired "Nothing can stop us").  His version is beautifully sung, but instrumentally it's nothing else but a musically achieved nice rhythm. I preferred to play the original song by Violeta (published by Warner Music Chile, at "Canciones reencontradas en París") to compare with what Los Jaivas made of it. Violetta has a hauntingly beautiful voice that touches the heart immediately. The folk protest style was a most vivid uniting foundation, a folk voice against the dictator's oppression.

9/11. Columbia            Los Jaivas : Obras de Violeta Parra ((1980-)1984)****°
                                  Tr.1, " Arauco tiene una pena " 12 min
                                Tr.8, " En los Jardines Humanos " 10 min

Very good work. More than 70 minutes long. Was originally released as a double album.
This album uses songs by Chilean folk songwriter Violeta Parra (the title translates as "Works of Violeta Parra"). Los Jaivas translate his folkloristic songs into progressive, almost symphonic tracks, at times very complex.

Violeta Parra Page at
Violeta Parra lyrics at
Drawing :
Review of this album :

In 1985 the band starts to tout in the US and Canada for the first time, with success.
March '88 they announced a Chilean tour to celebrate their 25 years of existence. A new member Fernando Flowers joins the band. The Santa Laura concert on 23the of March was followed by 20,000 people. The group offered a stage act with a dance choreography. This success made them survive and stand against all fashions.
In Peru they were invited by the wife of the president to make an extensive tour including a new video on the ruins of Sacsaywamán. The big performance in Santa Laura was registered and published as a live in Chile disc ("En Vivo: Chile").
When drummer Gabriel Parra went to Peru from Chile to set up the arrangements for the tour and new movie to see if it could be done properly, he sadly died on a car accident on his way to Lima, Peru. To his funeral went 25000 Chileans..
The live album came out shortly thereafter, and contained a contributing picture of the drummer. It was sold well, especially in memory of the drummer.
Also the following album "Si Tú No Estás" (1989) was another tribute. It's still one of the only full albums I still did not hear yet.

The group continued to tour where in 1990 his daughter had taken over the drum seat. Some reorganisations and re-examinations of their old work occurred, like the final publication of "Palomita Blanca" which finally resulted in a new work "Hijeos de Tierra" (/"Children of the Earth") in 1992.

14. ColumbiaLos Jaivas : Hijos De Tierra (1992)*°
This album reflected their heritage, but still sounds a bit more mainstream than before. I decided not to play any track of it.

Review from the album "Hijos de tierra" (1992) at

Then the group happened to have a long inactivity. Finally the incorporation of the daughter of Gabriel, Juanitta Parra replacing in action led to the group's revival.
The group rerecorded old albums with new musicians, "Todos Juntos", "Hijeos De Tierra" and performed also "Alturas De Macchu Picchu" which resulted in the live album "Los Jaivas en Argentina". This was meant to present this old material to the Chilean public.
In 1996 "Todos Juntos / We all together" became the official hymn of the Latin American Summit of Presidents that took place in Santiago of Chile. The song is the example of the union of generations and spirits who have obtained "Los Jaivas" through their full music of magic and humanitarian feelings.
In 1997 they also had a concert titled "Los Jaivas Y Amigos" that counted on the participation of earlier member Mario Mutis, with Julio Anderson, Pajarito Canzini and Fernando Flowers. This concert was released as an album called "trilogy-El Reencuentro". It participated other National legends, like Illapu, Isabella Parra, Congreso, Eduardo Gatti, the Argentine Leon Gieco and also Joe Vasconcellos.

I do not know what Los Jaivas did in 1998, but in 1999 they released a big concept with choir called "Mamalluca", musically an interesting album. The concept is about the following subject : In the valley of the Elqui, in the zone of the Chilean small Northern region, there is place where the citizens are sure earth and sky is magical. Within this consciousness the decided to create "an eye that watches the sky", an astronomical observatory for common citizens on the Mamalluca hill, which was a place with historical-magical connotations, and a ritual site of the Incas. Los Jaivas were invited to participate in the project and after their visit they wrote the poem "Mamalluca". At the same time the group took the opportunity to record with a real symphonic adjustments. It became a very ambitious work with the National Symphonic Orchestra and the Symphonic Choir of the University of Chile, with the Mamalluca Choir, together making about 90 musicians. The nature of the valley has been contributed in some songs. The production and combination is made to convince the project, but the release didn't have the success the group expected. besides they sang to a magical valley they did here also a mini tribute to the poetry of Gabriela Mistral who was originary of that region.

17. Columbia          Los Jaivas : Symphonic Works, vol 1 : Mamalluca (1999)**°
                                      Tr.9, " Elqui " 6 min
                                 Tr.10, " Mamaluca " 16 min

An album with choir and orchestra. Some arrangements are less progressive than more early works. This is made to be(come) a more popular work. More the overall effect than the subtlety of the orchestra has been used to convince the music.

The following album "Los Jaivas en el bar-restaurant "Le que nunca se supo" released in 2000 I did not find that special in style :
18. Columbia          Los Jaivas en el bar-restaurant "Le que nunca se supo"  (2000)

The album after that  "Arrebol" released in 2001 I did not hear yet.

"Unfortunatly in January 2003 Eduardo "Gato" Alquinta died of a heart attack while we was in the beach in Coquimbo ( central north of Chile, near Elqui valley where is hill mamalluca). The conmotion in Chile were very very big in fact near 250.000 people (an official account, this was a sociological phenomen) went to say the last good bye to "Gato" (his coffin was placed in Estación Mapocho, a railway station reacondicionated in a cultural event place ).

But Los Jaivas didn't dissapear. This year they are celebrating theirs 40 years in music and they are continuing doing gigs through Chile. They recluted three sons of Gato Alquinta, and a daughter who sings. One of these sons plays the guitar and a another son plays wind andean instruments. I have read comments and all say that they are doing well.

The next project ( that was going on while Gato was still live ) is to put music to Vicente Huidobro poems ( Vicente Huidobro, Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral are the three icons of chilean poetry)." F.Torre


Audio :
Homepage: or                                         
More information (in Spanish) and covers at                                                  &
A Spanish speaking site about the group (with some disc covers too) at           
and at
More info in English :
Los Jaivas fan page (various pages) :
Another page (Spanish/English, with several MP3 files) at
Discography Los Jaivas at
& (until 1997) at 
Japanese discography with comments at
Reviews Los Jaivas (in English) at
Remark (in English) at
Chords of their songs at
and at
Sound files at
Recent interview :
Otrder albums at
DVD review see below->

two of the various covers that exists
2nd LP-version

Page completely updated : 2003-03-05

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main index menu of the Radioshow "PVHF"
SonyLos Jaivas : Las Alturas de Macchu Picchu (CHI/ARG,1981)*****

I was very curious about this video recorded on top of Machu Picchu. The instruments (ethnic flutes and trumpets, drums, a big white grand piano, moog and Rhodes keyboards, electric guitars) and their white costumes, are given a rightful place and significance to tell the story today and to have played at this location, as a kind of tribute, as a historical document with literature (Pablo Nerduda), poetic, historical and musical value of top quality. Folklore elements are well adapted into a clear and understandable symphonic rock context. Although the DVD indicates that there are subtitles in 4 languages, I only get Spanish subtitles whatever I tried. In between the songs there are some explanations on the backgrounds in Neruda’s text, which makes the musical performance partly also a documentary. From the bonus extras I found the video clip compiled with a performance of the same song on different locations and times, recorded between 1981 and 2000, also worth seeing. The interviews with the band on their history I had to skip, because the subtitles didn’t work. A DVD of historical importance.

Info :
Description :
Spanish review :
Fragment of the video at