A MAN AND A GUITAR: Chilean musician Nano Stern is preparing to perform at Mullum Music Festival later this month.
A MAN AND A GUITAR: Chilean musician Nano Stern is preparing to perform at Mullum Music Festival later this month.

Songs with a Stern message of social justice for Chile

CHILEAN musician Nano Stern is busy, singing for the people of his country.

After social unrest broke throughout the country in October against the Chilean Government, the musician has been part of a troupe of artists supporting the social demands against President Sebastian Pinera.

After 15 deaths, more than 250 people disappeared, thousands in jail and a UN envoy checking on the situation, life in the South American country is tense, ahead of Stern's performance at Mullum Music Festival, later this month.

You were part of the new recording of Victor Jara's The Right To Live in Peace with other Chilean artists, what did it mean for you to record that song at this precise moment?

It was an opportunity to be part of an urgent call for the removal of the military from the streets.

The recording gathered a lot of musicians who do not necessarily think the same way, and that was very significant.

You can not imagine how powerful it was to feel Victor Jara's presence and to realise how deeply transcendent his songs are. Almost 50 years after his murder, his voice resonates stronger than ever and became once again the voice of his people.

I was about to burst into tears, every second of that session. To think that there were people being shot at, at that very moment we were recording, just blocks from the studio, in downtown Santiago.

What kind of show will you be preparing for Mullum Music, will it be related to what is currently happening in Chile?

Given that I will be performing solo, I don't really have the need to plan ahead in terms of repertoire.

I like that freedom and it allows you to reflect the very feelings you are experiencing at any given moment.

Now, my country is undergoing a social revolution and that has had a deep personal impact on me, so, most definitely the current events will have a big influence on my shows in Australia.

What would you like to say to Chileans in Australia? What can they do to help?

They can and must help to shed light on the human rights abuses that have occurred in Chile in the last weeks.

It is also our collective responsibility to denounce the insane inequality that results from such radical neoliberal systems such as that imposed in Chile by the powers at be throughout Pinochet's dictatorship and maintained by successive governments in the 30 years since it's end.

What would you like to tell Australians about what's happening in Chile?

Chile has been turned into a sort of wunderkind of neoliberalism.

I think the main lesson to be learned here is that not all that shines is gold. That economic growth is worthless if its product is not well distributed amongst all members of a society. Not only is it worthless, but it is morally unacceptable.