Alex Anwandter’s contribution to singing, songwriting, musical composition, film direction and activism is unparalleled in Chilean media. All of the young artist’s talents collide in the video for his new single “Cordillera,” premiering today on Remezcla. A standout track off his latest record Amiga, “Cordillera” follows Anwandter’s penchant for searing social critique delivered over a catchy disco beat.” The song is a kind of elegy to protest songs; a lament on how artists many times lack connection with the issues around them. It cites famous Chilean protest songs from the 60s such as ‘Arriba en la Cordillera’ by Patricio Manns or ‘Mira Cómo Sonríen’ by Violeta Parra,” Anwandter told Remezcla over email. Now with a video treatment, Anwandter’s ode to protest songs is complete as he fills in metaphorical blanks with footage of Chile’s long and bloody history of revolution and oppression.
The video finds Anwandter waking up in a vast deserted plain in middle of the Andes. Nameless and disoriented, he wanders; visions of war-torn, propaganda-filled Chile flashing in the background. Wearing a shabby old suit and glasses reminiscent of deposed president Salvador Allende, we see him grow fatigued, uncertain of what period in history the character inhabits. “Cordillera” is deliberately timeless, bridging the horrors endured during the dictatorship with the frustration of younger generations living through dictatorial paradigms still prevalent in Chilean government and society.
The Andean mountain range is a central character in the Alex Anwandter canon, referenced in numerous songs and representing an ominous figure that looms over all Chileans, defining their geographical isolation and, at times, reclusion from the world. With allusions to lies spewed by conservative newspaper El Mercurio and the guanaco water canons used to placate marches and riots, the Andes are the perfect setting for Anwandter’s salute to formative protest songs. As he goes on to pave his own path of dissent, the Andes will forever remain a cultural reminder of Chile’s turbulent history.
Alex Anwandter’s Amiga is now available on Nacional Records.