Inti-Illimani has transcended our idea of the musical ensemble and has become a cultural location, a liturgy expressing the essence of the Latin American ethno-musical experience. Founded by Jorge Coulón in 1967, for fifty years Inti-Illimani has performed worldwide before hundreds of thousands of fans, collaborated with folk legends, earned awards and honors for the group’s activism and masterful musicianship, and produced one of the richest discographies in Latin American recording history. Indeed, Inti-Illimani’s premier album, Nueva Canción, or “new song,” spoke to the ensemble’s role in dreaming a new vision for Chile during the volatile sociopolitical landscape of South America in the 1960s and 1970s. They have endured political exile, embodied creative leadership through decades of transition and evolution, and enjoyed an invaluable, truly majestic career.
Inti-Illimani’s poetry—a sound that captures memories of persecution, love, loss, revolution, social justice, and freedom—has enchanted the ear of legendary artists with whom they have performed and recorded, including Peter Gabriel, Patricio Manns, John Williams, and Paco Peña. They have also shared stages with Mercedes Sosa, Emma Thompson, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Wynton Marsalis, Tracy Chapman, Arja Saijonmaa, Holly Near, Yousssou N’Dour, and Pete Seeger. Most recently, Joan Baez invited them to perform with her at Teatro Caupolicán in Santiago, Chile.
Few Latin American acts can rival this Chilean group in terms of the sheer beauty of sound. Much like a Zen affirmation, Inti-Illimani’s music floats within your soul, filling it with calmness and hope.
—Los Angeles Times
An Inti-Illimani concert is a wild ride through Latin music, a whirlwind of Andean folk tunes, tangos from Argentina, Brazilian sambas, and throbbing, sobbing love songs from Mexico . . . all the players displayed relentless virtuosity in a concert that was pure exhilaration to the very end.