Union Songs

El Pueblo Unido

A song by Sergio Ortega©Sergio Ortega 1973

- [play]

El pueblo unido jamás será vencido,
el pueblo unido jamás será vencido...

De pie, cantar que vamos a triunfar.
Avanzan ya
banderas de unidad.
Y tú vendrás
marchando junto a mí
y así verás
tu canto y tu bandera florecer,
la luz
de un rojo amanecer
anuncia ya
la vida que vendrá.

De pie, luchar
el pueblo va a triunfar.
Será mejor
la vida que vendrá
a conquistar
nuestra felicidad
y en un clamor
mil voces de combate se alzarán
canción de libertad
con decisión
la patria vencerá.

Y ahora el pueblo
que se alza en la lucha
con voz de gigante
gritando: ¡adelante!

El pueblo unido jamás será vencido,
el pueblo unido jamás será vencido...

La patria está
forjando la unidad
de norte a sur
se movilizará
desde el salar
ardiente y mineral
al bosque austral
unidos en la lucha y el trabajo
la patria cubrirán,
su paso ya
anuncia el porvenir.

De pie, cantar
el pueblo va a triunfar
millones ya,
imponen la verdad,
de acero son
ardiente batallón
sus manos van
llevando la justicia y la razón
con fuego y con valor
ya estás aquí
junto al trabajador.

The people united will never be defeated,
The people united will never be defeated...

Arise, sing we are going to win.
Flags of unity
are now advancing.
And you will come
marching together with me,
and so you'll see
your song and your flag blossom.
The light
of a red dawn
already announces
the life to come.

Arise, fight
the people are going to win.
The life to come
will be better.
To conquer
our happiness.
and a clamor
of a thousand fighting voices will rise,
a song of freedom.
With determination
the fatherland will win.

And now the people,
who are rising in struggle
with a giant voice
crying out: Forward!

The people united will never be defeated,
The people united will never be defeated...

The fatherland is
forging unity,
from north to south
they're mobilizing.
From the salt mines
burning and mineral
to the southern forests.
united in struggle and labor
they go
covering the fatherland.
Their steps already
Announce the future.

Arise, sing
the people are going to win
millions now
are imposing the truth
Their steel battalions
are on fire,
taking in their hands
justice and reason.
with fire and courage
is already here
Along side the worker.


One day in June, 1973, three months before the bombing by Pinochet's military coup, I was walking through the plaza in front of the Palace of Finance in Santiago, Chile, and saw a street singer shouting, "The people united will never be defeated" - a well known Chilean chant for social change. I couldn't stop, and continued across the square, but his incessant chanting followed me and stuck in my mind.

On the following Sunday, after the broadcast of the show "Chile Says No to Civil War", which I directed for Channel 9, we went with a few artists to eat at my house outside Santiago. Upon arrival I sat down at my piano and thought about the experience in the plaza and the events at large. When I reproduced the chant of the people in my head, the chant that could not be restrained, the entire melody exploded from me: I saw it complete and played it in its entirety at once. The text unfurled itself quickly and fell, like falling rocks, upon the melody. In their enthusiasm some of my guests made suggestions that were too rational for the situation I was composing in. Out of courtesy I pretended to accept, but arranged myself to leave the text in its symptomatic landscape.

The song was performed in public two days later by the group Quilapayun in a heavily attended concert in the Alameda.
--Sergio Ortega, on El Pueble Unido

Today the slogan "The people united will never be defeated" can be heard on May Day marches around the world translated into many languages.

see also Wikipedia

In his recent blog Marc Andreessen writes:

In 1975, the great contemporary American composer Frederic Rzewski composed a set of 36 variations for solo piano under the name "The people united will never be defeated." His composition is probably the preeminent American work for solo piano in the 20th century, and is likely to stand over time as a peer to Beethoven's similar "Diabelli Variations".


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