Last Friday night, the great Chilean singer-poet Victor Jara was honored by a tribute concert at Sol Art Gallery Cafe in Santa Ana. The experience was amazing to say the least, and this blog will have more to say about the show once pictures and videos are ready! In the run-up to the concert, I wrote an article for the Orange County Weekly about Victor Jara and headlining performer Pilar Diaz, the lead singer of Los Abandoned which was published on September 27th. But before that article, there was another…
I originally contacted Pilar back in 2004, hoping for primary sources to include in my then university senior thesis re-write on La Nueva Cancion Chilena. She emailed me back and put me in contact with her father, Jaime Gerardo Diaz. We spoke and emailed each other about the song movement and his experiences in Chile at that time. These original interviews were indispensable to the analytical framing of my research as Pilar’s father really broadened my perspectives. I quoted Jamie Gerardo Diaz throughout my work.
I submitted my finished 25 page article on La Nueva Cancion Chilena to the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies on December 9th, 2004. I had never published anything before in my life, but my Latin American History professor, Dr. James Brennan, believed in me so much that I followed through. It wasn’t until April 12th, 2006 that I was informed by the editorial board of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies that my article was significantly lacking in the areas of “new material” and “theoretical vantage point.”
Disappointed, I emailed Jaime Gerardo Diaz to tell him the bad news. He replied: “Opportunities in life are many. Not just because one of them didn’t work, you are going to lose hope. To the contrary, this is a wonderful experience to learn on how to improve and get to better places than the ones you wanted before. Keep on trying.”
And keep on trying I have. This Saturday, I was in Long Beach waiting on my carne asada burrito from Belmont Burgers when I picked up a copy of the OC Weekly to read the article miles from my home. A year and a half after my major disappointment, I now find myself able to disperse the ideas in my mind, whereas at the university they remained suffocated in isolation. In terms of the writing world, in the words of Los Abandoned, “Conquistarte Bien/ Conquistarte Bien/ I’m Gonna!”