The music industry is changing. For years big corporations and record labels have controlled what we listen to. On the radio, in record stores, and in bars or clubs, the modes of distribution have been monopolized by the big names of the world. With advancements in technology, the Internet has brought us many changes in the way we create, promote, and share our music. This has shaped the industry and forced artists and labels alike to seek out new and creative methods to get the music out there. In Chile, it’s called Yatoka.
Yatoka is a project aimed at promoting Chilean music at home and abroad, through “pocket documentaries", short films which showcase live performances in non-traditional venues such as parks, museums, markets, or historical sites. These urban settings provide a backdrop of real-life, while narrowing the focus on raw music. Interacting with locals and performing impromptu sessions gives credit to the idea of street musicians and empowers people to create and produce their own projects.
These brief clips not only shine a light on Chilean musicians, but they give viewers a sense of who these bands are. For example in Banda Conmoción’s video, the intro of bright colors, on a sunny day at La Casa de "La Hormiguita" in Santiago, offers a setting for the style of music to be heard. Children running around in costumes with their own instruments, sharing in the communal sound, suggest this group is more of a collective than a band. One giant family that operates like an organic co-op, where each musician plays an instrument to be shared with one another. It’s clear that Banda Conmoción makes music for each other, not for the industry.
The site is setup very simply. Each band has a page that includes a biography, a description of their sound, links to their music, and two Yatoka videos. On The Ganjas’ page they take their music up to Cerro San Cristobal, one of the most visited tourist spots in Santiago. In the first video, three of the four members play an acoustic jam ascending the “funicular.” In the second video (below), the band solemnly rocks out with a backdrop of the sun setting on a dim Santiago, concluding with an explosive finale. The scenery is amazing but the sentiment is greater. The Ganjas are an age-old band that could be playing big stadiums for lots of money, but they continue to play small venues around Santiago for cheap, and on this day they were playing freely for tourists and locals alike.
All of the bands featured on Yatoka are Chilean, but the locations differ. First, not all the musicians are Santiaguinos. You can find the lead singer of Pascuala Ilabaca winding an accordion, alone on top of a Cerro in Valparaíso. The trio of Fuma & Baila can be found rocking through the fish market in their hometown of Valdivia. Up north in Iquique, Natalia Bernal’s beautiful voice lights up the mountains behind the Pacific. And all the way down in the Straight of Magellanes, Lluvia Ácida is raining in buckets.
The landscapes of the videos are as diverse as the styles of music, and it doesn’t stop in Chile. Some of the bigger acts can be seen performing in Europe. Those of which include Chico Trujillo, Chinoy, Gepe, DJ Raff and Dënver fill the beaches, streets, and historical buildings of Barcelona, Spain.
Yatoka offers even more artists than mentioned in this article so check out the website listed below to discover some new Chilean music for yourself and share it!