The Last Stretch: From Patagonia to New York City

The eternal search for musical inspiration is often manifested in unexpected ways, and I felt some of the most potent creative upwellings while traveling during my last few months in Chile.  Stumbling into the granite-lined rainforests of Cochamó, riding along the Ruta de Estrellas in Elqui Valley, and trekking along the glaciers of Torres del Paine were rhythmic, naturally symphonic experiences. Even some of the small towns on the outskirts of Chile’s natural wonders—Pichilemu, Puerto Varas, and Puerto Natales to name a few—felt like harmoniously quaint, charming introductions to magnificent expositions.

Grey Glacier in Torres del Paine National Park.
La Junta in Cochamo Valley, Los Lagos Region.

These refreshing excursions reminded me to revisit the larger theme of my research: building communities and establishing cultural narratives through international collaboration.  While at times the musical community in Chile felt like a scattering of heterogeneous groups and styles, my critical (and American) lens may have been narrow to see a wider perspective of togetherness and unity throughout these scenes. In truth, Chile’s musical history, particularly throughout its dictatorship years, has been difficult to draw on a timeline. But it’s perhaps more viable to pick a point after those tumultuous years to begin assessing how globalization, technology, politics, and social issues have affected the nation’s steadily reviving arts culture.

Black sand beaches at Picjilemu, Chile.

In thinking about the arc of my project, I compiled a short video of some B-roll footage that captures the understated, steady energy that defines Chile’s electronic music community. It also serves as a recap featuring many of the brilliant and warm artists I had the pleasure of meeting this year.

Now that I’m back in New York, I’m planning the expansion of the Discobres concept to other Latin American communities through the help of writers and editors in cities like Mexico City, Lima, and Buenos Aires. Through this development, I’d like to explore contemporary Western cultural influence throughout the world, and the ways in which we could mediate diverse international dialogues through art and music. Finally, I’m taking time to reflect on my last year through my own music, integrating inspirations and field recordings from throughout my travels in South America.

Thanks to everyone who followed me and my fellow Fulbrighters’ journeys over the past year!

Last stop of my stay in Chile: Torres del Paine!

I want to express my sincere thanks to the Fulbright Commission, Fulbright Chile, mtvU, Cristian Lopez at the University of Valparaíso, Mika Martini, Jessica Campos, Pablo Salas, Maximo Campos, Francisco Martinez, Emilie McGlone, and all of the artists and music lovers who made my project possible and my stay in Chile welcoming. A special thanks to Thorbjørn Gudnason and Frank LaRocca for design and development.

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