One great aspect of getting to know or visiting another country is getting a feel for the place by listening to some of the music. Unfortunately, radio play is so international these days, that merely listening to the radio from another country (which you can do online) will often not give you a taste of what’s going on in the music scene once you cross the border. In fact, my local radio station (Radio Futuro) almost never plays any Chilean music at all.
Independent Music in Chile
Chile has a healthy independent music scene, with many venues (to be added soon!) where indie bands play. Several bands (indie and not) will be performing at Lollapalooza next month (second round of tickets go on sale today, Feb. 11th!). But what if you’re not going to Lollapalooza, or if you just want to hear a little Chilean music to figure out what you like? Many Chilean bands (such as Matorral) have pages on Myspace, and this works for listening to the music, but you can’t buy it. Also, now I’ve told you the name of one indie band, but if you don’t have a list on hand, you’d be hard-pressed to find a long list of indie Chilean bands and would have to go through, Myspace page by Myspace page to hear samples.
But there is another option, a consolidator and seller of indie Chilean music, if you will. It’s a website called Portaldisc. On Portaldisc, you can listen to 30-second clips of the several hundred Chilean bands that sell their music online, and you can also buy a set of codes to be able to trade them in for music. If you buy ten codes, each album only costs around $6 US, which is a great way to get some music for cheap and support indie artists at the same time. Give codes to indie music lover friends for their birthday, and gain big points for your crazy, esoteric (and useful) gift. I’ve downloaded three albums already (in my case, of Nano Stern, but your music taste may vary). Styles range from ex-pop, hip-hop, to folk, rock and everything in between. You don’t end up with the disc itself, or the cover art, but many of us, those are small prices to pay. Currently you can only download entire discs, but projects are in the works on other websites where you should be able to buy single songs. Update forthcoming. Oh, and don’t be afraid of a scary site written in Spanish, they’ve thought that part through, and here’s a link to PortalDisc in English.
And if you’re more into movies than music, don’t miss these 5-must-see Chilean Movies.
Coming soon: hip hop festival in Santiago.