Mariano Ferreyra, a young Argentine student, was tragically shot and killed on 20th October 2010 in a protest involving railway workers of the Railway Union (UF). His murder led to widespread protests throughout Argentina and his story has become a symbol of workers’ struggles and human rights abuses. In court, 17 people are currently on trial for his murder, with head of the UF José Ángel Pedraza charged with instigating the crime.
The idea behind ‘Cuerpo’, a new album dedicated to Ferreyra, came from his cousin, Aitor Graña, who arranged with Radio La Tribu to produce an album featuring different genres, independently funded without state subsidies. The reason behind this? “We believe that [the state] holds some responsibility in the case and it would be hypocritical to accept financial support from them,” says the radio station. Each track is by a different artist or band, with names such as Manu Chao, Vicentico, Las Pastillas del Abuelo, and Gabo Ferro making an appearance.
Proceeds from the album go to the National Coordinator against Police and Institutional Repression (CORREPI). This organisation has played a large role in protests from the Partido Obrero for the murder of Ferreyra, and also brought to light the fact that the police had vacated the area in order for the UF to advance on the protesters on the day of the killing.
The album itself contains a mixture of sounds, from folklore to rock to traditional acoustic Latin music. The lyrics of the songs are meaningful, bringing different ways of thinking and different points of view, many of the songs based on the theme of political violence and repression, death and the struggle of the working class. “Some of the songs have literal lyrics and others are more poetic,” says Diego Skliar, a participant in the production of the CD.
The decision to name the CD ‘Cuerpo’ came from the plight of Ferreyra and others like him. “We decided to use a simple word, one which was easy to remember and yet still summarises the case. […] There is also something in the physical presence of having been able to bury Mariano’s body, which is interesting when you think of Argentina’s history where there have been so many disappearances, both during the dictatorship and also during democracy.”
The disc was released on the 20th October coinciding with the second anniversary of Ferreyra’s death.
Skliar has high aspirations for Cuerpo: “We hope that it marks an era, that it puts popular music at the heart of the protest, that the music puts across what happened and how it happened. Hopefully it will be a record that will reach people who do not understand the importance of Mariano’s death”.
Indeed, Graña expresses his hopes that “the death of Mariano will serve to revive his memory and to stop so many other ‘Marianos’ who are killed in different ways, repressed by democracy, from being forgotten. Music, communication and culture puts across our cry for justice in Cuerpo.”
Cuerpo costs $25 and can be purchased online at www.panaldeideas.com or collected from the radio station at Lambaré 873, Almagro. 11-4865-7554.