Tag Archives: Chinchinero

Street Art Chile: New Mural for Diego Portales

Santiago Centro: Little Chinchinero

Santiago Centro: Little Chinchinero

I love graffiti. Street art. Legal or illegal (with or without permission), I am happy to see artistic expression in spaces that would otherwise be blank or filled with commercial advertising. Of course I’m not talking about vandalistic magic marker scribbling, but rather true works of urban art. Chile has an impressive and particularly rich culture of urban art that stretches back for decades. Forget what New Yorkers have to say about subway graffiti in the 70s or hip hop in the 80s. Chile has a long tradition that not only tolerates, but even encourages, artistic expression in public places. Continue reading

Chinchineros

One of my favorite Chilean characters is the “Chinchinero”

Young Chinchinero in Providencia, SantiagoPara español usa la herramienta de traducción o ve el resumen abajo…

“Chinchineros” are a common site on Santiago streets, especially on weekends. They strap a large drum called a “bombo” vertically on their backs and attach a strap to their foot that is connected to a set of horizontally placed cymbals on to of the drum. The long drumsticks are tucked under their arms (chicken-wing style) and they start to dance and twirl like dirvishes without missing a beat.

Chinchineros are usually–perhaps always–men, and the trade is often passed down from father to son. It is especially fun to see the really young boys with their miniature drums dance up a storm. They often wear black felt hats that are then passed among the crowds for tips.

They are often associated with organ grinders (“organilleros”), although I have never personally seen them perform together. Look for them on weekends in busy places such as in front of Santiago’s Estación Central, Bellavista, Providencia, and elsewhere. And don’t worry about missing them–you’ll hear them from blocks away.

Take a look:

Also check out the web site http://www.chinchineros.cl/ (in Spanish, with photos)

Do you have a story about chinchineros? ¡Please tell us!

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  • EN ESPAÑOL

“El chinchinero” es uno de mis personajes chilenos favoritos. Llevan un bombo vertical colgado de la espalda, a modo de mochila, sobre el que se sitúan dos platillos horizontales que están amarrados por una cuerda al pie para hacerlos sonar al ritmo de sus pasos. Llevan una varilla en cada mano, con la que golpean el bombo y bailan girando sobre sí mismos, como si fuera una tormenta.

Es una tradición de hombres (casi no se ven mujeres chinchineras), que se traspasa de padre a hijo. Y es muy frecuente verlos en tríos: padre, hijo mayor (10-15 años) e hijo menor (3-8 años). Son divertidos los más chicos, con su bombo en miniatura, vestidos igual al padre.

Los puedes encontrar los fines de semana en el Centro, en Providencia y en Bellavista. El sonido de los tambores y los platillos es muy fuerte y escandaloso, por lo que resulta fácil escucharlos de lejos e ir buscándolos por el sonido.

¿Conoces alguna historia sobre chinchineros? ¡Cuéntanosla!