The Boy From The Plantation

Album: Even in Exile (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • One evening in August 2018, James Dean Bradfield stopped in to see the poet and playwright Patrick Jones, brother of his Manic Street Preachers bandmate Nicky Wire. Jones mentioned he was reading a biography of the Chilean performer and activist Victor Jara, who was brutally murdered by the Pinochet regime in 1973 and that he was writing some poetry about him. Wire played him some of Jura's songs on his record player.

    "I knew quite a lot about Victor Jara, but I'd never really listen to his music," Bradfield told Mojo magazine. "What floored me, to be honest, was his voice, The songs took me over more than a story, in a way, and I said to Pat, can you get me some of the lyrics? I feel that I can turn it into something."

    Bradfield put Jones' words to music and recorded Even in Exile, a concept album based on the life and death of Víctor Jara. This song is the lead single from the record.
  • Jara's mother raised Victor and his siblings after his alcoholic peasant father left the family to look for work. His mom was a self-taught musician who played the guitar and the piano and would sing to her children. Jara's background is evoked in this song:

    When you'd cry I'd wrap you in a blanket
    And sing you my songs
    All I knew to right the wrongs
    As we held onto love


    Bradfield told DIY magazine: "The fact that Victor Jara learnt to play on his mother's guitar became the energy of the music - a mystical connection is forged through the instrument. 'Rivers of us join and run,' hence the repeating of the motif."
  • The song's music video shows Bradfield performing the song alongside clips of Chilean archive footage from the '40s and '50s. Longtime Manics collaborator Kieran Evans directed the clip.
  • Other songs that reference Victor Jara include:

    "Victor Jara's Hands" by Calexico is inspired by Jara's death and legacy.

    "One Tree Hill" by U2 includes the lyric: "Jara sang, his song a weapon. In the hands of love. You know his blood still cries. From the ground."

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