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Pinochet's torture soundtrack featured George Harrison, Julio Iglesias

Katia Chornik, a researcher from the University of Manchester, sheds light on the "torture soundtrack" used during Augusto Pinochet's brutal regime in Chile.
By VERONICA LINARES, UPI.com   |   Sept. 11, 2013 at 1:28 PM   |   Comments

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Sept. 11 (UPI) -- A new study has determined that songs by George Harrison and Julio Iglesias were used to torture prisoners during the regime of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile.

University of Manchester researcher Doctor Katia Chornik unveiled Pinochet's "torture soundtrack" while investigating the use of music in the General's infamous torture houses, concentration camps and prisons.

According to former prisoners, the soundtrack included Harrison's "My Sweet Lord," the entire track list to Stanley Kubrick's film "A Clockwork Orange" and songs by Spanish crooner Iglesias. The songs were reportedly played for days at a time.

According to the study, the torture music was used for different purposes. One former prisoner said her jailers would sing her the Italian pop hit "Gigi l'Amoroso" as they were taking her to the interrogation room and then carried on with the song as they were physically torturing her.

Another prisoner said music normalized torture and another said music would help prisoners bolster their courage ahead of torture.

"Music brought prisoners together because it was a way to deal with their terrible suffering," Chornik said.

"But music was also a form of testimony. Many prisoners did not officially exist, so many were to disappear without trace and songs were a way of remembering who they were and what they believed in."

Chornik added that while many of the tracks might not seem torturous, "played at intensely high volumes for days on end, the otherwise popular songs were used to inflict psychological and physical damage."

Chornik is currently working on a project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, called "Sounds Of Memory: Music And Political Captivity In Pinochet's Chile."

Pinochet's regime lasted from 1973 until 1990.

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