In Uruguay at the beginning of the seventies, rock was an alternative music, or, as one of its creators defines it, the musician Jorge Flaco Barral, “Highly underground”. He, together with the communicator Hamlet Danny Faux and the journalist and producer Esteban Leivas, had the idea of promoting concerts that would help spread the Montevideo rock scene, which, except for the success achieved in the sixties by Los Shakers on both banks of the Rio de la Silver enjoyed little popular appeal. Following the example of Argentina, where rock was highly integrated into popular culture, they devised acoustic concerts such as those held in Buenos Aires. “Call the disk The unplug it was an irony, ”explains Leivas. “In 1972 power outages were very frequent due to restrictions.” In those years, the most radical left rejected rock as Americanizing. Meanwhile, repression increased, the result of the rarefied political environment. You could be arrested for wearing long hair. At the end of 1972 the two concerts of The unplug, which Faux defines as “a showcase for local musicians to express themselves in a more intimate context”. The call brought together names that are already the history of Uruguayan music such as Eduardo Darnauchans, Jorge Vallejo, Creation y Testimonio, Yabor or Barral. It was a success.
A complicated political context
The political context of that Uruguay was turbulent. American Dan Mitrione, sent by the CIA to train police and military personnel in torture, was executed in 1970 by the Tupamaros guerrilla group (a fact that would inspire the film Site statusby Costa-Gavras). This, added to the appearance in 1971 of the left-wing coalition Frente Amplio, put the military leadership on alert, which in 1973 carried out a coup that plunged the country into a dictatorship until 1985. The course of events made it impossible to publish the tapes of He unplugged. Almost half a century later, its promoters have made the album see the light. Uruguay has a very rich music scene, but, unlike its Brazilian and Argentine neighbors, and leaving aside names like Jorge Drexler, Jaime Roos, NTVG or Rubén Rada, it lacks international projection. For Faux, it is not easy to define his identity without falling into reductionism. “Its geographical extension is three times smaller than that of Spain and its population is 3,500,000 inhabitants, but its music is surprisingly eclectic: candombe, tango, murga carnival, great singer-songwriters such as Viglietti and Zitarrosa belonging to the movement called Canto Popular.” Leivas believes that this uniqueness also has to do with the absence of a strong music industry in the country at the time, which implied the absence of commercial guidelines.
As in Uruguay he could not live off rock, Barral settled in Spain shortly before the dictatorship. Years later, Faux and Leivas would follow, who when recalling the story of El Deschufazo points out the effect that chance had on the title of one of his songs, that of Jorge Vallejo entitled Don’t destroy my song.