By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza
José Railef Calfin
José Railef Calfin was born in 1938 in an indigenous community of the municipality of Freire (province of Cautín, IX Region of the Araucanía). Of Mapuche descent, he was taken to the municipality of Pitrufquén as a child, where he learnt Spanish and, at the same time, became passionate about his people's singing, music and dance and developed an increasing interest in the performance of Mapuche musical instruments.
While his youth, he took part in the community ceremonies, familiarized himself with the old customs and practices and began to research their origins. He had a fantastic voice and in 1975 launched his best known album: "Arauco tañi lcantun" (in Mapudungu, "the singing of Arauco"), where he musically expressed Mapuche daily habits. The album's highlights are "Allkutuaimi Chao" (in Mapudungu, "Advices from a father") and "Machi tañi llñellipun" ("Pleas from a machi").
José Railef Calfín attended many festivals both in his home country and abroad, and was awarded the Gaviota de Plaza prize at the Viña del Mar Festival in 1986 for his theme "Araucana de ojos negros". He also took part in several projects, including the shooting of the film "Los Araucanos" (1978), a documentary coordinated by film director Alejo Álvarez, which features a number of dances characteristic to the culture.
José Railef Calfin passed away in 2005, leaving behind a valuable musical for lovers of the Mapuche sound heritage.
Article. "Arauco tañi lcantun", in Akunayan [es].