Eileen Andrea Karmy Bolton

Research title

The working lives of the organised musicians in Valparaiso (Chile).

Research summary

Between 1930 and 1973, musicians in Chile congregated in different societies and unions seeking for better their working conditions. From the 1940s onwards, the State began to play an important role as an impeller body of industrialisation and democratisation processes, supporting the integration of the middle and lower classes, especially trough the creation of educational institutions and protectionist laws for the development of the arts. In this context, musicians’ unions gain power and offer an important support to musicians working in different areas of the entertainment industries of the time.

In this research, the discussion about music as art or labour appears as a relevant dichotomy to analyse, as well as the self-definition of musicians. It is relevant to consider that musicians of that time worked in different music genres, performing both classical and popular music. Following this, I believe that is significant to think in music as a whole, with the focus on musicians rather than in music itself as an abstraction.

Research interests

  • Music and politics
  • Latin American music and popular culture
  • Popular music studies (history, theory and industries)
  • Musicians’ unions



Karmy Bolton, E. and Farías Zúñiga, M. (2014) Palimpsestos Sonoros: Reflexiones sobre la Nueva Canción Chilena. Ceibo: Santiago de Chile. ISBN: 978-965-9071-74-4

Molina Torres, C. and Karmy Bolton, E. (2012). Tango viajero: Orquestas típicas en Valparaíso (1950-1973). Mago: Santiago de Chile. ISBN: 978-956-317-080-1.

Book Sections:

Karmy Bolton, E. (2014). “Remembrance is not Enough…” (No basta solo el recuerdo…”): The Cantata Popular Santa María de Iquique 40 Years After its Release. In Vila, Pablo (ed). The Militant Song Movement in Latin America: Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina. Lexington: Temple USA, pp. 54-68, ISBN: 0739183249.

Karmy Bolton, E. (2014) La Cantata Popular Santa María de Iquique: Representaciones del Obrero Pampino y del Hombre Nuevo. In Karmy and Farías (comp) Palimpsestos Sonoros: Reflexiones sobre la Nueva Canción Chilena. Ceibo: Santiago de Chile, pp. 99-116, ISBN: 978-956-9071-74-4.


Karmy Bolton, E. (2013). “También yo tengo mi cumbia, pero mi cumbia es chilena: apuntes para una reconstrucción sociohistórica de la cumbia chilena desde el cuerpo”. Resonancias Revista de Investigación Musical del Instituto de Música Facultad de Artes de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. 32, pp. 93-110.

Karmy Bolton, E. Vargas Sepúlveda, A., Mardones Marshall, A. and Ardito Aldana, L. (2013). El trencito rebelde: sobre cómo la cumbia se tomó las calles e hizo bailar a los serios intelectuales de la Unidad Popular. Retrospectiva de la Corporación Chilena de Estudios Históricos. 1, pp. 55-75.

Research Reports:

Karmy Bolton, E. Brodsky Hernández J., Facuse Muñóz, M. and Urrutia Fernández, M. (2013). “El papel de las políticas públicas en las condiciones laborales de los músicos en Chile”. Final Report. CLACSO- ASDI.




  • Becas Chile - doctoral studies abroad 
  • Kenneth Elliott/Sound Thought Scholarship 2015

Additional information

Conference Papers:

“Musical Mutual Aid Society in Valparaíso (1893 -1930) as a forerunner of the first Chilean Musicians’ Union”. Working in Music: The Musicians’ Union, musical labour and employment Conference, Glasgow, January 2016.

Electronic Resources:



  • IASPM 
  • LASA