ICIP has released two songs composed by 120 victims who left Colombia because of the armed conflict, and the Colombian singer-songwriter based in Barcelona, Marta Gómez. This innovative initiative of citizen participation was promoted by the Truth Commission of Colombia.

The proposal for this project came from the Catalunya Node, a meeting and coordination space for organizations that support the work of the Commission. The Node has led the task of taking 120 testimonies from victims of the conflict living in Catalonia (out of more than a thousand interviews that have been conducted worldwide).

“It is essential to accompany the victim interviews with psychosocial support measures; that is why we decided to organize these workshops. We wanted to turn emotions and experiences into music with the aim of strengthening healing through an artistic exercise,” explains Helga Flamtermesky, one of the Catalunya Node interviewers. “Art is a great tool to process traumatic events such as exile and migration,” says ICIP member Ana Isabel Barrera. “During the interviews, we realized that people not only talked about what they felt living outside of Colombia, but also asked questions about the country,” she added.

Two songs, two audiovisuals

This observation inspired the creation of two songs that complement each other. The first one, “Surcos de amor,” talks about the relationship that the victims have with Colombia in their imagination. The second one, “Vuelve,” is intended as a symbolic response from Colombia to the victims.

The songs are performed by the Colombian singer-songwriter based in Catalonia, Marta Gómez. The artist was one of the people in charge of leading the workshops that she remembers in a very special way:

“The workshops were a gift to my soul. At first I thought it would be very difficult to try to compose a song with people who had never written one, but it ended up being a magical experience,” she says.

“In the end, all those people who told me shyly at the beginning of the workshop that they wouldn’t know what to say ended up becoming creative writers, capable of expressing everything they had experienced and suffered through, turning it into poetry,” she adds.

The two songs that were created will be published on Spotify, in an EP entitled “Canciones de ida y vuelta.” But the process has also resulted in two audiovisual products: a documentary and a music video.

The producer, Iván Guarnizo, has recorded the creative process of producing the songs in a short documentary entitled “Tejiendo canciones.”  About this process he says: “The documentary is about a collective creative process. We witness how the participants get to know each other and, together, weave the song until the singer-songwriter records it in a studio.”

In addition, Karolina Villarraga, of the MicuFilm production company, won a public competition to produce a music video for “Vuelve.” She decided to film an animated video starring a masked mother bear and her bear cub.

“We chose the masked bear, an emblematic animal of Colombia, as a symbolic character and protagonist of the narrative, bearing in mind that the armed conflict also affects the environment,” explains the person in charge of the music video.

The two songs, the documentary and the music video were presented on 17 September at 8pm in an online event where the artists talked about the creative process.