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Rolando Alarcón Soto (August 5, 1929 – February 4, 1973) was a Chilean teacher, folklorist, soloist and composer. He became a national-known figure in his home country due to his work as a musician, and at his funeral, even the president, Salvador Allende, expressed his regrets.

Born on August 5, 1929, he grew up in Sewell, Chile, where he lived together with his parents, Atilio Alarcón de la Fuente and Zunilda Soto Riquelme, and his three brothers. At the age of ten he moved to Chillán in order to study, and it was also here he became a teacher. He moved to Santiago in 1950 where he became interested in folk music, and where he in 1951 started specializing, as a teacher, in music.

In Santiago he also became a founding member of first the folk music choir Coro Pablo Vidales, and later an integral part and director of the more successful Cuncumén, which also toured Europe two times in 1957 and 1961, until 1963 when he left the group. He then formed a duo together with Silvia Urbina for a short while, with whom he also recorded a couple of songs in Russian, but in 1965 he started his career as a soloist.

Alarcón was gay, and he kept it in secret due to the hostility lived in that period against the homosexual people. His experiences with living with homosexuality were revealed in the book Raro: A gay history in Chile (2011), by Oscar Contardo.

He died during an operation on February 4, 1973, only 43 years old.


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