Chilean barrel organ maker Manuel Lizana dies at age 73

World famous street organ maker Manuel Antonio Lizana Quezada passed away this Sunday, August 22, after being ill from cancer the last months. Through social media his family and friends spread the bad news and the funeral took place at his residence in the San Ramon Community.

On Sunday’s night the street in front of his house was close due to the massive assistance of Chinchineros (Chilean orchestra men) and street organ grinders whom played music and dance the whole night in his honor. At a younger age Manuel also known as “Tio Manolo” was part of the crew of “La Sonora Santiagueña” as a drummer, therefore live music was played during the night.

At midday on Monday his corp was buried and again dozens of street organ grinders show up at the grave yard and play by turns for him. Chinchineros gathered around the coffin and played together by the sound of the organs.

The following hours after his death messages of support to his family and showing their sorrow were sent from all over the world including Mexico, Argentina, Germany and Russia. People also highlighted his life time work pro culture sharing photos, videos and documentaries on the internet.

Manuel Lizana was born in May of 1949 in Santiago de Chile. He started at the age of 9 as a helper for his father, Hector Lizana Gutierrez selling hand made toys while Hector played the organ. At this young age, he started playing the Chinchin. By the age of 15 he bought his first street organ. But was after many more years of experience in 1991, when he made his first street organ. By 1992 he makes the first barrel for an organ with 8 songs totally by hand. With the year he mastered making organs and barrels, and dedicated his life to this.

“Don Manuel en Berlín”

As a Luthier, “Don Manuel” traveled to Argentina and Mexico in 2002 and attended as an honor guest to street organ fests in Germany in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2011,2014 and 2017. He also and his family also played in Ecuador, Argentina, The United States, Canada, Russia, Peru and Panama among other countries.

His sons, Manuel and Hector continue the tradition as Chinchineros and they also learned from his father the secrets of making barrel organs. Manuel Lizana’s father (Hector Lizana Gutierrez) still alive age 93 years old.

August / 23 /2021