Protest Song Strikes a Chord

  Monica Cohen and Renato Milone


Last summer, Berklee alumnus Renato Milone '09 and current student Monica Cohen created a stir in Cohen's native Colombia. After their song "Mentira"-which translates as "Lie" in Spanish-received nationwide airplay on La W radio in Bogotá, they touched a political nerve among Colombians.

"It's a powerful combination of music and social protest," Milone says. The song sampled the responses of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to a reporter questioning his statements about the late Raul Reyes, a former spokesperson for and adviser to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist guerrilla organization. On his radio show, Chávez had called for a moment of silence for Reyes, though he subsequently denied making the request and denied his affiliation with Reyes and called the entire incident a lie.

Milone and Cohen interspersed the dialogue between Chávez and the reporter with lyrics sung by Cohen. "It's an artistic response to political manipulation of the truth," says Milone. "We don't want to get dragged into a debate about what is or is not true," Cohen says. "We just wanted to move people to ask questions for themselves and create an awareness of political issues."

The song appears on Milone's new album Black Tea, released in October ( Hear it on Cohen's site at