While you slept, you sang (Mientras dormías, cantabas)

Grief and family secrets to the rhythm of cumbia.


It is New Year’s Eve in the commune of La Pintana, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Santiago. Marta celebrates the night with her family, but the rhythm of the cumbias welcoming the new year brings back memories of her childhood, school days, adolescence, and family.

Leonor, her aunt-sister, passed away years ago after a long battle with an inoperable congenital heart disease and spending several months on the street. Her absence and the guilt still weigh heavily on Marta, as the last time they saw each other, they had an argument and Leonor left without leaving any trace of her past or clues about her new life.

Tonight, Marta is accompanied by Karina and Clara, her mother and grandmother, who have been contradictory maternal figures for her.

At midnight, Marta leaves the house under the pretext of greeting the neighbors, but she goes to visit Gabriel, a neighbor, the best friend, and possibly the boyfriend of the deceased, who has his own emotional baggage due to his mother’s abandonment when he was a child.

Through the voices of her family and her own, Marta faces questions about her identity and her life on this transitional night. Like Gabriel, they both try to resolve the doubts left by the disappearance of the two women who left behind very little information about their lives.

Thus, she discovers that her grandmother and mother were involved in Leonor’s death because, instead of providing her with medical help and under the guise of religion, they subjected her to a treatment to expel the demons that, according to them, were causing her distress.



The novel has been recognized with a special mention for Best Novel at the Literary Awards of the Ministry of Cultures, Arts, and Heritage, the José Nuez Martín Novel Prize from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, and the Atenea Prize.

The title of each chapter comes from the titles of famous cumbias in Chile, which are heard during family celebrations. Similarly, the title of the novel is inspired by a verse from the cumbia “Cumbia para adormecerte.”


What the reviews say:

“When I finished it, I played ‘Cumbia para adormecerte’ and cried a lot. It’s one of those books that would make an incredible movie.” Goodreads

“A beautifully structured book that makes you dance between one time and another. Many stories, many emotions.” Goodreads


AUDIOVISUAL POTENTIAL: TV series, Miniseries, Film, TV Film.


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