Violeta Parra was born in San Carlos, a province of Ñúble, a small town in southern Chile on October the 4, 1917.
She was the daughter of Clarisa Sandoval, a peasant and Nicanor Parra, a musicteacher. Her childhood was spent in the field.
Among her brothers were the notable modern poet, better known as the "anti-poet", Nicanor Parra and fellow folklorist Roberto Parra. Her son, Ángel Parra,and her daughter, Isabel Parra, are also important figures in the development of the Nueva Canción Chilena. Their children have also mostly maintained the family's artistic traditions.
She revived thePeña (now known as La Peña de Los Parra), a community center for the arts and for political activism.
Her most renowned song, Gracias a la Vida was written and recorded following Parra's separationwith her long-time partner and shortly before she took her own life. Parra's lyricism is ambiguous; at face value, Parra's lyricism may be read as a romantic celebration of life and individualexperience, however the circumstances surrounding the song suggest that Parra also intended the song as a sort of suicide note, thanking life for all it has given her. It may even be read as sarcastic orironic, pointing out that a life full of good health, opportunity and worldly experience may not offer any consolation to grief and the contradictory nature of the human condition.
One of the mostversatile artists to emerge from Chile in the 20th century, Violeta Parra remains as one of the most unique and powerful representatives of the nueva canción movement. A visionary artist, Parra wouldexplore a multitude of platforms for her message of peace and social justice, from music to poetry and painting.
She had to work much of her young life to support the family, and preferred singing andperforming to her formal studies. Parra's father taught all his children to sing and play, and from those modest beginnings, Violeta set out on a singing career as a young girl, moving to Santiago and...
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