Genias in Music: Violeta Parra

Violeta Parra changed music in her native Chile and beyond. She is known as the “Mother of La Nueva Canción,” a political folk music movement that swept Latin America in the late 1960s. Most people might have heard a version of her masterpiece “Gracias a la vida,” which has been covered countless times across the world. But behind that anthem of gratitude there is a deeply existential and complex musician who presented love as an ethical principle in her songs, even when her own life was marked by loss and illness. In the latest episode of our Genias in Music series —about the lives and work of notable women musicians— we dive into the complexities of Violeta Parra, a pioneer of political folk music in Latin America.

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Latino USA offers insight into the lived experiences of Latino communities and is a window on the current and merging cultural, political and social ideas impacting Latinos and the nation.