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date: 14 October 2019

Parra, Violetalocked

  • Juan Pablo Gonzalez

Extract

(b San Carlos, Nuble, October 4, 1917; d Santiago, February 5, 1967). Chilean traditional singer, collector, cantautor (singer-songwriter), poet and artist. Parra inherited a folkloric repertory from her parents, singing with members of her family in circuses, theatres and bars in Santiago. From 1953 she dedicated her life to the subject of Chilean folklore: collecting, broadcasting on radio, recording and teaching. During the periods 1954–6 and 1961–4 she lived in France, based in Paris, performing in festivals, theatres, clubs, radio and television and recording Chilean music. In 1964 her art was exhibited at the Louvre’s Musée des Arts Decoratifs. On her return to Chile she installed a tent in a suburb of Santiago called La Reina, and here she lived and worked with Chilean popular culture, performing until her premature death by suicide.

With intuitive and powerful talent, Parra consciously introduced an original aesthetic to popular urban song, bringing together distinctive aspects of different Latin American traditions in a manner which could be described as a kind of ‘primitivism’, while at the same time developing literary, musical and performing aspects of the tradition, establishing her own influential models of popular Chilean musics during the 1960s. She had seminal influence on the emerging, groundbreaking generation who were to forge Chile’s ...

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