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Mon Jul 24, 2017, 10:58 PM

Argentina and Chile Sing to Violeta Parra

Argentina and Chile Sing to Violeta Parra

By Maylín Vidal

Buenos Aires, Jul 20 (Prensa Latina) The pain, joy, injustice, her fears, feelings that Violeta parra shed through her songs, were extolled here in a homage that twinned again Argentina and Chile in an emotive evening.

The majestic theater Colon was witness to a historic concert in tribute to this great Chilean artist on the centennial of her birth, a magical night in a full theater with President Michelle Bachelet in the main balcony.

Two peoples so linked to the life of Parra got together to revere her extraortdinary art, one night, especially the eve, had as main protagonists her grandson and daughter, Angel and Javiera Parra, with the emotions on the skin.

'It hurts to admit that my homeland, for many years, turned its back on her, even when she was alive, her courage, rebelliousness, her way of creating without concessions, caused bitterness. Afterward, the dictatorship tried to deny her, hide her, break her', said Bachelet, main promoter of the tribute to the author.


Lyrics of one of her famous songs:

Translation Notes:
1) Some inversion in this song, but thats nothing new.
2) Title: The title of this song is rather symbolic as it imitates the common Biblical form of thanking God in Spanish. As such I imitated the common form of doing this in English, Thanks be to God, and translated the title to Thanks be to Life.

Gracias a la Vida -- Thanks be to Life
Written by: Violeta Parra
Translated by: gift_of_song

Gracias a la Vida que me ha dado tanto
---Thanks be to Life that has given me so much
me dio dos luceros que cuando los abro
---It gave two bright stars that when opened*
perfecto distingo lo negro del blanco
---perfectly distinguish the black from the white
y en el alto cielo su fondo estrellado
---and the starry depths of the far off high sky
y en las multitudes el hombre que yo amo.
---and in the multitudes the man that I love.

Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto
---Thanks be to Life that has given me so much
me ha dado el oido que en todo su ancho
---It gave me an ear that within its width
graba noche y dia grillos y canarios,
---records night and day crickets and canaries,
martillos, turbinas, ladridos, chubascos,
---hammers, turbines, barking, rainstorms,
y la voz tan tierna de mi bien amado.
---and the oh so tender voice of my dearly beloved.

Gracias a la Vida que me ha dado tanto
---Thanks be to Life that has given me so much
me ha dado el sonido y el abedecedario
---It has given me sound and the alphabet
con él las palabras que pienso y declaro
---with it the words that I think and declare
madre, amigo, hermano y luz alumbrando,
---mother, friend, brother and shining light,
la ruta del alma del que estoy amando.
---the route to the soul of the one I am in love with.

Gracias a la Vida que me ha dado tanto
---Thanks be to Life that has given me so much
me ha dado la marcha de mis pies cansados
---It has given me the march of my tired feet
con ellos anduve ciudades y charcos,
---with them I walked through cities and puddles,
playas y desiertos, montañas y llanos,
---beaches and deserts, mountains and plains,
y la casa tuya, tu calle y tu patio.
---and your house, your street and your courtyard.

Gracias a la Vida que me ha dado tanto
---Thanks be to Life that has given me so much
me dio el corazón que agita su marco
---It has given me a heart that speeds its beating
cuando miro el fruto del cerebro humano,
---when I look at the fruit of the human mind,**
cuando miro el bueno tan lejos del malo,
---when I look at the good which is so far from the evil,
cuando miro el fondo de tus ojos claros.
---when I look into the depths of your clear eyes.

Gracias a la Vida que me ha dado tanto
---Thanks be to Life that has given me so much
me ha dado la risa y me ha dado el llanto,
---It has given me laughter and it has given me sorrow
así yo distingo dicha de quebranto
---in that way I can distinguish happiness from grief
los dos materiales que forman mi canto
---the two materials that form my song
y el canto de ustedes que es el mismo canto
---and your song which is the same song
y el canto de todos que es mi propio canto.
---and the song of everyone which is my own song.

Gracias a la Vida que me ha dado tanto . . .
---Thanks be to Life that has given me so much . . .

*Luceros: in Spanish this is an extremely poetic way to say "eyes," because it compares them to bright stars.
**I don't know how common this expression is in English so I wrote this note: when she says fruit, she's talking about the accomplishments or results that have come from the human mind.


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Violeta del Carmen Parra Sandoval (4 October 1917 – 5 February 1967) was a Chilean composer, songwriter, folklorist, ethnomusicologist and visual artist. She pioneered the "Chilean New Song", the Nueva canción chilena, a renewal and a reinvention of Chilean folk music which would extend its sphere of influence outside Chile, becoming acknowledged as "The Mother of Latin American folk". In 2011 Andrés Wood directed a biopic about her, titled Violeta Went to Heaven (Spanish: Violeta se fue a los cielos).


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VIOLETA PARRA - Gracias a la vida ( Thanks to life) ORIGINAL version

~ ~ ~

Gracias a la vida, sung by Mercedes Sosa, also an incredible musical force from the same era, from Argentina, despised by the military dictatorship in that country for her political beliefs.

Her Wikipedia:

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