48 Facts About Violeta Parra


Violeta del Carmen Parra Sandoval was a Chilean composer, singer-songwriter, folklorist, ethnomusicologist and visual artist.


Violeta Parra pioneered the Nueva Cancion Chilena, a renewal and a reinvention of Chilean folk music that would extend its sphere of influence outside Chile.


Violeta Parra's birthdate was chosen "Chilean Musicians' Day".


In 2011, Andres Wood directed a biopic about her, titled Violeta Went to Heaven.


However, both the Violeta Parra Foundation and the Violeta Parra Museum claim on their websites that she was born in San Fabian de Alico, near San Carlos.


Violeta Parra was one of nine children in the poor, but prolific Parra family.


Violeta Parra's father, Nicanor Parra Alarcon, was a music teacher.

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Violeta Parra's mother, Clarisa Sandoval Navarrete had grown up in the countryside and was a seamstress.


Violeta Parra sang and played the guitar, and taught Violeta and her siblings traditional folk songs.


Violeta Parra's family lived in poverty and was constantly moving throughout her childhood in search of work.


In 1932, at the insistence of her brother Nicanor, Violeta Parra moved to Santiago to attend the Normal School, staying with relatives.


At his side, Violeta Parra became involved in the progressive movement and the Communist Party of Chile, taking part in the presidential campaign of Gabriel Gonzalez Videla in 1944.


Violeta Parra began singing songs of Spanish origin, from the repertoire of the famous Argentinian singers Lolita Torres and Imperio Argentina.


Violeta Parra continued performing: she appeared in circuses and toured, with Hilda and with her children, throughout Argentina.


In that same year, encouraged by her brother Nicanor, Violeta Parra began to collect and collate authentic Chilean folk music from all over the country.


Violeta Parra abandoned her old folk-song repertoire, and began composing her own songs based on traditional folk forms.


Violeta Parra gave recitals at universities, presented by the well-known literary figure Enrique Bello Cruz, founder of several cultural magazines.


Soon, Violeta Parra was invited to the "Summer School" at the University of Concepcion.


Violeta Parra was invited to teach courses in folklore at the University of Iquique.


Along the way, Violeta Parra met Pablo Neruda, who introduced her to his friends.


Violeta Parra was invited to the World Festival of Youth and Students, in Warsaw, Poland, in July 1955.


Violeta Parra then moved to Paris, France, where she performed at the nightclub "L'Escale" in the Quartier Latin.


Violeta Parra travelled to London to make recordings for EMI-Odeon and radio broadcasts from the BBC.


Violeta Parra followed with the second volume of The Folklore of Chile in 1958, Acompanada de Guitarra.


Violeta Parra continued giving recitals in major cultural centers in Santiago, travelling all over the country to research, organize concerts, and give lectures and workshops about folklore.

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Violeta Parra travelled north to investigate and record the religious festival "La Tirana".


Violeta Parra exerted a significant influence on Hector Pavez and Gabriela Pizarro, who would become great performers and researchers in their own right.


Violeta Parra composed the music for the documentaries Wicker and Trilla, and contributed to the film Casamiento de negros, performed by Sergio Bravo.


Violeta Parra wrote the book Cantos Folkloricos Chilenos, which gathered all the research conducted so far, with photographs by Sergio Larrain and musical scores performed by Gaston Soublette.


Violeta Parra wrote the Decimas autobiograficas, work in verse recounting her from her childhood to her trip to Europe.


Violeta Parra developed a serious interest in ceramics, painting and arpillera embroidery.


Violeta Parra then started living with Gilbert Favre in Geneva, dividing her time between France and Switzerland, where she gave concerts, appeared in TV and exhibited her art.


An Argentine musician friend recorded at her home a version of "El Gavilan", interpreted by Violeta Parra accompanied by her granddaughter on percussion.


Violeta Parra began playing the cuatro, an instrument of Venezuelan origin, and the charango, an instrument of Bolivian origin.


Favre and Violeta Parra returned to South America, in June 1965.


Violeta Parra recorded two 45s, one with her daughter Isabel and another to instrumental music for cuatro and quena with Gilbert Favre, whom she christened "El Tocador Afuerino".


Violeta Parra's energy was invested in reviving a version of the Pena, a community center for the arts and for political activism.


Violeta Parra's Pena was a tent that she set up on a 30 x 30-meter piece of land in the Parque La Quintrala, at number 340 Carmen Street, in today's La Reina municipality of Santiago, in the area once known as la Canada.


Violeta Parra's tent hosted musical spectacles where she often sang with her children, and she and her children lived on the same land.


Violeta Parra installed a folk pena in the International Fair of Santiago, where she was invited.


Violeta Parra travelled to La Paz to meet with Gilbert Favre, where she regularly appeared in the Pena Naira.


Violeta Parra came back to Chile with Altiplano groups, presenting them in her carpa, on television, and in her children's Pena.


Violeta Parra performed in concert at the Chilean southern cities of Osorno and Punta Arenas, invited by Rene Largo Farias, under the "Chile Rie y Canta" program.


Violeta Parra composed "Gracias a la Vida" in La Paz in 1966.


Violeta Parra was an inspiration for several Latin-American artists, such as Victor Jara and the musical movement of the "Nueva Cancion Chilena", which renewed interest in Chilean folklore.

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In 1992, the Violeta Parra Foundation was founded at the initiative of her children, with the aim to group, organize and disseminate her still-unpublished work.


Rodolfo Braceli's book Y Ahora, la Resucitada de la Violenta Violeta Parra was adapted into a play called Violeta Parra Viene a Nacer, starring Argentinian actress Virginia Lago in 1993 and 1994.


Violeta Went to Heaven is a 2011 Chilean biopic about singer and folklorist Violeta Parra, directed by Andres Wood.