Viola Chilensis - documental sobre la vida de Violeta Parra




Uploaded by ArcoirisTVChannel on 13.11.2012

Transcript:
I ask permission to take the guitar
then, I say it was Parra who gave me my existence
if I am not eloquent enough to tell this story
I think for a while of the story I have to weave
to see if I can at least manage to explain a little...
Violeta del Carmen Parra Sandoval born in San Carlos
a country district in the south of Chile, on 4 October 1917.
Her life's journey on this earth came to an end in Santiago, Chile
on February 5th, 1967.
Daughter of Nicanor, schoolmaster, and Clarisa, seamstress
Violeta grew up with nine brothers and sisters and she had four children.
The two elder, Isabel and Angel, by her first husband
and Carmen Luísa and Clara, by her second husband.
She had various affections and one great love
Violeta Parra is perhaps the most authentic and complete artist of Chile.
So unique...! Violeta Parra, she's the best!
It is important to know all these beautiful things...
It's wonderful! I love it!
The most tragic thing, and the most joyful too...
it is there, driven by a force
by the taste for life.
It's good, a legacy for all young people
and for young artists too.
Violeta has it all.
And does it all magisterially.
She is phenomenal!
She's just phenomenal...
it's something beyond
popular and classical music.
She was so funny! The things she said and did...
and the way she lived.
Violeta not only belongs to Chileans...
but also the whole world.
With mother...
there was always something to do...
to run some errand...
send a money order...
send a telegrama...
write a poem...
take the mattresses out...
clean the house...
open the windows...
There was no letup!
I think it's the most beautiful and most touching song in the whole world...
yes... it's the song with the most heart in it...
please, don't make me cry, that's enough.
She was like an angel. An angel who made me feel uneasy...
but still an angel.
We were great friends.
And partners.
A laughing and crying friendship...
For me, Violeta was sincerity personified.
That honesty that sometimes is relentless...
I'm happy, because life
gave me the friendship
and art of this wonderful human being.
True and proper poetry.
I don't know where she got so much talent from...
so much cleverness to find these words, these incredible phrases...
combining them with the appropriate music.
Name... Parra Sandoval, Violeta del Carmen
female
date of birth October 4th, 1917
eleven p.m., Roble Street
then it reads... father's name, Nicanor Parra
Chilean, employee
mother's name, Clarisa Sandoval de Parra...
Chilean, profession...
Eduardo (Tío Lalo) Parra Folklorist, brother of Violeta I was 2 years old...
Violeta was 3 and Hilda was 4.
But others were younger Roberto, for example.
Dad made us sing, a song contest...
and there in bed, we sang.
A song each...
a contest, according to dad...
the best singer would win a prize...
a reward.
My dad died in Chillán, in 1931.
- Where? - The neighbourhood is called Medina.
Lautaro Parra Folklorist, brother of Violeta
You go down from the main railway station in Chillán and again down...
to the Villa Alegre, in other words, in the suburbs.
What do you remember about Violeta when you were a child?
Well, Violeta was my babysitter.
and Hilda was my second mother.
Violeta was the favourite daughter, the cleverest...
and they used to say of her 'Quicksilver', she was called 'Quicksilver', Violeta.
Violeta starved like us too.
She used to help my mother to sew...
at that time my mother had a machine for sewing by hand
and she earned some money, with the sewing she did.
Just to get by, to feed us.
She had 10 mouths to feed.
A woman alone... with 10 children.
We liked the guitar, the way she played.
And as she was her god-daughter
Violeta asked her godmother to teach her how to play...
so, Violeta learned something.
And all of us, mouths agape...
also trying to learn something.
I think we were the first street singers ever seen in Chile.
And we elbowed our way forward in order to be listened to and be given something.
Some money or something to eat...
because our hunger was great.
The things we bought, the bread we bought wasn't enough for everyone.
Grandmother Sofía (101 years old), neighbour of the Parra family
I made bread.
The girls asked me for bread in the morning, when they were going to the market.
They sang to me.
I gave them a roll of bread.
At that time bread was this size... 10 cents bread.
I gave a roll of bread to each.
And then they were gone.
'Don't sing anything for me' I used to say...
Prof. Fidel Sepúlveda, Director of the Dept. of Aesthetics of the University of Chile
The wonderful thing about Violeta Parra is the way in which she embodies the creativity of Chileans.
This creativity she fed on
in Chillán when she was a child
taking it from her mother, a singer and seamstress.
All these wonderful colours they show
speckled with the most vivid and varied tones...
that she was, in actual fact, able to give to everything she did
to maintain the big family around her.
That's why among the features of Violeta's visual art
I admire most the colours...
the strength of colour and how she arranges the chromatic universe.
There is no doubt that if she had gone to a Fine Arts school, an Academy
she would not have developed this masterstroke.
Of course I remember Violeta Parra, look. We went to school together.
These are memories of Violeta.
Rosa Martínez, schoolmate of Violeta We were schoolmates in 1930.
Did you sit next to Violeta in class?
Yes, and we competed for the first place in the class.
I was the winner, because I was more of a swat than her.
But she knew a thing or two, she knew everything instinctively, she was a real brain.
I was more studious than she was, so I was top of the class.
She was more stand-offish.
- Who was? - Violeta.
Did she sing at that time?
She sang, I worked in a hairdressing salon...
She passed by every day with her brothers to play the guitar.
They went around the local streets, as they were very poor.
And they passed by to scrape together something for breakfast and then they went downtown.
The boys polished shoes.
They sang in the streets.
However, after a while they moved to Temuco.
On their way, she caught smallpox, that's why her face is pockmarked.
Prof. Christián Warnker, writer I think Violeta Parra is a real poetic genius.
She has the freshness, the spontaneity, the simplicity, and the naturalness
of a great poet, deeply rooted in her land.
The oral tradition was to the fore; she was a craftswoman of her language.
But at the same time, she knew how to liberally reinterpret it, giving it her personal touch.
She is the perfect example of a brilliant poet.
Unique and individual, but deeply rooted in tradition.
I remember that I didn't think much
of the first drawings Violeta did.
On the contrary, I made her angry.
I told her: 'who's going to like these drawings?'.
'They're a dreadful mess! They're the worst imaginable!'.
I didn't realise the importance of that.
And Violeta complained to mother...
'Dammit, mother! Lalo is ill-treating me, he discourages me'.
I was killing myself laughing! I said: 'What do you think this stuff is good for!'.
M. Magdeleine Brumagne, art critic and maker of a documentary on the work of Violeta Parra for Swiss television
I see before me a little woman with black hair, and a rather worn rabbit-fur collar.
And then the surprise...
In the form of a rough cloth that she was tacking with wool.
And I said to her: 'So beautiful!'. She answered me: 'Really?'. I said: 'Yes!'.
She asked again: 'Really?' I told her: - 'Yes'.
'So I'll do something for you right now. I'm going to sing a song for you with all my embroidery'.
She took her guitar, lying in a corner
and in front of each tapestry she started singing
every song inspired by these tapestries...
I started crying, it was something of absolute beauty.
After chatting for a while it was lunchtime.
I asked her: 'Where are you going to have lunch?'.
She said to me, with a penetrating look
- 'I'm not hungry'. - 'Why?'
'I've already eaten from your soul'...
Violeta and I had the best marks in the school.
Nicanor heard of it.
Nicanor had already come to study in Santiago
and seeing our very good marks
he decided to take us to Santiago.
Violeta was in the College for Teachers in Santiago.
She couldn't finish her studies
although they were almost completed.
Then she devoted herself completely to music and, with her favourite guitar.
She formed a duo with Hilda
and they started working in a bar called 'El Tordo Azul'...
here in Matucana
between Mapocho and Yungay...
very close to our house.
We played - Violeta, Hilda, Robert and I -.
As the Parra Brothers Quartet.
We were here for a long time.
All kinds of people came here, but the most devoted
were the yard workers
and the railway workers from the engine workshop.
Then, a guy started to come. He stared at Violeta...
His name was Pepe Cereceda.
Violeta was going steady with Pepe
and mother told to me to keep an eye on Violeta....
If they kissed each other I had to tell mother!
What a silly thing!
But they got married
and they had two children.
Voice of Isabel Cereceda Parra, singer-songwriter, daughter of Violeta We lived in that neighbourhood, because my father worked nearby in Mapocho.
We were out for a walk that day.
Angel also has this photo in his house in Paris.
Angel Cereceda Parra, singer-songwriter son of Violeta I was born in Valparaíso.
How many years did you live in Valparaíso with Violeta and your father?
I'd say till I was 3 years old
but we also lived in Santiago.
I remember having seen... at home there was a Party secretariat.
The secretariat of González-Videla.
Before the betrayal, you understand... From then on he was called 'The Betrayer'...
Because he expelled all the communists, including my father.
Because he was a communist leader of railway workers.
I have an image of my mother, walking with a Chilean flag in her hand.
A very epic image, and behind her a lot of women shouting...
Everything stemmed from my mother's sense of liberty which, I believe, induced her to leave my father.
in fact, we were never still in one place for a moment, always moving, we had to go on forward...
and teach ourselves as we went along.
I learned to read, to write...
to add, subtract, divide and multiply..., like we used to say then - at home.
I have some memories about school, I stayed about a month in a primary school
and after that - I have a very clear memory as I was already a little grown-up -...
of entering first year of secondary school with an admission exam, in Concepción
then entering boarding school and doing what was called 'school-leaving examination'.
All this because my mother was always moving and we moved with her.
Then I remember having gone to the north, to Tofo...
Salvador is its name now, I think.
We arrived on mules, there were no buses
just to put on that show
for the miners union.
Now, our role, I mean... Isabel's and mine's...
I really don't remember... but I can still see the mule
I see it going uphill with my aunt on it; she was very fat...
my aunt Hilda, I saw her... we could say, very big posterior...
and me, kind of holding on tight to the mule's tail... it was a very difficult journey.
With mother everything was urgent.
Quickly, right here, right now!
We had to know how to cook...
do the washing...
how to play the guitar, and how to sing properly!
Daniel Viglietti, Uruguayan singer-songwriter
She was a woman who never gave up...
she was always a woman of incredible energy, with a strong character, fighting for her rights.
She knew that her rights were also the rights of a lot of other people.
Just look at the way she approached the Indian question
it's very revolutionary...
And her compositions, right? I really think that some on that album
are timeless, such as the famous 'Thanks to life'... that song is like an anthem
and 'Seventeen again', which is another very good example.
And some touching and forceful stuff like 'Maldigo'...
It is also a very original work.
Really revolutionary in its field.
Obviously, when I talk about a revolutionary note I'm not talking about songs that repeat the word 'Revolution' in the lyrics.
I'm talking about something else, something that itself
brings a new meaning to the concept of the song's lyrics.
It was due to the circus that Violeta became famous.
The circus went to towns, cities, large farms, little villages...
and there was no one that hadn't heard about Violeta.
That's why when she devoted herself to her 'Compilation'...
she received unreserved help from everyone.
When Violeta transcribed she didn't do so as a narrator.
She took a stool for the guests...
so that they sat higher up, and she sat lower down
so as to feel inferior.
Only then could the guests start to tell their story.
Rosalinda Carrillo, countrywoman of Ñuble Doesn't know how to love, love of mine...
For he makes me suffer this way...
Crying is in vain...
Lamenting is in vain...
No consolation shall ease my pain...
Your love I shall not forget...
I can't remember more!
Did you write songs?
No! she did, because I can't write, she was writing them down.
- Oh! So you....? - I sang them and she was writing them down.
I sang them slowly.
I gave her several songs, the one about the miners...
Those rows of little houses...
So close to each other, yessir!...
Those women all in a line...
Close together at the spring...
Every woman has her tub...
And pain on her face...
While the sun blazes above!...
The machi walks to the guillatún...
Chamal and rebozo, trailonco and cultrún...
Even the sick of her machitún...
Lengthen the rows of that guillatún...
Of that guillatún, of that guillatún...
The rain falls, and pelts down again...
Indians stare, they don't know what to do, they pull out their hair...
Silvio Rodríguez, Cuban singer-songwriter She stamped her authority on the raw material she used.
In other words, she was an expert.
And, perhaps, this is the most astonishing song in that regard.
She uses Beethovenian principles, that's the base that gives shape to the form...
by taking a motif, 'tarat... tarat...'
and repeating it 'tarat... tarat...' and then 3 times 'tarat... tarat... tarat'.
She uses classical music resources really and deeply classical to create her music.
Probably she did it intuitively.
But it doesn't mean she didn't have the requisite culture.
Violeta is a synthetized artist, or in other words, Violeta embodies the best of Chilean tradition...
meaning the meeting of the old and the new
in her poetry and music.
And the same can be said about her visual production - her plastic art.
If one observes the work
of Violeta Parra, which displays the entity and variety of her creative genius...
looked at from this stance one can identify a common denominator
consisting of a universe made of myths...
the way in which the common place transcends itself.
And when I talk about myths I mean, naturally, a wealth of legends...
traditions... handed down from one generation to the next as a sign of continuity.
Isabel Allende, writer In Chile Violeta was not given the recognition she deserved.
Violeta is more appreciated abroad than she is in Chile.
In Chile they talked about the great poets...
about Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda... and nobody talks about Violeta Parra.
She is the poetic soul of this country, the minstrel of this country...
the story-teller par excellence
who really interprets the Chilean reality
from a natural and primitive point of view
and establishing a standard unsurpassed to this day.
At most, Chileans said something like 'this is an artist of merit'.
They didn't notice her.
She had to go to Europe to get recognised.
There, as soon as they heard her sing they hoarded her!
Well, she came to the 'Youth Festival' in Warsaw, Poland.
She came here?
No... She finished her visit, I mean in the 'Youth Festival' and she travelled to Paris.
- Did she decide to come here? - Yes, she did.
She wanted...
to stay for a while, to make her music more known.
Bringing that special gift she had.
My mother was like an elected spirit.
She came like the harbinger of a superior being.
In fact, at that time there was
practically no one singing Chilean music here.
- Ok. - Nobody!
Paco Ibañez, Spanish singer-songwriter I met Violeta, here, in Paris.
in a place called 'L´Escale'.
It was a place where gradually
students from South America
living in Paris gathered, each one with a guitar, or no guitar, or with poems... or songs.
They met there, in the 'Latin Quarter'.
They went for a few beers, with their guitars under their arms, to sing
and soon that place became a proper temple of Latin-American music.
But it was a little like a party, ok?
Playing and singing...
Cayman music... we sang all kind of songs...
until Violeta appeared.
And, behind the scenes, put a stop to all that!
- You mean on stage. - Nope! Behind the scenes! Like a bomb!
She went on the stage and... silence!
At first she left us speechless, we were even rather put out by her.
Here she comes! The manna from heaven!
Here comes the Chilean girl and...
her songs... now we have to put up with them.
We weren't used to it.
Then, gradually
we realised that she was right!
The messages she was giving us
were far reaching: politics...
sentiments, emotions, everything...
you can say in a song.
And gradually we managed to get into her musical world
and her art... like that, by chance.
Because we lived practically under the same roof, ok?
We all frequented the Latin Quarter.
Franchita González, Franco-Spanish writer At that time she sang in a place
on the Rue Monsieur Le Prince
called 'L´Escale'.
So I went to see her.
I don't remember how many times, and...
I don't know how we became friends.
She was a very open...
direct person
and we became friends almost instantly.
I decided to write this book, that for me
is one of my greatest memories.
She gave me a huge notebook!
It had all the songs she had found in Chile
when she had begun to seek out traditional texts for archiving.
A huge notebook, all hand written.
So I chose a few songs
to write a book to be sold in Paris.
I talked to her to understand better because I knew nothing
about Chilean song.
And she explained everything to me...
including the difference between a 'tonada'...
and a song of good wishes...
and I took in everything and explained it point by point in the book.
For me they are amazing memories
because she was a fantastic woman!
Meri Franco-Lao, Franco-Uruguayan writer and musician I met Violeta because she was Fanchita's friend.
I couldn't say she liked me.
But she didn't hate me, that would be going too far!
She had a very strict...
old-fashioned...
what can I say, intransigent, and radical character!
So, for example...
If one smoked or drank in front of her, she called you a weakling!
Coward! You have vices, and a weak character!
And if a woman put on makeup, Jesus Christ!
By chance I didn't wear makeup.
I seemed to her more a student than a teacher.
It was the 'Vivan los estudiantes' (song) time.
I included it in my book 'Basta!'.
In Italian there is no mumbo jumbo, so I had to invent it...
and to explain people what it is about, ok?
Ay! The two names there in the patio, ay, ay, ay...
And your trail on the way, ay, ay, ay...
I've taken away with the shade ay, ay, ay...
And the acacia is witness, ay, ay, ay...
The two names there in the patio, ay, ay, ay...
And your trail on the way, ay, ay, ay...
But you, snow-white dove, ay, ay, ay...
Don't coo anymore...
Tita Parra, singer-songwriter niece of Violeta 'The wooden house' we always called it, this little house, Violeta's house.
It has a lot of history.
For me, it is the house in which I spent my early childhood.
I was about 2, I remember the first time I cried there
in the yard, in this patio...
I lived here until I was 6, I guess.
I lived with Violeta, my mother, Angel...
and a lot of people who frequented the house.
Almost all connected with music and singing.
Violeta's daily life, was quite unusual.
For example, lunch...
sometimes you saw her in a kind of trance cooking a cazuela...
so good! so delicious! All of us together having lunch. But sometimes it was different.
- Oh! - Sometimes a lot of days passed, I remember...
when we didn't sit to have lunch all together, as one should.
Now, about the shopping with Violeta I do remember...
her first thought was to shop for coloured wool to weave tapestries.
That was important shopping! - Where did she buy it?
On the street, wool shops, downtown...
Because when Violeta had money, she immediately
spent in it on things she needed at the time...
And obviously, rather than go to the supermarket to buy food, we went to buy wool.
And we brought back baskets full of coloured wool for the jobs she had to do.
Who are you?
Antar, music student great-nephew of Violeta Violeta's great-grandson!
Who does this room belong to?
Currently it's mine, it was Violeta's.
- This was Violeta's room? - Yes, it was!
It's something strange, to think you sleep in the room or in the bed where Violeta Parra slept.
But...
I also remember that it was mine when I was 8.
No! I was 10 when we came back from Horcón, I arrived in Santiago.
And they gave me this room... I've been here for 2 years.
Here you are always feeling new sensations, because...
for some time I've been trying hard
to concentrate on visualising the presence of Violeta Parra in her house.
And I manage to feel her...
People who come here and learn that this is Violeta Parra's room... they get a shock!
Thiago de Mello, Brazilian poet I went to Nemesio's
it was a Sunday morning...
I talked to him about Violeta, I said to him: 'Let's go to her house!'.
From this day on a friendship began
that has lit up my life a lot!
First of all, as a person, she had the gift of friendship
that gift that...
at the beginning of this millennium
seems to me nowhere to be found
and in danger of extinction!
Friendship!
Nowadays people make friends to benefit from it...
not in the name of affection, human empathy.
But Violeta recognised...
this 'gift' and had the gift of simplicity.
Her metaphors were not abstruse, impenetrable.
No! They blossomed!
She gave them
to people who listened to her songs!
I think any poet
from among the most well-known and loved of our America
would proudly and gladly put their signature
to some of the poems set to music by Violeta!
A work of Roser Bru
Roser Bru, friend of Violeta and Neruda According to friends, when she got along well with Delia, 'the Little Ant'...
it was by her choice! And everything went smoothly.
At that time Violeta went and played there
because she wasn't well known yet.
So she played... she danced a wonderful cueca!
A wonderful cueca, her alone!
Just like before when the 'cueca' was sung by the wives of the 'desaparecidos'...
- Did she dance alone? - Yes, she did!
Wonderful! And how she moved her hand...
All that humility, and great dignity that came from within...
She danced alone where Delia and Neruda hung out, on Lynch Avenue.
"Violeta 'Parrone' came strumming her guitar; strumming her guitar came Violeta Parra" – Pablo Neruda
My daughters went to a Swiss school, and a Swiss guy arrived...
with some others, he was going to the north.
He was an anthropologist, and they decided to contact me
because I was involved in the arts in the Swiss school.
They said: 'he wants to know what the good things are in Chile'.
I answered: 'well, the good thing in Chile is Violeta Parra!'.
And one day, he introduced himself he said: 'I'm Gilbert, I'm looking for Violeta Parra'.
And he stayed with her forever.
For a very long time. When I was a child he was always by her side, supporting her.
And he became an artist too.
On the other hand the atmosphere in this house, as I was telling you, in this house...
daily work was an artistic pursuit.
Not only musical.
But also manual, with painting, colours...
paintings, weaving...
Then Gilbert came and helped her...
Violeta liked to put on concerts in costume...
decorating the stage with giant masks she made on her own...
the gowns, she made them fringes...
embroidered ornaments on the edges
with motifs of the whole Chilean tradition...
North, south, Mapuche culture...
and she set up these shows, that later we took to Europe.
She took care of all this
in masterly fashion...
Involving herself in every artistic aspect, not only music.
There was nothing here except this big building
you can see in the background.
All of this was built later...
where she lived.
This was an empty space. I remember these houses weren't here.
I don't recall them, these houses were built later, this was countryside.
Claudio Venturelli, schoolmaster friend of Violeta This place, almost unique in Geneva
needed a unique person too... to transform it - in the heart of Geneva...
I am talking of year 1962 approximately...
into the first Chilean suburb in Geneva!
Tito Guisado, Spanish cook friend of Violeta But here Violeta shows a little of her character...
Instead of moving into the up-market area...
she could have done that! She only needed to break down a door and go in...
set herself up in the more humble part
and there she moved into a room.
She broke down a partition-wall...
because there were semidetached rooms...
I remember there were two quite...
big rooms
decorated, as we were saying yesterday on the radio
with her tapestries, her paintings and personal signs.
Since winter is freezing here...
Gilbert Favré had installed a kind of salamander stove
in the centre of the room.
And on this salamander, that was fired with coal...
she put her pots
with those delicious beans she prepared
giving a friendly atmosphere to the place
in the best South American tradition.
Violeta's Geneva friends
We haven't rehearsed for 40 years!
We played the guitar together.
She with her left hand, me with my right hand.
She called me six fingers...
meaning that I played the guitar very well.
This painting she dedicated to me.
'For your patience
in taking me from one place to another.
Violeta Parra, 1963.'
...And he slept with Violeta, her daughter, and granddaughter...
and everyone slept in Paris!
The Arab of the group!
In 'La Candelaria', that doesn't exist anymore, in Rue Monsieur Le Prince...
she lived in a mean, tiny room.
With a big bed...
occupying almost the whole room.
She had invited me. I had no money for a hotel
Then we went to sleep... Violeta, her daughter, little... Ana Luisa?
- Carmen Luisa. - Carmen Luisa...
and Titina, Chabela's daughter, and me!
I remember... - 'Milú! Milú! I shall prepare empanadas for you tonight'...
How are you going to prepare them in this little room?
And she had a gas stove... She cooked the empanadas! And we ate them...
Do you remember when we went up to Saint Seine...
to ski with the children?
I also remember something very important...
Chabela was starting to play the 'Cuatro'...
With the agreement of our friends and others from the University
and undoubtedly with Gilbert, we organised a concert
at the Geneva University...
and at the same time an exhibition.
This exhibition was to show off Violeta's paintings but principally her tapestries.
The time was nearing for the exhibition.
The hall had already been booked, everything was ready.
Even the university authorities had been invited
to open the exhibition...
Ramón Huidobro, diplomat and professor It was my first time in Geneva...
we went to the concert...
and it was amazing! The theatre was completely full.
And on the stage, Violeta had put
a Chilean hut, like the ones in the Cousiño Park, with little flags. You remember, don't you?
I glanced at that audience...
they were so enthusiastic! Applause after applause...
A full theatre and only one performance.
What does it mean for you, in your heart?
Proud, a great national pride, of course!
A triumph for Chilean folklore!
We usually export other kinds of things related to art, don't we?
But Violeta had the gift to promote Chilean folklore
and its authenticity... so amazing!
With the slogan, 'No to Nuclear War!'
'No to Nuclear Tests!'
'No to Nuclear Danger!'...
a peace movement was organised
and planned a march from Geneva to Lausanne.
That took three days long...
and, obviously,Violeta was one of those in the front rank.
With her guitar, her 'poncho', Gilbert, and friends...
and off we went!
It was a nice, wonderful adventure!
Full of humanity, dedication, and friendship!
We left ready to sleep anywhere, even on the ground.
When she started singing, people stopped walking!
The first time I met Violeta, she told me: - 'Come on, dear you have to come!'.
'It's a demonstration against the fascist government of Franco!'.
I hope the Spaniards don't see this movie... otherwise they are going to persecute me...
We bought some Coca-Cola bottles...
and I said: 'Violeta! Coke? Are you going to drink Coca-Cola?'.
- 'No dear, look...' She emptied the bottles and filled them with paint and threw them...
There is a movie, by an Italian filmmaker
who made a movie about the Spanish Civil War.
- Rossi maybe? Rossi? - Francesco Rossi. - Rossi, exactly!
There is a scene, a scene of a soldier
who is throwing a hand grenade, this way...
Well I saw this image again when I saw Violeta
beginning to throw those bottles filled with paint...
She was very small, not very tall...
she threw them, this way...
and the front of the Spanish Consulate
got all paint stained!
So much so that the Consulate had to move to another building
they moved right to the other side of the city.
They moved there, on the seventh floor...
to escape from Violeta and her paint!! Way up there, isolated and protected.
M. Magdeleine conversing with Violeta in Geneva What material are you making that mask with?
With pieces of cardboard.
Then, for example, to make it, I'm thinking of you...
Magdeleine, just as you are.
I'm looking at you without you noticing, in order not to embarrass you.
- I like working in my head, do you say that? - Yes.
Yes, but if you hardly know someone, how do you go about getting his or her gist?
Well, it's like when I try something with someone
as I feel in tune with his or her sensibility...
I can't stop myself, I have to do something.
I don't know how to explain it...
Quite simply, let your emotions get the better of you....
Yes, exactly.
What a beautiful dress you have!
I like it too; my mother made it for me!
When I was a child, my mother always used to put aside some remnants of material scraped together
to make me some dresses...
as she was very poor.
She had to look after ten children
but she had very little money.
Even now she has little money...
- How old is she? - Seventy five.
She has always worked very hard to keep the family going.
Like me, I haven't got a penny. Just like my mother.
I realised that she was a really fascinating person.
She had a kind of interior flame
and an extraordinary sensibility in everything she used to do...
with an imagination that was both natural
and almost primitive.
One day I proposed
shooting a film about her
to the television company where I was working.
They replied that it was a second-rate screenplay.
I didn't have the money
to produce the full-length film I wanted to.
But the second-rate screenplay
has without doubt become first-rate...
'Here, with Gilbert, it's all going wrong...
'He left Saturday afternoon.
'Besides that, he didn't leave my car keys. My car...
'I can't go anywhere.
'I'm very disheartened, and feel completely deserted.
'The world is too big for me.
'I don't understand men.
'I have to find someway to get out of this noose
'that is strangling me.
'I'd like so much to see you. Love'.
I think both the Swiss and the French have always shown
an enormous openness towards the unknown...
so to speak, attributing the same importance to things
that my mother gave to them.
As an example, I can cite her exhibition at the Louvre
when, I remember, I accompanied her, with all her stuff under my arms...
paintings, tapestries...
How old were you at that time?
Well, I was already a grown-up... I must have been 19.
We put it all in front of...
the Decorative Arts Museum director.
That guy was convinced immediately!
When he saw all this work in front of him
the guy was fascinated, even terrified...
I think this is the only occasion in the Museum's history
and also in my mother's life, for a single artist...
to monopolize, for a 4-month period, the whole second floor of the Museum of Decorative Arts...
This was made possible by the energy she transmitted.
She was like a quartz, a diamond, a magnet...
I don't know how I can call it...
She transmitted an energy. I think it convinced people
and with such ease, due to the importance of her works and words and her music...
Did you know how to embroider from way back, have experience with it?
No, no, nothing like that.
This is the simplest stitch.
It isn't drawn.
So, did you re-invent everything?
Yes, but everybody can... It isn't my particular talent.
Can you explain the elements that make up this tapestry?
Yes.
First of all, these are all people who love peace.
Who are these people?
The first one is me.
Why purple?
Because it's my name's colour...
-Violeta. -Yes.
Then, there's an Argentinean friend.
A Chilean friend.
And that one is an Indian-Chilean woman.
The flowers for each person symbolize their souls.
There you can see guns, it stands for war... for death.
Peasants are very poor in Chile...
like my grandfather.
I can't remain indifferent.
I get upset with that situation.
That's why I made this work called 'The Revolt of the Peasants'...
Daniel Vittet, Swiss, friend of Gilbert Favre, talking with Angel Parra in Geneva.
Daniel tells how he kept the tapestries and the paintings remaining
in the house Violeta and Gilbert lived in the Rue Voltaire in Geneva.
When Nicanor paid a visit to Switzerland Daniel was able to return them to him so that
he could pass them on to people in charge of their conservation.
- That was in 1979. - Yes.
Milena Rojas, foundation coordinator, niece of Violeta What I know is that in 1973...
the year of the military putsch...
my grandma on my father's side left in a ship
taking with her most of Violeta's tapestries and oil paintings.
To carry them to safety?
Of course! Some of them travelled...
directly to Havana
and the works were stored there, in 'Casa de las Americas', I believe...
but I'm not a hundred percent certain.
After this, I travelled to Cuba with my mother
because of the putsch, we were escaping from Chile.
All that stuff was stored there for a while, in 'Casa de las Americas'.
Then we carried almost all her works to Paris
where we lived for nearly 20 years...
We just transported things the way we could...
by plane, by sea, by train, whatever...
There were people who had no idea that Violeta painted or embroidered, for instance...
So I think the first reaction was one of surprise!
I think they grasped the fact only afterwards when, by admiring her works...
they became acquainted with Violeta's universe.
In this sense Violeta Parra was an example
of receptiveness as regards the stimuli that reach us from people and nature.
Chilean people are so grey, Why's that? If we have a nature full of colours.
It's so monotonous, why?
If, from north to south... So diverse!
Because of an education that shuns reality!
But Violeta had an education...
not complete... okay, but she knew about life!
So, this is what she poured into her art.
An art mixed with the essence of life
and not short on colours! Nor risky matching of them
and no shying away from innovation!
A life traversed by an incredible energy.
She was not like a little spring flower that fades with the early summer rays of sun!
Her roots are strong, that's why I think people gave her that recognition!
Whoever feels bound to the Fundamentals of humanity would appreciate her.
We Latin Americans who do all we can, who are true to our identity...
who respect who we are...
who recognise the need to maintain that identity...
to keep it alive...
we find one of the most outstanding sources of inspiration in Violeta Parra's work.
This stimulates us to take possession of our land
but without limiting ourselves to the colours of the landscape
without limiting ourselves to what it offers us
inviting us to take up the challenge of recreating what exists...
and re-invent it all over again.
Come on lads! Come on Johnny, get in step!! Come on, let's start everything from the beginning!
Pedro Gajardo, director of the Chilean folkloric ballet Trying to interpret through movement what she says with words...
That's very hard!
So, I took on the challenge myself
and put on this adaptation called 'Feelings'.
Violeta wrote all these songs. They are all born of a desire...
to display the entire range of her inner self.
The angry Violeta, Violeta in love, Violeta worried...
So my choreography is interpreted only by women...
as it pays homage to women...
But the immense respect I have for Doña Violeta
made me feel I had to dwell more upon the script than usual.
Most of her poetry is inspired
touching deep metaphysic subjects, abstract questions...
that today it's possible to find in Heidegger.
Themes that, if you consider them unpalatable, then you needn't read 'Being and Time'.
Read an octosyllabic line of Violeta Parra and in it is the theme of grief, sense...
spirit, soul, and being... and who am I?
All subjects that together with love recur in Violeta's work!
She is the perfect and authentic Chilean example of a great poet..
capable of raising what is so typical of rural Chilean culture to universal importance.
That's the great genius of Violeta Parra.
Something that in someway Nicanor Parra also achieved...
he has a lot to thank Violeta Parra for, certainly she too has a lot to thank Nicanor for...
There is an interesting dialogue between those great poets.
If she had been alive, I would have given her the 'National Prize'
and also she'd be a candidate for the 'Nobel Prize', no doubt of that!
Nicanor Parra, poet, elder brother of Violeta 'No, you won't be bought, nor sold...
'Nor will you play the clown...
'Because you ward them off immediately! Volcanic Viola...
'Your heart is open when you want it to...
'Your will closes when it wants to...
'Your spirit blows when it wants, against the tide...
'I know you, and I say what you are...
'Oh! Little sheep in wolf's clothing...
'Violeta Parra...
'I know thee well, my older sister...
'From north to south, this inert country...
'Valparaíso, that up there is confined...
'and Easter Island!...
'Sacristan Lady of Andacollo...
'You who adorns embroidery and weaves yarn...
'You who, grown old, fixes little angels...
'Violeta Parra...
'Where will we find another Violeta?'...
Violeta was hired by a fair
in the National Day celebrations
to play cuecas.
But at the end she didn't get paid.
Violeta was virtually penniless.
But the owners of the fair really weren't dishonest people
so, somehow they wanted to reward her
and finally they gave her a tent.
After having lived many years in Europe...
when she came back she wanted to do something different.
And she received the support of the La Reina mayor
who gave her the lot
for pitching the tent.
I was Violeta's right-hand man, there in the La Reina tent.
I sold tickets...
I helped her to prepare the traditional drink...
we prepared 'empanadas'... She had no employees!
Roberto acted too...
and also Carmen Luisa, her daughter...
sang at that time too.
But nobody undertook the practical matters...
as Violeta was a maid of all work!
In conclusion, however, Violeta felt forgotten
and she tried to commit suicide several times...
I often went to the tent
from this little house in Ñuñoa...
we often went to see her.
We usually had lunch with her
or sometimes we went to sing...
or play.
Sometimes I stayed overnight...
I saw her several times.
Not very often
because she was always moving. She worked a lot, here and there...
Same for me, I had a lot of things to do...
However, we had time to go to visit her, we worked together.
It was a very great love...!
He made big sacrifices.
Like coming back from Europe
following Violeta...
Then Violeta came back to Europe.
And he still following her.
Such a great love was theirs!
That's why Violeta suffered so much when he went to Bolivia...
it was more than comprehensible!
- Yes... in fact, she went after him to Bolivia. - Yes, she went after him!
But he didn't come back...
because, from what was known
he had a great position
as a successful musician up there.
Gilbert Favre, Swiss, Violeta's great love
Ernesto Cavour, Bolivian musician It was right here that Violeta came to know Favré, 'The Gringo'...
We had already known about Violeta Parra for a long time.
She was very well-known, very famous.
And here she was with us.
We were on equal terms; she had a contract, neither more nor less, just like any other artist here.
- In the club (La Peña)? - Yes, in the club.
- Did you immediately become friends with her? - Yes, we became very close friends.
Such friends that she wanted to invite us to work there, in her tent.
We also had the good luck to meet the Parra brothers there.
We always remember them with pleasure. We were with Alarcon, Victor Jara, and Daniel Viglietti...
Really wonderful times... the golden age of the protest song, that was springing up at that time.
Ernesto, tell me about when you came to Chile.
Where were you headed for, exactly? You already said something to me about it.
To Caupolican! To the Caupolicán theater, to the tent in La Reina...
we also met Largo Farías
and a lot of other friends from those days who still come here.
What did Violeta want you to do in Chile?
She wanted us to stay and work with her. She was all alone, right?
Did you know about her death right away?
The first day the news arrived here in La Paz, the 'gringo' burst into bitter tears...
he mourned Violeta whom he loved so much.
Eduardo (Tío Lalo) Parra, Altazor prize and Gabriela Mistral medal winner She had to make a living with the big tent.
But at that time there were few people...
Things started off badly...
And since she didn't work anywhere else, because she had to look after her big tent...
those were hard times!
But we never thought it would end like that!
She dying that way...
In short...
I've got to tell you, that in this fight, to protect our most authentic singing
I am just a little less alone than before.
Who knows...
if I will need my entire life
and squeeze out all my energy
to reach the goal I have set myself.
Sometimes I feel exhausted
but my guitar always gives me back my strength.
Can you understand Violeta's death?
Yes.
I can understand because of her character.
It was something without premeditation.
Really, not premeditated.
That's to say, maybe in her subconscious... The question remains unanswered.
Maybe the fear of getting older. It has always been...
something hard for a woman to accept!
He was younger than her...
Another unanswered question.
Yes, I can understand. I've seen her react before
to less important things
with the same violence...
And later she regretted it.
Day and night.
Maybe... if Violeta had had someone by her side...
someone taking charge of developing the projects closest to her heart...
to get them done.
If there had been a government, a cultural policy...
a society, a support group...
or a cultural council, for example...
ready to promote her ideas, and support her
maybe Violeta wouldn't have committed suicide...
If she hadn't felt so much anger! So much pain!
So much powerlessness, forced as she was to see her best efforts come to nothing, do I make myself clear?
At that time, when I was only 11 years old, it never even crossed my mind...
It's only now that it occurs to me to think about it like that.
Violeta...
you are a poet, a musician, you weave tapestry, you paint.
If I make you choose only one of these...
Which one would you choose?
I'd choose to be among people.
Would you give up doing everything?
People give me the strength to do these things.
Violeta Parra's immortality is assured by her exceptional artistic legacy and by those, like us, who keep alive her example and publicize her work.
My name is Camila.
I'm 12. I go to 'the 21st of May School'.
My teacher told us to do this homework.
Paco Ibáñez, Basque singer-songwriter She said to me, 'look Paco, look! I've just finished the Grimau song', and she sang it to me.
I mean I was one of the first ones to hear it, and of course I had not...
Did she sing it to you for you to give her your impression?
No, no, to tell me: 'look what I've done about what has happened to Grimau, in Madrid'.
Look how they ramble on about freedom.
While they actually deprive us of it.
Look how they proclaim peace.
As we are tortured by authority.
What shall the Holy Father say who lives in Rome.
Now that his doves are having their throats slit.
Look how they ramble on about Paradise...
Mauro di Domenico, Italian singer-songwriter 'The anthem of the world'...
is that wonderful song, called 'Thanks to life'.
I've listened to it since I was a teenager.
This wonderful song, sung by an excellent Italian singer, Gabriela Ferri by name
in an Italian version.
I've done some research on that song... and I've found that it is a Chilean song
by this poet, musician, artist
so frail but so full of strength, named Violeta Parra.
Since I was young I've done some research to better understand who Violeta Parra was...
and so I've started to come closer to this new world, the world of Chile.
With a passion that came to me from afar, and likely it was going to create something new.
Jan Hammarlund, Swedish singer-songwriter When I think about Violeta Parra...
I can see a lot of similarities with Gabriela Mistral.
Both of them were passionate, intelligent women...
sincere to the extreme
in a patriarchal, puritan, hypocrite society.
I mean, they had to fight, not only to get recognition, as great artists
but also to exist, to assert to society
that they were independent women, and not just part of a family.
Elías Figueroa, world soccer star When you are so far away...
especially at important times
for us... September 18th, at Christmas, New Year's eve...
you cry! We cried a lot of times with the family...
listening to Violeta Parra, listening to her songs...
It gives us a sense of our togetherness.
Susana Rinaldi, Argentinian singer and actress I would like to talk about the legacy of character, strength, and temperament...
that a woman of the calibre of Violeta Parra has left us forever in her music.
A veritable personal seal, not only hers but also of a lot of South American women
who, as writers, or composers, spoke to the people in a simple, plain way...
but always with the intention
of keeping their memory alive in the interests of the people.
Violeta is life itself...
and let's make no mistake! You know very well that my reading of 'Thanks to Life'
has the spirit of a 'cueca'!
That's all... 'Thanks to Life'...
They sent me a message by express delivery. That letter tells me that my brother is a hostage
To go back and soon be volatile like a second
Isabel Allende, writer I've often used Violeta Parra's poetry in what I write.
I've read it and I've quoted it in several books I've written...
because I think she's amazing!
She and Pablo Neruda are my companions.
In exile, emigrants, and life companions...
We are united by our literary pursuits.
Isabel Cereceda Parra, singer-songwriter and elder daughter of Violeta Behind everything, the only thing is love...
because sharing is a primary need
overflowing with love! Violeta was full of love, her works...
full of pain, mixed with passion!
My songs are overflowing with love and passion and anyway...
Yes, they are results you achieve when there is so much love in between.
Franchita González, Franco-Spanish writer I loved her so much!
That love began because of lots of things in common.
Not only due to literature, am I right?...
No, it was something musical, because...
at that time I was... I played the guitar, and she taught me the rhythm of cueca, and...
- I can't do it anymore... - What about that guitar? - It's hers...
- Her guitar and a box of hers, Violeta's box. - Yes...
And you had it? Have you played that guitar often?
Daniel Viglietti, Uruguayan singer-songwriter 'Demon in Paradise' it's a strange arrangement in which...
I start up in a duo that I sometimes play with Mario Benedetti.
Another of Violeta's great admirers...
We mix Violeta's 'Demon in Paradise' with 'Refranívocos'.
Ironical phrases
Benedetti wrote. We chose some of them
and we interpolated them. When we play it together, Mario recites them
and I sing 'Demon'. But yesterday I had to take Mario's part too.
And I didn't sing Violeta's song, although it is an amazing transvestism!
But... I just interpret Violeta as best I can.
A torturer doesn't absolve himself committing suicide, but... at least it is something!
The just wear fetters and free walk the wicked.
Ninety pennies, one cent six hundred grams, one kilo.
The rich dressed in drags and the fat are thin and bony.
A cripple was jumping with dash on the blade of a sharp machete.
And 'eight by three: twenty-seven' the mathematician divides like that...
Javiera Parra, singer nephew of Violeta I really think that it might be very interesting
we could even do a hip-hop single...
and, to tell the truth, I'm not overly affected by reverential fear regarding the work of Violeta.
As you can't really categorize it...
you can do something electronic with it or even something more adventurous...
because her nature
would still induce her to give carte blanche to whoever wants to work with her texts...
I'm sure she would be creating incredible things.
Two questions are pestering me...
'What would Violeta be doing now?'
'What would John Lennon be doing now?'
Because they are the two people that make me say: 'Dammit! What a vacuum they've left!'.
Do you follow me? If you imagine what they could have done...
Mercedes Sosa, Argentinian singer From the moment I listened to
the last album of Violeta Parra
I was in love with 'Thanks to Life', 'Seventeen Again'
'The Flag'...
So I immediately recorded this 'Tribute to Violeta Parra'.
There is a song I really like.
'When I went to the Pampas
'I took in my heart'...
But all of her songs are beautiful...
She is a great composer, a great poet...
and that's why I too break into.
'The song for everyone, which also belongs to me
'Thanks to Life!
'Thanks to Life!
'Thanks to Life!
'Thanks to Life!'
Violeta Parra Park
Jorge Coulon, musician, founder and member of the 'Inti Illimani' group The new Chilean song, I'd say
can't be understood without Violeta.
With her compositions, Violeta Parra traced out
a path to be explored, fed by curiosity.
That is the path we all followed; the path, I mean...
that Victor Jara was the first one to follow.
Although they were almost together Violeta and him, the same goes for Patricio Manns...
That's why I say that everything stems from her. I think it started everything...
I'm convinced she is the mother of the new Chilean music.
Quinta Región juvenile orchestra
Viola Chilensis A documentary of love and struggle by Luis R. Vera