Violeta Parra: Artist and Mother of Latin American Folk

"I’m just a tiny woman, but this edifice doesn’t impress me. Mark my words: before long, you’ll see my works exhibited here." Violeta Parra standing outside the Louvre

Violeta Parra (pronounced bjoˈleta ˈpara) was born Violeta del Carmen Parra Sandoval on October 4, 1917 and passed away on February 5, 1967. Parra was a Chilean composer, songwriter, folklorist, ethnomusicologist, visual artist and the first Latin American artist to exhibit at the Louvre in Paris, France, in 1964. Visitors were able to see 26 paintings, 22 tapestries, some small sculptures made of wire and masks covered with a mosaic of grains of rice, lentils and seeds . The exhibit was announced by a poster made by Violeta herself, who embroidered over a black cloth a big eye and the letters with the information. View Parra's amazing works here

Parra pioneered the Nueva canción chilena (the Chilean New Song), a movement and genre of Chilean traditional and folk music incorporating political and social themes. She continues to be celebrated as the "Mother of Latin American Folk" in Memorium just as she was in her lifetime.

Check out the biopic Violeta Went to Heaven (2011) on Kanopy, opens a new window; it's a wonderful film and a great introduction for anyone interested in learning more about the life of this legendary artist. 


Here are a few of our favorite tracks from Violeta Parra.