A legendary, multifaceted artist, Violeta Parra was treasurer and guardian of Chile's deepest traditions and a woman of intense contradictions and unique genius.

A singer, songwriter, author, poet, painter, and ethnomusicologist, Parra rescued a forgotten traditional culture, traveling throughout Chile to research Chilean traditional music, collecting songs and lyrics for an unprecedented project of recovery and revival that sparked a Latin American folk music movement, the nueva canción.

Parra was born in 1917 to a large family in southern Chile, the daughter of a small town music teacher and a seamstress. Her father, Nicanor, instilled a love of music and poetry. When their father died, leaving the family in desperate poverty, the children, led by Violeta, began to perform songs in the local market. The Parras would slowly migrate to Santiago in pursuit of education, led and encouraged by eldest son Nicanor, Chile’s “anti-poet.”

In 1964 Parra’s tapestries were exhibited at the Louvre, a first for a Latin American artist.

Fresh from her success in Europe, she returned to Chile and established an ambitious folk music center at La Reina, her “university of folklore”—-a rustic tent that would hold workshops during the day and become a live music peña at night.

Misunderstood and underappreciated by the Chilean public and estranged from her long-time partner, Parra committed suicide at La Reina in 1967 at the age of 49.

Her poetic, ingenious, and socially committed compositions have been deeply influential in Latin American and around the world.