Ángel Parra - Chante Violeta Parra: Violeta Se Fue a Los Cielos
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Ángel Parra
Chante Violeta Parra: Violeta Se Fue a Los Cielos
Daqui (www.daqui.org)

Violeta Parra was much renowned and beloved in the mid-20th century as the mother of Nueva Canción Chilena, a renewal of the Chilean folk song tradition. She was a true renaissance woman - a composer, folklorist, artist, poet, and activist. Her tragic suicide in 1967 did not still her voice. Her songs have been covered by many artists, including Mercedes Sosa, Joan Baez, and, with this new release, her son Ángel. He eschews the folkloric instrumentation favored by his mother (guitar, charango, and bomba) and replaces them with the spare, sensitive piano of Matias Pizarro. The result is the elevation of the songs from folk to art music.

The younger Parra has a deep, smoky voice with an aching duskiness. He is, however, capable of being playful when the lyrics call for it, as on the teasing "Mazúrquica Modérnica," a piece that just oozes sly sarcasm. The music here plumbs the depths of despair, grasps onto the coattails of hope, and speaks truth to power. "Santiago Penando Estás" has a dire darkness to it, with its burgundy piano chords and deep vocal vibrato. The more optimistic "Arriba Quemando El Sol" climbs through the keys with a triumph that builds through the song's four and a half minutes. "Parabienes Al Revés" has a lustrous, swinging joy to it. You can just hear the broad smile in his voice. He closes the album with his mother's last and most famous song, "Gracias a la Vida," a lovely hymn of gratitude, albeit fraught with stinging irony. Ángel sings it with an air of quiet resignation and the soul of a man at peace with his life and his past. - Peggy Latkovich

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