Gracias a la Vida

Ver esta página en español

Pace presents Gracias a la Vida: The Rebel Spirit of Chile’s Legendary Voice

Illapu, Ana Tijoux, and Colombina Parra join in historic concert to celebrate Chile’s influential songwriter, folklorist and political force

NYC tribute concert set for Friday April 17 at Pace’s Michael Schimmel Center

On Friday April 17th, Pace University is proud to present Gracias a la Vida: The Rebel Spirit of Chile’s Legendary Voice. The program, which will be performed at the Michael Schimmel Center at 7:30pm, is a special celebration of the life and music of Violeta Parra, the immensely influential Chilean singer, songwriter, folklorist and political force.

This historic multi-generational tribute will feature three of Chile’s most important musical voices: the young singer/songwriter Colombina Parra, Andean folk heroes Illapu, and the Chilean hip-hop artist Ana Tijoux.

Violeta Parra [1917-1967] has long been revered for her songs of struggle, defiance, and triumph, as well as for her work in the revival of Latin American folk traditions and instruments. Violeta Parra's work —both as a singer-songwriter and field musicologist— fostered the birth of the Nueva Canción Chilena (New Chilean Song) era, a back-to-roots, politically charged folk song movement in the late '60s and early '70s. In spite of the brutal repression of the 17-year Pinochet dictatorship, her music's influence remained unaltered both inside and outside of Chile. And today, many of the acclaimed exponents of the new Chilean pop cite her as a fundamental influence.

An example of Parra’s larger impact is her signature song, “Gracias a la vida” (Thanks to Life) which has become an international classic (and anthem), covered by a wide range of artists including Joan Baez, Mercedes Sosa, Plácido Domingo, and Michael Bublé.

This event brings together for the first time a trio of exciting Chilean artists whose music and message is deeply inspired by Parra, in styles ranging from nueva canción to rock and pop.

Illapu, founded in Chile in 1971, are well known for their sophisticated interpretations of Andean folklore and rhythms. Illapu (“lightning bolt” in Chile’s indigenous Quechua language) rose to fame for their guitar-based songs featuring politically-pointed lyrics set against pan flutes and Andean rhythms. In 1981, upon returning to Chile after a tour, the military dictatorship refused to allow them back into the country. Thus began a prolonged exile for the group in France and Mexico. When they returned to Chile in 1988, at their first concert they were cheered on by a crowd of 100,000 supporters.

Colombina Parra is a rising alternative rock singer-songwriter who came of age in the Chilean grunge/alternative rock scene of the 1990s. The niece of Violeta, Colombina achieved widespread success in her own right through early video exposure on MTV Latin America. Her most recent CD, “Detrás del Vidrio” (Behind the Glass), was nominated for Best Pop Album in Chile in 2013.

Ana Tijoux first found acclaim as the female MC of the Chilean hiphop group Makiza. Born in France to Chilean parents who fled to Europe during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, Tijoux moved back to Chile as a teenager and found a home in the emerging hip-hop scene of Santiago. Her solo career has brought her success throughout Latin America. Tijoux garnered mainstream attention in the U.S. when her single “1977” was featured on the TV series Breaking Bad.

Gracias a la Vida: The Rebel Spirit of Chile’s Legendary Voice
Featuring Illapu + Colombina Parra + Ana Tijoux
Friday April 17 at 7:30pm
Pace University / Michael Schimmel Center
3 Spruce Street, New York, NY 10038
Tickets: All Seats $29

Sat April 18 Chicago Old Town School of Folk Music (Illapu + Colombina Parra)
Sat April 25 LA Walt Disney Concert Hall (Illapu + Colombina Parra+ Ana Tijoux + Francisca Valenzuela)

Produced by Claudia Norman and Isabel Soffer
Curated by Isabel Soffer
This engagement of Gracias a la Vida: The Rebel Spirit of Chile’s Legendary Voice is made possible through Southern Exposure: Performing Arts of Latin America, a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation.

This tour is supported by The Embassy of Chile