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Violeta Parra

Violeta Parra: A Presentation

A Friday, June 8, 1990, after six months of rehearsals, a group of musicians and non-musicians, which included Elena Brauchy (Chile), Melania Bruno (Puerto Rico), Mérida Castillo (Cuba), Tito Fuster (España), Alfredo Gómez (Uruguay), Yolanda Meléndez (Puerto Rico), Marisa Peralta (Chile), Miguel Pérez (Puerto Rico), Sergio Reyes (Chile), Carlos Salamanca (Puerto Rico), Ricardo Sánchez (Colombia), Carlos Suárez (Perú), Juan Vargas (Puerto Rico) and Mary Westropp (U.S.), presented to a mixed Latino and American public the life of Violeta Parra. An American friend, a professional theater stage lighting specialist gave us his gift of talent and time to create the right environment with lights.

I had the honor to lead this group of volunteers to bring to life again the works of our major folk music composer and researcher. For the majority of the artists, this was also a learning experience and discovery of Violeta Parra.

For those who came to listen and see, the life and music of Violeta was also a revelation. The audience was relatively small, because the stage room in the Old Cambridge Baptist Church in Cambridge, could only accomodate 200 people. Many had to listen standing up or seating on the floor. It was a success. But, the human expressions of appreciation at the end of the presentation were even more satisfying.

An array of narration, readings of testimonies of relatives and friends of Violeta, and her songs, for nearly two hours, allowed all of us to get closer to her work and her spirit, which will continue to be alive in our memories and hearts.

The work I include here can be used by any group of cultural workers or volunteers to celebrate Violeta's life.

Sergio Reyes

December 24, 2001.