Silvia Balducci, accomplished guitarist, songwriter & activist, has a passion for the New Chilean Song movement of the 1960s & 70s. She breathes new life into work by the great Violeta Parra, whose songs, including “Gracias a la vida”, continue to captivate hearts across the globe. The songs of Victor Jara, the ‘Bob Dylan of Latin America’, who was tragically killed in Pinochet’s coup, are revived with a freshness and poignancy that touch the core. Silvia’s latest album “Buscando a Violeta” was met with acclaim when on tour in Chile, marking the recent 100th anniversary of her birth.
A passionate artist, originally from Italy but a world-based singer-guitarist, Silvia is also a multi-instrumentalist as well as a prolific songwriter (writing in English, Spanish & Italian) and talented arranger-producer. Her interpretations are brimming with originality and emotion. She has collaborated with many Chilean artists, as well as artists from different genres, participating in numerous cross-cultural fusion projects including Indian, electronica, and Arabic music and integrates these different musical styles into her own. She has produced two beautiful albums reviving the repertoire of Chile’s most significant composers: Violeta Parra and Victor Jara. She has just returned from another tour in Latin America.
Violeta Parra, Chilean composer, folk singer, and social activist, is best known as one of the founders of the politically inflected Nueva Canción (“New Song”) movement. In addition, she painted, wrote poetry, sculpted, and wove arpilleras (folk tapestries). She started writing songs at an early age, initially performing at bars, small ballrooms, and circuses. In 1952, encouraged by her brother poet Nicanor Parra, she travelled throughout Chile to record the breadth of Chilean folk music. Her exposure to that music served as her inspiration for Nueva Canción, and her work began to synthesize Chilean folk traditions and her growing concern for social conditions.Embracing a broad spectrum of musical styles, Nueva Canción stood as an emblem of the socially, economically, and politically marginalized peoples of Latin America and their struggle for social justice. Parra’s music and art often served as a critique of the wealthy landowning elite of Chilean society as well as of the church and the military, all of whom she held responsible for the social and economic plight of Chile’s disenfranchised poor. In 1954, having been awarded what was referred to as the “Chilean Oscar” at the Caupolicán Theatre for her music, Parra was invited to Poland to play at a youth festival. She popularized her music as she travelled throughout the Soviet Union and Europe, and finally settled in Paris for two years, where she recorded several albums. Parra’s stay was cut short by the sudden death of her youngest daughter, and she returned to Chile in 1956. In 1957 she met with folksinger Víctor Jara and inspired the young artist to join the movement. Both artists strongly supported Salvador Allende’s early bids for the Chilean presidency, and Parra maintained ties with members of Chile’s socialist and communist parties. She committed suicide at age 49 while living in a tent on the outskirts of Santiago.
Finnish Church, 33 Albion Street, Rotherhithe, SE16 7HZ Friday 8th March. Doors open at 6.30pm for 7pm. Admission: £14/£10/£8.