To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Violeta Parra’s birth, Chilean guitar player Eugenia Rodriguez Moretti is bringing the revolutionary musician’s melodies to Egypt, Jordan, and Palestine.
"I’m presenting a repertoire that is less known. These are the Violeta Parra’s original guitar solo compositions. … This is her most innovative and unconventional work," Moretti says of her musical choices. With the help of the Chilean embassy in Cairo, she’ll be teaching a class on Parra’s music at the School of Music at the University of Helwan.
Moretti, a famed Chilean musician, and a teacher says "Traditional Chilean music breaks down borders and transfers folkloric music to contemporary music," as her instructions in Spanish are translated to both English and Arabic for the university students.
Moretti released her homage to the famed Chilean folk singer and musician, The Other Guitar of Violeta Parra, in 2016 after four years of interpreting her original work. The album was only the second time - the first in 1994 - that Parra’s work had been recorded. Moretti calls it "material of great value."
Violeta Parra was the Woody Guthrie of Chile. In 1952 she began travelling the length of Chile to collect and curate the country’s folk and political songs, which she popularized on the radio. This was the first time Chile’s songs had been recorded and projected to a wide, national audience. She also composed and sang original songs that became very popular among the poor and popular classes of the South American country.
Though Parra, who committed suicide on Feb. 5, 1967, at the age of 49, influenced European music during the 1960s, it was her influence on Latin American music, embodied in what became known as Nueva Musica - New Music - that Parra is still known for 50 years after her death. Her socially and politically conscious New Music lyrics and guitar compositions captured the socialist and revolutionary ambience of the 1950s and 1960s in Latin America, influencing social justice movements then and now. She was a member of Chile’s communist party.
Moretti will present several concerts while in on her diplomatic trip, including a performance at the Cervantes Institute in Cairo next Monday to be dedicated to Parra’s recently deceased brother, the poet Nicanor Parra, who died on Jan. 23 at the age of 103 in Santiago.
Moretti adds that music from Chile and her concert display "a clear Spanish and Arabic influence."