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Pick of the Month: Mercedes Sosa – Gracias a la Vida

Thank you to Nancy Eagles of  Inanna Herbal Remedies Ltd. for directing me to this remarkable performance of “Gracias a la Vida” by Argentine singer Mercedes Sosa. Regrettably, the fine guitarist’s name is not provided. Mercedes Sosa just passed away recently on October 4, 2009. Without knowing what this song was about, something about Mercedes Sosa’s singing had me tingling within the first couple of notes.

From Wikipedia:
“Gracias a la Vida” (English: Thanks to life) is the name of a popular Chilean folk song composed and first performed by Chilean Violeta Parra, one of the artists who set the basis for the movement known as Nueva Canción. It was released in Las Últimas Composiciones (1966), the last album Parra published before committing suicide in 1967.

The song is one of Parra’s most renowned and performed through the world, and remains as one of the most covered Latin American songs in history.

Here is the English translation by Mercedes Sosa

Thanks to life (Violeta Parra)

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me two beams of light, that when opened,
Can perfectly distinguish black from white
And in the sky above, her starry backdrop,
And from within the multitude
The one that I love.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me an ear that, in all of its width
Records— night and day—crickets and canaries,
Hammers and turbines and bricks and storms,
And the tender voice of my beloved.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me sound and the alphabet.
With them the words that I think and declare:
“Mother,” “Friend,” “Brother” and the light shining.
The route of the soul from which comes love.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me the ability to walk with my tired feet.
With them I have traversed cities and puddles
Valleys and deserts, mountains and plains.
And your house, your street and your patio.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me a heart, that causes my frame to shudder,
When I see the fruit of the human brain,
When I see good so far from bad,
When I see within the clarity of your eyes…

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me laughter and it gave me longing.
With them I distinguish happiness and pain—
The two materials from which my songs are formed,
And your song, as well, which is the same song.
And everyone’s song, which is my very song.

Thanks to life
Thanks to life
Thanks to life
Thanks to life

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