"She was gay and very smart, despite her
bad moods. But, like with all of the Parras, that
would go away fast. Violeta did not know of enemies".
That's the way in which
popular singer Eduardo Parra, the author of the
book My sister Violeta Parra: her life and
work in décimas. From their childhood
in Chillán —when their parents, self-taught
musicians, would motivate their children to sing—
to her suicide in Santiago, the book passes through
all of her travellings, works, adventures and
artistic misfortunes. For Lalo, of all his siblings
Violeta was "the smartest, the one who would
dominate us all. The one who took us out of poverty".
When they were just six and five years old (respectively),
Violeta and Eduardo were already singing at Chillán's
central market. It was Violeta the one to lead.
"Violeta would inspire us to compete on singing,
because we all knew she was the best".
personality is marked by strength and determination,
which are graciously described by Lalo in his
—Did your parents play music
—My mother used to sing and play the guitar. Mi
father also sang and played violin; he was a music
teacher at a regiment. They both made a duet and
sang in each of Chillán's parties.
—Did Violeta use to fall in love easily?
—When she was ten, she would make me give love
letters to this boy. At 12 she moved to Santiago,
because of Nicanor, our eldest brother. I moved
the next year. Violeta was very young-at-heart.
The only boyfriend we knew was a man we met while
working at a store, in Matucana and Mapocho [Santiago's
downtown]. That was Luis Cereceda, her only husband.
They fell in love, he was a good man, quiet; later
the father of Ángel and Isabel.
—What happened when you moved to Santiago?
—Violeta was studying at Grammar School, but I
was an intern. I wanted to leave, and she helped
me. She advised me to get just lousy grades, so
I would loose the scholarship. That I did, and
they kicked me out.
—Why do you think Violeta commited suicide?
—Artists are very passionate, melancolic. When
we see that our work is not getting attention,
and neither is love... Violeta was working at
her tent, in La Reina [Santiago], but things were
not going well. She could not think of a way out,
that's what I think. Maybe, her only way
out was suicide.
—How did you live her death?
—It was the greatest of pains, nobody could believe
what had happened. I went to the tent to see if
it was true. I was the first relative to get there.
And there was Violeta, dead.