I used to spend a great deal of time in record stores during the earlier years of my life. At the time there were many stores to go to in the Milwaukee, where I grew up, with my fondest memories of Dirty Jack's Record Rack on the east side of Milwaukee. If you asked me, I could probably name a whole list of new recording artists that I was turned on to and purchased just because of the album cover - either the photos/art work caught my eye or the liner notes on the back were intriguing enough to capture my interest. Acts like the Beach Boys, Rolling Stones and Blood Sweat and Tears, and many other first albums, were purchased by me long before I ever heard their music on the radio. Not only was Dirty Jack's a great place to hang out and find new artists, but this store also gave our record label a foothold in the local community when we released new albums by Woodbine's Roots and Susan & Richard Thomas' A Burst Of Life.
Now that most of the record stores have disappeared (at least near where I live) and CD's have print so small that I can barely read it, I have shifted my searching for new inspiration to our TV's movie provider. I am constantly searching the titles for something new and unknown to listen to and watch. That's how I continue to discover the amazing artists this world has to offer.
During a recent search, I came across a movie dedicated to the memory of Violeta Parra, a songwriter considered to be Chile's equivalent of Edith Piaf and Bob Dylan. It is entitled Violeta Went To Heaven. I watched it for the first time late on Saturday night, March 8th, 2014. Her most popular song is Gracias a la Vida (thanks to life) was, at one time, one of the most covered Latin American songs including a version by Joan Baez. Her music, art, life story and tragic death touched me in many ways. In addition to being a collector of Chilean fold songs and a songwriter, Violeta is a world renowned artist in a number of different Medias. Her works have been exhibited in the Louvre at a special one person exhibit. This was just one of the shows honoring her talent that expanding her reputation throughout Europe and South America. I was overwhelmed by the extent of her creativity.
After the movie ended, I sat in silence for quite a while then moved into my home studio and starting putting together a first draft of the music and lyrics. I felt strongly that it was a song that needed to be played on a classical guitar. So, the next afternoon, while at a community wide garage sale, I found one for $40, no case. After tuning the guitar down a couple steps, everything fell into place, adding the texture I was looking for. I finished the song at Midnight on March 20th, 2014.
Violeta is quite a bit different than the other songs I have written recently but it seems, at least to me, to capture her spirit and the loss I felt by her passing even after only knowing her from a movie of her life. RpT
Violeta - Sunset in your eyes
Violeta - Clouds in crimson skies
As you paint your pictures with love and light
For all the world to see
Deep within you struggle and fight - The demons in your life
Violeta - Storm Clouds in your eyes
Violeta - Expert of disguise
You can hide the pain of love and loss - So very few will see
But you can't stop love's cruelty - From tearing up your life
I don't speak your language - Still I understand
All your pain and anguish - Is like blood upon your hands
Violeta - Death has closed your eyes
Violeta - It comes as no surprise
That so many years have come and gone
Your voice lingers on
Sands of time are playing your song - Thank you for your life
2014 Richard Paul Thomas
Captured Rainbow Music ASCAP
For more information about this fascinating artist, please check out the following sites: