Gracias a la Vida

Performed by Holly Near with John Bucchino
Words & music by Violeta Parra

Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto.
Thank you to life, which has given me so much.

Me dió dos luceros, que cuando los abro.
It gave me two beams of light, that when opened,

Perfecto distingo lo negro del blanco
Can perfectly distinguish black from white

Y en el alto cielo su fondo estrellado,
And in the sky above, her starry backdrop,

Y en las multitudes
And from within the multitude

el hombre que yo amo.
The one that I love.

 

Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto.
Thank you to life, which has given me so much.

Me ha dado el oído que en todo su ancho
It gave me an ear that, in all of its width

Graba noche y día grillos y canarios
Records— night and day—crickets and canaries,

Martillos, turbinas, ladrillos, chubascos
Hammers and turbines and bricks and storms,

Y la voz tan tierna de mi bien amado.
And the tender voice of my beloved.

 

Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto.
Thank you to life, which has given me so much.

Me ha dado el sonido y el abecedario.
It gave me sound and the alphabet.

Con él las palabras que pienso y declaro,
With them the words that I think and declare:

“Madre,” “amigo,”hermano,” y luz alumbrando
“Mother,” “Friend,” “Brother” and the light shining.

La ruta del alma del que estoy amando.
The route of the soul from which comes love.

 

Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto.
Thank you to life, which has given me so much.

Me ha dado la marcha de mis pies cansados.
It gave me the ability to walk with my tired feet.

Con ellos anduve ciudades y charcos,
With them I have traversed cities and puddles

Valles y desiertos, montañas y llanos,
Valleys and deserts, mountains and plains.

Y la casa tuya, tu calle y tu patio.
And your house, your street and your patio.

 

Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto.
Thank you to life, which has given me so much.

Me dió el corazón, que agita su marco.
It gave me a heart, that causes my frame to shudder,

Cuando miro el fruto del cerebro humano,
When I see the fruit of the human brain,

Cuando miro al bueno tan lejos del malo.
When I see good so far from bad,

Cuando miro el fondo de tus ojos claros.
When I see within the clarity of your eyes…

 

Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto.
Thank you to life, which has given me so much.

Me ha dado la risa, me ha dado el llanto.
It gave me laughter and it gave me longing.

Así yo distingo dicha de quebranto,
With them I distinguish happiness and pain—

Los dos materiales que forman mi canto,
The two materials from which my songs are formed,

Y el canto de ustedes que es el mismo canto.
And your song, as well, which is the same song.

Y el canto de todos que es mi propio canto
And everyone’s song, which is my very song.

Performed by Holly Near with John Bucchino
Words & music by Violeta Parra
© 2000 Warner Chappell (BMI)
Previously unreleased master © 2006, Holly Near
Translation credit: William Morín
www.hollynear.com
www.johnbucchino.com

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Laura Nyro, Suzanne Vega, Patti Larkin, Jennifer Berezan, Holly Near, Cris Williamson, Cathy Fink, Marcy Marxer, and 15 other women musicians.