Gracias a la Vida

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"Gracias a la vida" (Spanish for "Thanks to life") is a song composed and first performed by Chilean musician Violeta Parra, one of the artists who set the basis for the movement known as Nueva Canción. Parra composed "Gracias a la vida" in La Paz in 1966[1], and the song was released on Las Últimas Composiciones, the last album Parra published before committing suicide in 1967. The song is one of Parra's most renowned and is performed throughout the world, and remains as one of the most covered Latin American songs in history. The song was inducted into the Latin Grammy Hall of Fame in 2013.[2]


Folk singer Joan Baez brought the song to the American audiences in 1974 when she included a cover of the song on her Spanish language album of the same name. It remains a concert staple of Baez' to this day.

Finnish singer Arja Saijonmaa recorded this song in both Finnish (Miten voin kyllin kiittää) and Swedish (Jag vill tacka livet).[3] Her Swedish interpretation is one of the most well-known of her Swedish-language oeuvres, and she sang it during Olof Palme's funeral in March 1986.[4] Marie Bergmann also recorded a Swedish version of "Jag vill tacka livet" on her album Hjärtats Lust in 1981. Canadian singer/songwriter Nancy White recorded her English translation (with permission of Warner Chappell Music Argentina (SADAIC))on her 1998 Borealis cd "Gaelic Envy".

One of the artists most associated with "Gracias a la vida" is the Argentine singer Mercedes Sosa. "Gracias a la vida" became something of a personal anthem for Sosa and was a constant in all of her performances up until her death.

BBC Radio 4's program, "Soul Music," devoted an episode to the song, first aired on November 25, 2014, consisting of conversations with individuals for whom the song had a particularly meaningful place in their lives.[5]

Cover versions[edit]

Artists for Chile version[edit]

"Gracias a la Vida"
Gracias a la vida.png
Single by Artists for Chile
ReleasedMay 4, 2010
RecordedMarch—April 2010
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)Violeta Parra
Producer(s)Humberto Gatica

"Gracias a la Vida" is a charity single recorded by the supergroup Artists for Chile, called too Voces Unidas por Chile in 2010. The single was released one week before another charity single for the event, "Que Cante la Vida", performed by various artists too including Alex Ubago, Belinda, Carlos Baute, Aleks Syntek, Luis Fonsi, among others.

Background and release[edit]

The song was set to released on April 22, 2010 via Warner Bros. Records, but it was pushed back because Shakira's part on the song was not yet recorded. The official release date for the single was May 4, 2010 in Chile, Latin America, Mexico and United States in digital download format available on iTunes and others music digital stores and radio airplay.[9]

The intention of Warner Music, is edit the song internationally in both physical and digital format, is available on May 4, 2010. The profits from their sale went to Habitat for Humanity, which works to provide housing to families in need in various countries, including Chile.[9]

Recording process[edit]

Chilean singer Beto Cuevas, former leader of the group La Ley, recruited artists such Mexican Fher, voice of the group Maná, Spanish Miguel Bosé and Colombian Juanes to record a new version of the song "Gracias a la Vida" to raise aid for the reconstruction after magnitude 8.8 Mw earthquake in Chile.[10] Cuevas joined the producer Humberto Gatica to record the anthem of Violeta Parra with a group of international artists to come to the aid of earthquake victims in Chile.[10]

Juanes recorded his part from London in the United Kingdom, Guerra from Dominican Republic, Laura Pausini from Italy and Fher from Guadalajara, Mexico, "We are committed to the Chilean people, which is facing a big problem" said the vocalist of Maná. Along with the song, a classic written by Chilean Violeta Parra immortalized by Argentina Mercedes Sosa has recorded a video with statements of all participating artists and images of the tragedy. "Anything that has to do for this country, always will," Bosé said in its segment. "Last year, my land, Italy, experienced a similar tragedy to which Chile is experiencing," recalled Laura Pausini, referring to the earthquake in the area of Abruzzo.[9]

Artists for Chile musicians[edit]

Release details[edit]

Region Date Label Format
Chile[9] May 4, 2010 Warner Bros. Records Digital download
Radio airplay
May 12, 2010 CD Single
United States[9] May 4, 2010 Digital download
Latin America[9]


  1. ^ "Testimonios de Violeta Parra en La Paz" (PDF). Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  2. ^ "Latin GRAMMY Hall Of Fame". Latin Grammy Award. Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  3. ^ "Jag vill tacka livet" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. 1979. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  4. ^ "Arja Saijonmaa på Visfestival Holmön" (in Swedish). Finnish Embassy in Stockholm. 28 July 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  5. ^ "Gracias A La Vida". Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  6. ^ On Youtube
  7. ^ Official website of the campaign.
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c d e f g "Con voz de Shakira se completa grabación de "Gracias a la vida" para damnificados de Chile" (in Spanish). El Mercurio. April 15, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-24.
  10. ^ a b "Graba Beto Cuevas tema a favor de Chile" (in Spanish). Ritmoson. March 13, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-15.

External links[edit]