Violeta Parra (1917–1967) was a multifaceted and talented musician and artist. A prolific songwriter, she composed more than two hundred songs as well as experimental pieces for guitar, documentary soundtracks, and music for ballet. Her most famous song, “Gracias a la vida,” has been performed by musicians the world over. In the realm of the visual arts, she was a ceramicist, sculptress, painter, and tapestry maker. In 1964, she became the first Latin American artist to have a solo exhibition at the Louvre Palace’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Parra was also an award-winning folklorist who collected hundreds of songs and other folklore from every region of Chile. Born in southern Chile, she moved to Santiago at age fifteen, where she spent two decades performing a mixture of popular songs from Latin America that is often referred to as música criolla. At age thirty-five she turned to the authentic, first as a folklorist and then as an artist. She was a leader of the Chilean folk revival of the 1950s and inspired the generation of Chilean musicians who formed the protest song movement known as nueva canción in the 1960s. A communist sympathizer, she traveled to Europe as a member of the Chilean delegation to the Soviet-sponsored World Festival of Youth and Students in 1955 (Warsaw) and 1962 (Helsinki). Each time she toured the Soviet Bloc, then made her way to Paris for an extended sojourn. Parra contributed a significant voice to the national debate over chilenidad (Chilean identity) during a critical juncture in Chile’s economic, social, and cultural development. Her biography sheds light on transnational cultural movements and competing notions of authenticity at the height of the Cold War. It is also the deeply human story of Parra’s tenacious struggle to be seen and heard as an artist on her own terms.