Gracias A La Vida (Here's To Life)

July 26, 1994 | Format: MP3

$9.49
Song Title
Time
Popularity  
30
1
3:36
30
2
2:14
30
3
3:40
30
4
3:24
30
5
3:54
30
6
2:34
30
7
3:35
30
8
4:31
30
9
0:56
30
10
3:04
30
11
2:29
30
12
2:57
30
13
3:41
30
14
2:41
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: April 28, 1986
  • Release Date: July 26, 1994
  • Label: A&M
  • Copyright: (C) 1974 A&M Records
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 43:16
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B000V6AEDQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,558 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Bundtlust TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 2, 2005
Format: Audio CD
As a music seller, naturally, I've heard *of* Joan Baez, but had never heard her music. A few days ago I came across a review for "Gracias A La Vida." One reviewer mentioned the similarities to Linda Ronstadt's excellent "Canciones de mi padre," which has been one of my favourite Spanish-language CDs for years. Strangely enough, at work the next day, I was going through boxes of old audio cassette tapes from the last twenty years, when to my surprise...a copy of "Gracias A La Vida" appeared. I put it into the tape player, not knowing what to expect from an album more than thirty years old.

The fourteen songs feature Veracruz harp, Latin guitar and percussion, and the warm, clear voice of Joan. The beautiful Spanish lyrics are profound in their simplicity and grace. "Gracias a la vida" (Here's To Life), by Violeta Parra, begins as a solo, but turns into a magical duet towards the final chorus. "Llegó con tres heridas" (I Come With Three Wounds) is a very short, moving song that contains only four simple lines: "I come with three wounds: those of life, death and love." Again, the haunting harmony and simple strumming of a guitar are the sole embellishments.

Her version of the Mexican ballad/folktale "La Llorona" (The Wailing Woman) is stunning. There is a melancholy that seeps into your soul upon hearing this ballad, with its castanets, strummed guitars, violin, and pain-drenched lyrics ("They say that I do not feel pain, Llorona, because they don't see me cry"). Other outstanding versions of "La Llorona" include recordings by the legendary Chavela Vargas (recently seen in Julie Taymor's biopic of Frida Kahlo; Chavela was one of Frida's real-life lovers) and Mexican songstress Lila Downs (both found on the Frida soundtrack by Elliot Goldenthal).
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Margaret L. McQuaid on February 23, 2002
Format: Audio CD
That's the first line of the 12th canto of Neruda's "The Heights of Machu Picchu". Baez's recitation (though slightly abridged) is brilliant. Her sensitivity, not only to words and rhythm, but also to that rare thing called "cultural context" make this album a stand-out.
Recorded in the early 70's, Baez covers a number of traditional Mexican ballads, and goes much farther afield to tap other wellsprings of Spanish folk and traditional music. In particular, she explores the then-current Chilean "New Song" movement with Violetta Parra's joyous "Gracias a la Vida" and an exquisitely subtle and heartbreaking cover of Victor Jara's "Te Requerdo, Amanda". Even while singing in Spanish, she shows her mastery of both the emotional and political nuances of her material.
This music is beautifully arranged and orchestrated, and Baez's voice was never better. Her choices of music bring in the full range of the joy, sorrow, and endurance of the human spirit.
Gracias a la Joanie!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By B. Kelly on March 6, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am a teacher of high school Spanish, I have been using this record for 2 decades in the classroom!. I finally decided to look for it in CD as the record/record player slides into history! Just today I used Rossinyol which is an example of the Catalan language. Guantanamera is poetry by Cuba's boy patriot, Jose Marti. La Llorona is sad, sorrowful legend. There is poetry by Pablo Neruda and United Farm worker songs of solidarity. It is a vertiable wealth of Spanish culture in one place.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 20, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I do not know a word of Spanish, but this 1974 recording always moves me. The songs are so beautiful that one doesn't really need to understand the words to enjoy the music. Some are easy to sing along to, like the foot-tapping title track, Guantanamera, Cucuru Paloma and De Colores, while others are rather sad and a little more structurally complex, like Llego Con Tres Heridas and El Preso Numero Nueve. Subtitled 'Joan Baez Sings in Spanish', the album does contain one Catalan number and is a proper folk recording with songs from Spain and various Latin American countries. Most of the tracks have addictive Latin rhythms and catchy hooks; the instruments include acoustic, bass & classical guitars, cello, harp, harmonica, percussion, strings, flute & woodwinds while a Mariachi band provides backing on two songs.

It opens with the inspiring title track (Here's to Life), a lilting song written by Violeta Parra that lists lots of things to be grateful for. Llego Con Tres Heridas (I Come with Three Wounds) which follows is melancholy as Joan sings Miguel Hernández's lament on life, love and death. The mournful mood continues on the tuneful traditional song La Llorona (The Weeping Woman) after which the Mariachi band takes over on the rhythmic El Preso Número Nueve (Prisoner Number Nine). Guantanamera is especially buoyant with appealing guitar textures and on the wordless Dida, Joni Mitchell duets with Joan. The melodious
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