Toronto and Vancouver based singer-songwriter Gisun has launched The Gracias a la Vida Project – a collaborative, philanthropic music initiative crossing an array of countries and communities during the global pandemic.
The project launch was marked by the release of Gracias a la Vida (thanks to life) – a special cover of Chilean singer Violeta Parra’s iconic 1966 song. Produced with friends and former colleagues from her time at the New School and beyond, Gisun gathered a diverse ensemble of five vocalists to create a unique take, each person contributing a verse with their own flair. The project is partnering with Music Heals is to bring attention to the importance of music therapy, where proceeds of the song will be donated to support their work and to encourage public involvement.
The Gracias a la Vida Project was developed in the early stages of the pandemic as Gisun reflected on daily gratitude. Throughout this very transformational year, she especially connected with the Mercedes Sosa version (Homenaje a Violeta Parra) of Gracias a la Vida. The ensemble voices have roots in Canada, the US, the UK, Italy, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Korea, Colombia, Uruguay, Ecuador, Puerto Rico and beyond, with experience in volunteer work and community engagement. As it is one of the most widely covered Latin songs to date, Gisun gathered an incredible team of artists within the Latin American Diaspora to bring an array of styles and backgrounds into the fold; Montreal, Quebec’s Ada Lea, Italian-Congolese artist, Sans Soucis, and two artists based in New York: Bianca Muñiz, Joy Morales, and Guayaquil, Ecuador-based, Luz Pinos. In addition, guitarists, Stephen Orr and Alper Tuzcu, perform on the track.
The video was produced by Rodrigo Ferrat, compiling performance videos independently filmed by each artist. With an aim to reach a global audience, particularly connecting with Latin American communities, the music video includes closed captions in English, French, Italian, and Portuguese.
Check out the video below:
“Despite such a hard year, for all of us around the globe, we have been given the gift of family and togetherness during a time where plague has riddled us with separation and loneliness. It brings such happiness to be able to sing the words gracias a la vida, as we are grateful that it has given us a united family. This is a time where gratefulness can really help us heal, spiritually and physically. Through re-connectivity with others and ourselves, we have regained a deeper appreciation for community, family, and friends,” says the ensemble on The Gracias a la Vida Project. “Gracias a la Vida is an interesting song, because it stands in the midst of forking paths. On one hand, this song has become a global song of humanism and of hope. But on the other, this is the goodbye letter of songwriter Violeta Parra to the world. Being able to expand on the possibilities of collaborating with musicians from around the world has been a shining light.” – Gisun
Gisun is influenced by her Uruguayan background and South Korean roots to showcase her own style of Latin and soul-inspired music. Her songs weave together stories that reflect distinct chapters and stages of life. Since 2017, she has released three EPs: Suspiras, Partes, and Fin, in collaboration with musicians and sound engineers in New York, Spain, Toronto, and Vancouver. Currently, Gisun is working on her first full-length album with musicians from all over the world.
Music Heals increases access to music therapy for patients in children’s hospitals, seniors centres, palliative care, AIDS & HIV programs, at-risk youth, rehabilitation, and bereavement support. To date Music Heals has funded over 32,000 music therapy sessions. You can learn more about Music Heals and support the organization by donating or getting involved here and through their website and social media below.