This study analyzes the uses of technology—tape recorder, radio, television—by the Chilean folklorist Violeta Parra (1917–1967). Instead of conceiving her work as a preservation of traditional forms, this article proves that Parra assumed a mobile positionality, from which she transformed the cultural status of the Chilean canto popular campesino, and technology played a key role in that process of transformation. In the first section of the article, I define the locus from which Parra works, shaped by mobility and migration. Then, I focus on the uses of the recorder in her compilations, describing the reactions of cantores populares when facing this new technology. Finally, I analyze Parra's involvement with mass media outlets during the 1950s and 1960s. She strategically used media to reach broader audiences, and this process of registration and circulation drastically modified the oral status of Chilean canto popular. Violeta Parra not only preserved a highly valuable corpus of Chilean popular culture but also was an active agent in the transformations of these songs.


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pp. 128-144
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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