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Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

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The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Chilean singer-songwriter Ricardo Parra showcases broad vocals and guitar riffs

Miya Tanner
Chilean singer-songwriter and guitarist Ricardo Parra performs at the Benson Latin American library on Sept. 14, 2023. His performance includes a setlist of his own written songs to Bossa nova, Jazz, Latin, and other styles blended together.

Rapidly pulling his guitar strings, the singer fills in the quiet gap of the small room. He proceeds to hook the audience in with his mellow voice, something he’s honed since the age of six.

“I started singing (since) I was a kid, firstly because my mom was a singer,” said Ricardo Parra, singer-songwriter from Concepción, Chile. “In the beginning, she would join me at home with her guitar and I would sing.”

Parra started composing his own songs after adolescence and released his first CD at 20 years old. Now he mainly resides in Mexico City, moving in order to grow as a musician since his hometown had limited opportunities. There, he has been able to play at the National Institute of Fine Arts of Mexico, along with other historical sites in North and South America. The singer plays a variety of musical genres, such as bossanova, folk and Latin. 

At the concert, with an intimate atmosphere of about 25 people in the Benson Latin American Library conference room, Parra played a few of his own pieces. He also sang a variety of songs from La Nueva Cancion movement, which is composed of folk-inspired music to advocate social change in Latin America. 

“I like that I can spread a positive, encouraging message to other people that sometimes go through difficult times,” Parra said. “That’s also why I like to bring attention to the beauty that we find in nature.”

These inspirational messages could be found in his upbeat jazz song, “Bubbles of Music,” which is about a person taking a walk after a long day, who, after putting on headphones, felt like they were floating over bubbles of music.

“I loved the song about bubbles, because they are moments that go by just like that,” said Barbara Rodriguez. “Therefore it’s a song where you have to relax and feel the moment.”

Rodriguez said that she came to the event with her husband, making the concert a lot more meaningful for her as they share these moments together. 

During the concert, all of his songs embodied various riffs of the guitar, when an imaginary instrument came to play. While he sang a bossanova version cover of “Besame Mucho” by Consuelo Velazquez, he created bubbles in his mouth, with fake trumpet sounds releasing after.

“Did you like my imaginary trumpet?” Parra asked the audience, followed by crowd laughter. 

Reflecting close to his life, Parra said that he likes to analyze things and how they may be interesting for other people, which is always present in his songs. 

Realizing that there is a beauty of nature and everything changes, UT alumni Nick Pereira felt moved by Parra’s songs. 

“Life is short. It’s important to have fun and to do things that give you love and happiness,” Periera said.

Third-year Radio Television and Film major Guillermo Correa Cervantes said that this event helped him explore new music as a person interested in musical soundscapes from Latin America.

“I felt that as someone that comes from Latin America, I still have a lot to discover because I only know songs from Mexico and not from Chile,” Correa Cervantes said. “For people like me and for those that come to these events, it helps us have that same diversity, not just in people, but in the music that it brings.”

Editor’s note: This story was originally reported in Spanish. Check out more of our original Spanish reporting on our Texan en Español Reporting page.

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