Main content

Gracias a la Vida

The Latin American anthem to life is explored through personal stories. From November 2014.

Gracias A La Vida - thank you to life - is a song that means a lot to many people around the world. Recorded by artists as diverse as Joan Baez and the magnificent Mercedes Sosa, the song reflects the bittersweet nature of life's joys and sadnesses. To the people of Chile where it was written in 1966 by Violetta Parra, it has become an anthem that brings people together in times of trouble. One man who was tortured and imprisoned under the Pinochet regime in 1973 recalls how playing the song on guitar in prison for other inmates helped keep their spirits and hopes alive under the most brutal circumstances. Australian writer and actor Ailsa Piper recalls being gifted the words to Gracias A La Vida by a fellow walker along one of the holy routes in Spain, and how the song has become a poignant reminder of the fragility of life.

Producer: Maggie Ayre.

Available now

30 minutes


  • Tue 25 Nov 2014 11:30
  • Sat 29 Nov 2014 15:30
  • Fri 1 Sep 2017 18:30
  • Sat 2 Sep 2017 00:30

Why Sam Cooke's 'A Change Is Gonna Come' became a Civil Rights anthem

Why Sam Cooke's 'A Change Is Gonna Come' became a Civil Rights anthem

Watch the animation - Professor Mary King describes how the song became a symbol of hope.

Podcasts and Downloads

Podcasts and Downloads

Subscribe to this programme or download individual episodes.