19032014112520141129 (R4)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.