Isabel Allende’s Vvioleta_

Isabel Allende is well-renowned for her heartwrenching depictions of Chilean dictatorship under Pinochet as well as her intricate family dramas, particularly Vvioleta_. This latest work follows its protagonist from birth until near-death over 100 years across Cuba, Paris, Los Angeles and Norway as well as Chile.

Violeta is a Young Elite who was born with blood fever as an infant, giving her supernatural abilities to manipulate reality. Like other Young Elites, she can see through people and use threads of illusion to control their actions; however, her powers come with side effects like fevers and chills.

Violeta was committed to elevating disregarded artistic traditions of Chilean marginalised popular cultures through her performances as a cantora (popular singer) and cueca poetesa, while challenging social injustice. Her musical approach was grounded in what Catherine Boyle terms ‘a poetics of willful marginality” (2009: 83) defying dominant folklorising dynamics within academia and recording industry by recontextualising hegemonic Andean indigenous music frames with new political meanings.

Violeta uses syncopated and dragged guitar strumming in her song ‘Cueca a la luz de mi Vida’ (‘Cueca to the light of my Life’) as a form of opposition to conventional musical features associated with nationalistic portrayals of Huaso as Chilean peasant music and as part of her alternative discourse of singing to difference.