María Elena Walsh
|María Elena Walsh|
1 February 1930|
Ramos Mejía, Buenos Aires, Argentina
|Died||10 January 2011
Buenos Aires, Argentina
|Occupation||Novelist Author, Singer-songwriter, Poet|
|Genres||Children's literature, Autobiographical novel, poetry|
|Partner(s)||Sara Facio (1978- 2011)|
María Elena Walsh (1 February 1930 – 10 January 2011) was an Argentine poet, novelist, musician, dramaturge, writer and composer, mainly known for her songs and books for children, who has been considered a "living legend, cultural hero (and) crest of nearly every childhood".1
What was written by María Elena configures the most important work of all time in its genre, comparable to Lewis Carroll's Alice or Pinocchio, a work that revolutionized the way to understand the relationship between poetry and childhood.—Leopoldo Brizuela2
María Elena Walsh was born in Villa Sarmiento, Ramos Mejía, Buenos Aires, to an English railway worker, of Irish descent, who played the piano and an Argentine woman of Andalusian descent. As a child, she lived in a big house, where she greatly enjoyed reading and listening to music in a cultural environment.
When she was 15, Walsh had some of her poems published in El Hogar magazine and La Nación newspaper. In 1947, before graduating from art school, she published her first book, Otoño Imperdonable, a collection of poems which was critically acclaimed and received recognition from important Latin American writers.
After graduation in 1948, she traveled to North America invited by poet Juan Ramon Jiménez and Europe during the Peronism and then moved to Paris where she spent four years in the early 1950s. While there, Walsh performed in concerts featuring Argentine folklore with fellow Argentinean singer Leda Valladares (born 1919), forming the duo Leda & Maria and recording for Le chant du monde.3
She returned to Argentina in 1956 after the Revolución Libertadora. From 1958 onwards, Walsh wrote numerous TV scripts, plays, poems, books and songs, specially dedicated to young children. She was also a successful performer, singing her own songs onstage and recording them later in albums, like Canciones para mirar, Canciones para mí and El País de Nomeacuerdo. Juguemos en el mundo, also an album, was a satirical show for adults,4 which also became a film of the same title with a story unrelated to the original stage show and songs recording.5 The film was based on her characters Doña Disparate y Bambuco and was directed by her partner at that time, Maria Herminia Avellaneda (1933–1997).
Her work has often contained an underlying political message, as in the song El País del Nomeacuerdo ("The Country of I-Don't-Remember"), which was later used as the theme song for The Official Story, winner of the 1985 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
During the military dictatorship (1976–83) she was a fierce opponent, her song "Oración a la justicia" (Prayer for Justice) became a civil right anthem. In an open letter she criticized the regime censorship comparing the country with a preschool country calling it "Desventuras en el Pais-Jardin-de-Infantes" (Misadventures in the Preschool Country).
In 1985 she received the title of Illustrious Citizen of the City of Buenos Aires, and in 1990 was named Doctor honoris causa of the National University of Cordoba and Illustrious People of Buenos Aires Province as well.
Misfortunes in Kindergarten-Country"
- Novios de antaño - 1990 ("Lovers of Yore")
- Hotel Pioho's Palace - 2002 ("Louse's Palace Hotel")
Walsh published her first poem at the age of 15, in El Hogar magazine of Argentina. Her favorite audience were the children, for who she wrote more than 40 books. The following list includes not only books but newspaper articles also.8
- Books for adults
- Otoño imperdonable (1947) - edited by Walsh at 17
- Apenas Viaje (poems) (1948)
- Baladas con Angel (poems) (1951)
- Casi Milagro (poems) (1958)
- Hecho a Mano (poems) (1965)
- Jugemos en el mundo (poems) (1971)
- Cancionero contra el Mal de Ojo (poems) (1976)
- Los Poemas (1982)
- Novios de Antaño (novel) (1990)
- Desventuras en el País-Jardín-de-Infantes (1993) (*)
- Fantasmas en el Parque (2008)
- Books for children
- La Mona Jacinta (1960)
- La Familia Polillal (1960)
- Tutú Marambá (1960)
- Circo de Bichos (1961)
- Tres Morrongos (1961)
- El Reino del Revés (poems and songs) (1965)
- Zoo Loco (1965)
- Cuentopos de Gulubú (1966)
- Dailán Kifki (novel) (1966)
- Versos para Cebollitas (1966)
- Versos Folklóricos para Cebollitas (1967)
- Aire Libre (school book) (1967)
- Versos Tradicionales para Cebollitas (1967)
- El Diablo Inglés (short stories) (1970)
- Angelito (1974)
- El País de la Geometría (1974)
- Chaucha y Palito (short stories) (1977)
- Veo Veo (1984)
- Bisa Vuela (1985)
- Los Glegos (1987)
- La Nube Traicionera (1989)
- (*) The book reprinted the famous letter against censorship in Argentina, published by Clarín newspaper on August 16, 1979. Due to the publication of that article, Walsh herself would be censored by the Military Government of Argentina.
Walsh recorded many albums with songs for children and for adults too. Her first albums were strongly influenced by the Argentine folklore, working along with composer and singer Leda Valladares. The album Canciones para Mí is her first release as a soloist, containing the songs Canción de Tomar el Té and Manuelita la Tortuga (which had been previously edited on an EP), that would become Walsh's most representative song along his career.8
- as "Leda y María", with Leda Valladares
- Chant d'Argentine (1954)
- Souns le Ciel de l'Argentine (1955)
- Entre Valles y Quebradas Vol. 1 & 2 (1957)
- Canciones del Tiempo de Maricastaña (1958)
- Leda y María Cantan Villancicos (EP) (1959)
- Canciones de Tutú Marambá (EP) (1960) 6
- as "María Elena Walsh"
- Canciones para Mirar (with Leda Valladares) (1962) 1
- Doña Disparate y Bambuco (EP) (with Leda Valladares) (1962)
- Navidad para los Chicos (EP) (with Leda Valladares) (1963)
- Canciones para Mí (1963) 2
- Canciones para Mirar (1963)
- El País de Nomeacuerdo (1967) 3
- Cuentopos (1968)
- Juguemos en el Mundo (1968)
- Cuentopos para el Recreo (1969)
- Juguemos en el Mundo II (1969) 4
- El Sol no tiene Bolsillos (1971)
- Como la Cigarra (1972) 5
- El Buen Modo (1976)
- De Puño y Letra (1976)
- 1 Contains the classics El Reino del Revés (whose previous version had been released on Canciones de Tutú Marambá), Canción del Jardinero, La Vaca Estudiosa, La Mona Jacinta.
- 2 This was Walsh's first album as a soloist, with the hits Canción de tomar el té, Manuelita la tortuga, El twist del Mono Liso.
- 3 Includes the songs la Reina Batata, Canción del Jacarandá (co-written with Palito Ortega).
- 4 After many years of recording LP with songs for children, Walsh wrote and recorded an album for adult audiences.
- 5 The song Como la Cigarra became a huge hit. The album also contains other successful songs like Carta de un León a Otro, with strong politic references.
- Patricio Lennard (2 November 2008). "Vida mía. Las memorias de María Elena Walsh. Entrevista exclusiva: la creadora de Manuelita presenta su nuevo libro autobiográfico" (in Spanish). Página/12 ("Radar" supplement). Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Julieta Roffo (31 January 2010). "El universo de María Elena Walsh, vigente en el imaginario popular." (in Spanish). Clarín ("Ñ" supplement). Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- ruizbarreiro (2011-01-10). "leda valladares y maria elena walsh el paisanito.wmv". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-12-11.
- tito demoron. "Argentina, Music hall, María Elena Walsh, milagro en Buenos Aires". Magicasruinas.com.ar. Retrieved 2011-12-11.
- filiguitar (2008-06-08). ""Juguemos en el mundo" de Maria Herminia Avellaneda -1971". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-12-11.
- Murió María Elena Walsh, Clarín, 10 January 2011 (Spanish)
- dead link
- María Elena Walsh, Suplemento Especial, Clarín, 11 January 2011
- María Elena Walsh by Sara Facio
- Biography at the Ministry of Education of Argentina (Spanish)
- ABC News Obituary
- Biography at essayist.org (Spanish)
- Videos editados en 3D y otros desde Youtube (Spanish)
- Maria Elena Walsh at the Internet Movie Database