María Elena Walsh
was an Argentine
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...
poet, novelist, musician, dramaturge, writer and composer, mainly known for her songs and books for children.
María Elena Walsh was born in Villa Sarmiento, Ramos Mejía
Ramos Mejía is a locality of La Matanza Partido in Greater Buenos Aires. The city has an area of 11.9 km² and a population of 98,457 .It is one of the largest commercial districts in the Western Zone of Greater Buenos Aires.-History:...
, Buenos Aires, to an English
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...
railway worker, of Irish
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...
descent, who played the piano and an Argentine woman of Andalusian
The Andalusians are the people of the southern region in Spain approximated by what is now called Andalusia. They are generally not considered an ethnically distinct people because they lack two of the most important markers of distinctiveness: their own language and an awareness of a presumed...
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
La Nación is an Argentine daily newspaper. The country's leading conservative paper, the centrist Clarín is its main competitor. It is the only newspaper in Argentina still published in broadsheet format.-Overview:...
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
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...
invited for poet Juan Ramon Jiménez
Juan Ramón Jiménez Mantecón was a Spanish poet, a prolific writer who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1956. One of Jiménez's most important contributions to modern poetry was his advocacy of the French concept of "pure poetry."-Biography:Jiménez was born in Moguer, near Huelva, in...
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...
during the Peronism
Peronism , or Justicialism , is an Argentine political movement based on the programmes associated with former President Juan Perón and his second wife, Eva Perón...
and then moved to Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...
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
She returned to Argentina in 1956 after the Revolución Libertadora
The Revolución Libertadora was a military uprising that ended the second presidential term of Juan Perón in Argentina, on September 16, 1955.-History:...
. In 1958, Walsh wrote numerous TV scripts, plays, poems, books and songs, specially for kids, her stories and songs are highly poetic and entertaining. Her most famous song was “Manuelita la Tortuga” (Manuelita the Turtle) and the Twist of the Monkey Mono Liso
. She triumph as a performer too, singing her songs onstage in 1962 (Canciones para mirar
) and 1968, Juguemos en el mundo
, a show dedicated to grown-ups very critical of the government censorship, recordings and made a film Let's play in the world
based on her characters Doña Disparate y Bambuco
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 IDontRemember"), which was later used as the theme song for The Official Story
The Official Story is a 1985 Argentine drama film directed by Luis Puenzo, and written by Puenzo and Aída Bortnik. It stars Norma Aleandro, Héctor Alterio, and Chunchuna Villafañe, among others. In the United Kingdom, it was released as The Official Version.The film is about an upper middle class...
, winner of the 1985 Academy Award
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...
for Best Foreign Language Film
The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film is one of the Academy Awards of Merit, popularly known as the Oscars, handed out annually by the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences...
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
The term University of Córdoba or Cordoba could refer to the following:* Cordoba University * National University of Córdoba * University of Cordoba * University of Córdoba...
and Illustrious People of Buenos Aires Province as well.
In 1991 she was given the Highly Commended ranking in winning the Hans Christian Andersen Award
The Hans Christian Andersen Award, sometimes known as the "Nobel Prize for children's literature", is an international award given biennially by the International Board on Books for Young People in recognition of a "lasting contribution to children's literature"...
, a prize awarded by the International Board on Books for Young People
She was 80 when she died in Buenos Aires on 10 January 2011, after suffering from bone cancer. She lived with her partner, the photographer Sara Facio (born 1932) from 1980 until her death.
- Otoño imperdonable - 1947 ("Unforgivable Autumn")
- Apenas viaje - 1948 ("As Soon as I Travel")
- Baladas con Ángel - 1951 ("Ballads with Angel")
- Casi milagro - 1958 ("Almost a Miracle")
- Tutú Marambá - 1960
- El reino del Revés - 1964 ("The Upside-Down Kingdom")
- Zoo loco - 1964 ("Crazy Zoo")
- Hecho a mano - 1965 ("Hand Made")
- Dailan Kifki - 1966
- Cuentopos de Gulubú - 1966 ("Tales of Gulubú")
- Aire libre - 1967 ("Open Air")
- Juguemos en el mundo - 1970 ("Let's Play in the World")
- El diablo inglés - 1974 ("English Devil")
- Angelito - 1974 ("Little Angel")
- El país de la Geometría - 1974 ("The Country of Geometry")
- La Sirena y el Capitán - 1974 ("The Mermaid and the Captain")
- Cancionero contra el mal de ojo - 1976 ("Songbook Against the Evil Eye")
- Chaucha y palito - 1977 ("Little to Nothing")
- Desventuras en el País-Jardín-de-Infantes - 1979 ("Misfortunes in Kindergarten-Country")
- Novios de antaño - 1990 ("Lovers of Yore")
- Hotel Pioho's Palace - 2002 ("Louse's Palace Hotel")
- Canciones para mirar ("Songs to Look At")
- Canciones para mí ("Songs for Me")
- El País del Nomeacuerdo ("The Country of IDontRemember")
- El País de la Navidad ("The Country of Christmas")
- Cuentopos ("Storiettes")
- Cuentopos para el recreo ("Storiettes for Recess")
- Juguemos en el mundo ("Let's Play in the World")
- Juguemos en el mundo II ("Let's Play in the World II")
- El sol no tiene bolsillos ("The Sun Has No Pockets")
- Como la cigarra ("Like the Cicada")
- El buen modo ("The Good Way")
- De puño y letra ("Handwritten")