Sunday, October 4, 2009

Thank you, Mercedes Sosa

Mercedes Sosa was born in July 1935, just a few days before my own mother, on the other side of the world. I can't recall when I first heard her, although I'm fairly sure it was in the US, well after Sosa was already famous and past her sixtieth birthday. Like my own mother's voice, her voice became a strong, reassuring, inspiring familiar presence in my life without my even noticing it.

Sosa was among the leading voices of the Nueva Canción movement of 1960s Latin America, which combined folk music with progressive/political lyrics, sort of like the American protest song.

Sosa supported Juan Perón's pro-labor politics. As Argentina grew more repressive, she found herself being searched an arrested on stage at a performance in 1979. She moved to Europe as she was banned in her own country. She moved back around the time of the Falklands War (1982).

Sosa has collaborated with many great musicians, including Joan Baez, Milton Nascimento, Nana Mouskouri, Luciano Pavarotti, Caetano Veloso, Shakira, and Sting.

She was suffering from renal ailments, and died earlier today. RIP.

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