Mercedes Sosa, the voice of human rights and life in Latin America | Culture

Mercedes Sosa, the voice of human rights and life in Latin America | Culture

Photo: Mercedes Sosa, Argentine singer-songwriter Video: Mercedes Sosa during a presentation.

He never thought that he would make a living singing, and in fact he started doing it by chance, but Mercedes Sosa she ended up defining herself as "singer before singer, because singer is the one who can sing and singer who should do it". Descendant of emigrants and indigenous people, that mix made her known as 'La Negra' because of her black hair and marked features, but also as 'La voz de América Latina' and 'La voz de los sin voz' for her style and its letters of protest and denunciation.

On January 31, 1965, a Mercedes Sosa, which would become the star of the folklore Argentine, she changed her life by chance at the Cosquín Folk Festival in Argentina, when the singer Jorge Cafrune invited her to take the stage. His improvised performance received such an ovation that the contracts rained from that moment and his career, which would span 60 years, began to be contemplated at the international level.

Sosa was one of the pioneers of the Nueva Canción movement, a style of socially conscious music based on popular elements that first flourished in the 1960s. She enjoyed her greatest commercial success and political influence when performing throughout her life. race songs of that genre like 'To the Garden of the Republic','Song with everyone','Alfonsina and the sea','Thanks to life','Like the cicada','Zamba not to die','I only ask God','Mace','Everything changes','Sleep, little black'O'Narrow street', among many others.

Throughout his life he published more than 70 works between studio albums, live recordings and compilations, and made musical collaborations with almost a hundred artists, including, in addition to folklore, other genres such as tango, pop and rock. .

Haydée Mercedes Sosa, her real name, was born in Tucumán, in the northwest of Argentina, on July 9, 1935, in the bosom of a humble family of a working father in a sugar factory and laundress mother. She was going to be called Marta Mercedes, but her father changed the first name in the Civil Registry at the last moment. Despite this, at home they always called her Marta.

He grew up in poverty, but the miscegenation From which he came, he forged a character that allowed him to dream before making the forgotten word of indigenous peoples, women, workers and children his own. With his singing he achieved a collective cry of dignity that extended to his music and that is a living legacy throughout the world.

The race of Mercedes Sosa She started at 15 years of chance, pushed by a group of friends to participate in a song contest on local radio and hidden behind the pseudonym of Gladys Osorio for fear of her father. It was to sing her and to end the contest, whose prize was a contract for two months of acting on the station.

He recorded his first full-length album in 1962 and began to become popular throughout South America thanks to his expressive voice and the lyrics of the songs he played on everyday problems and the vindication of the rights of the most disadvantaged.

In 1963, from the Circle of Journalists of Mendoza, Mercedes Sosa she launched the New Songbook Movement with her husband, Óscar Matus, Armando Tejada Gómez, Tito Francia and other artists, who would be known as the New Song Movement. She would always remain faithful to the artistic principles set forth in the founding manifesto of the movement.

In 1965 her husband left her, leaving her with her only son, Fabián, but on such day as today, January 31 of that year, she got the recognition she deserved for her artistic quality at the National Festival of Folklore of Cosquín. There, without participating, but thanks to the generosity of the singer Jorge Cafrune, the whole country could meet this wonderful Argentine singer by inviting her to take the stage. That occasion marked the birth of the great popular artist who later became worldwide.

Mercedes Sosa He never left the stage, despite having always felt panic to act in public, or to collaborate with other musicians, singers and poets. However, after the military took power in Argentina in 1976 and established the dictatorship, she was forbidden to sing and was even detained without charge with great international pressure to free her. Faced with this situation, in 1979 he decided to go into exile, first in Spain and then in France.

In the following years, and with continuous trips, the amplitude of musical genres played by Mercedes Sosa increased, but her personal situation worsened: her second husband, Pocho Mazitelli, died in 1978 and said that at that moment he thought of taking his own life .

Sosa returned to Argentina in February 1983, when the dictatorship was dying and after the Falklands war. He performed 13 historical recitals in a packed Teatro Ópera de Buenos Aires, which became a cultural act in favor of political change, at the same time that it meant a renovating act of Argentine popular music by including songs and musicians from different musical currents such as tango and rock.

As its international renown crossed borders, Mercedes Sosa He took advantage of these opportunities to collaborate with artists outside of America, such as Luciano Pavarotti, Sting, Andrea Bocelli, Nana Mouskouri and Joan Báez, as a small representative sample of styles and nationalities. Precisely Joan Báez described her as "a brilliant singer with a tremendous charisma that is both a voice and a person; she is simply the best. "

Sosa won innumerable recognitions and awards not only for her art, but also for her commitment to human rights: among them, the Latin Grammy for the best folk recording three times, in the years 2000, 2003 and 2006, and being Good Ambassador Will of Unesco for Latin America and the Caribbean.

On September 18, 2009 Mercedes Sosa was hospitalized in Buenos Aires due to kidney dysfunction complicated by a liver problem. The state of health of the artist, aged 74, was getting worse until she died at dawn on October 4. His mortal remains were veiled in the Hall of the Lost Steps of the Palace of the Argentine Congress and his family published a letter after his death addressed "to all", in which the artist herself invited to celebrate life and sing in his farewell.

Three days of national mourning were decreed and the reference of the voice, in Argentina and in Latin America, was incinerated, according to its own desire, to spread its ashes in three places loved by it: Tucumán, Mendoza, and the city of Buenos Aires. All the Spanish-American countries, through their leaders, remembered, honored and decreed days of mourning for the death of Mercedes Sosa and for its contribution to the hope of the most vulnerable and to the construction of a better and fairer world.


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