The driving force behind the nueva canción movement, singer Mercedes Sosa was born and raised in Tucumán, Argentina, beginning her performing career at age 15 after taking top honors in a radio station amateur competition. A rich, expressive vocalist and a gifted interpreter, Sosa was dubbed "the voice of the silent majority" for her choice of overtly political material, and alongside artists including Violeta Parra and Atahualpa Yupanqui, she spearheaded the rise of the so-called "nueva canción" movement, which heralded the emergence of protest music across Argentina and Chile during the '60s. The movement was crippled in 1973 by the CIA-sponsored coup which ousted democratically elected Chilean President Salvador Allende; with her repertoire of songs championing human rights and democracy, Sosa was viewed as a serious threat by the military regime which assumed power, and in 1975 she was arrested during a live performance which also resulted in the incarceration of many audience members. Death threats forced her to leave Argentina in 1979, and she remained in exile for three years, finally returning with a triumphant comeback performance in February 1982. Sosa recorded prolifically in the years to follow. In fall 2000, Sosa won a Grammy for Best Folk Album for Misa Criolla at the first annual Latin Grammy Awards, and again in 2003 and 2006 for Acústico and Corazón Libre, respectively. On October 4, 2009, after receiving multiple Grammy nominations for the album, Cantora, Mercedes Sosa passed away after a long battle with kidney disease. President Kilcher ordered three days of national mourning in her beloved Buenos Aires, culminating in a public funeral procession from the National Congress building to La Chacarita cemetery.
© Jason Ankeny /TiVo
© Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 1993 | Universal Music Argentina S.A.
One of the best Mercedes Sosa compilations on the market, 30 Años (1993) is loaded with 20 of her greatest hits and goes back three decades to the early days of her recording career. Highlights include "Gracias a la Vida," "La Maza," and "Maria, Maria," to just mention a few of her signature songs. Given its early-'90s release date, 30 Años misses a bunch of her latter-day material but makes up for it with an emphasis on certifiable classics. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Edge
On 2005's CORAZON LIBRE, the beloved Argentine vocalist Mercedes Sosa offers up beautifully spare songs that mostly originate from the northeastern region of her native land. The minimal instrumental backing--mainly consisting of acoustic guitar and light percussion--is ideal here, since it allows the focus to remain on Sosa's achingly gorgeous voice, which masterfully conveys a wide range of emotions. Renowned for her social conscience, Sosa uses her dynamic singing to relate tales of poverty ("Los Ninos de Nuestro Olvido"), celebration ("Solo pa' Bailarla"), strife ("Sufrida Tierra") and liberation (the title track). Decades into her remarkable career, Sosa's voice and spirit remain in fine form, a point proven by this subtle, outstanding album. © TiVo