Sunday, October 04, 2009

Folkobit: Mercedes Sosa

Mercedes Sosa, Argentinian folk singer, has died at the age of 74.

Using a pseudonym - Gladys Osorio - Sosa accidentally embarked on her career when she won a radio talent show in 1950 (making her the Will Young of her time and place, only good.) Quickly finding an audience, she would become one of the nuevo cancionero movement which offered a 1970s Latin American home-grown counterpoint to the influences coming from the North. Her committed, left- and communist-supporting music made her unpopular as Argentina slumped into its era of political repression and, following an incident when she and her entire audience were detained, she left her homeland.

"I knew I had to leave," Sosa told the AP. "I was being threatened by the Triple A (a right-wing death squad that terrorized suspected dissidents during the 1976-83 military junta). The people from the navy, the secret services were following me."

After time wandering Europe, Sosa returned to Argentina in 1982 as the junta fell.

In her work over half a century, she released more than 70 albums.

Sosa's family announced her death earlier today. She had been suffering from liver, kidney and heart problems.

This is Sosa performing María Elena Walsh's Como La Ciggara: