Sunday, September 9, 2007

Mercedes Sosa

"Mercedes Sosa was born on July 9, 1935 in the province of Tucumán, Argentina. She grew up in a modest home and learned to love artistic popular expressions. During her adolescence she danced, sang, and she was a native dances teacher. In the middle 60's she settled down in the province of Mendoza with her husband, musician Manuel Oscar Matus, where she renewed the artistic expressions of her native roots. She then made her debut with an independent record production titled "Canciones con fundamento" (Songs with Basis). Later she managed to sing for the first time at the Cosquín Festival and in 1967, after having recorded two albums, she began to travel the world promoting her work in Miami, Lisbon, Rome, Warsaw, Leningrad, Kislovo, Gagri, Baku and Tifilis. By then, her lyrics had begun to be an inconvenience for the military authorities who were governing Argentina, and it was very common that her songs were censored in the official radios. She continued with her recordings and in 1972 when her performances were suffering constant censorship imposed by the military government, the record "Hasta la Victoria" (Until the Victory) was released and it included a load of songs with social and political statements. At the end of the decade of 1970, the Military Junta was implementing a repression policy that eventually reached the chilling number of 30,000 missing persons (see Mothers of Plaza de Mayo). In 1979 she released "Serenata para la tierra de uno" (Serenade for our Land), and kept singing to life while in the middle of the violence, but eventually, the harassment was unbearable. After being arrested during a concert in the city of La Plata, together with 350 people in the audience, she went into exile to Paris, and then, in 1980 she moved to Madrid. Mercedes Sosa carried on an intense international artistic activity during her years in exile.

The defeat of Argentina in the war of the Islas Malvinas (Falklands Islands), in 1982, prompted the end of the military dictatorship and the beginning of the democracy era. She picked this time to release the double album "Mercedes Sosa in Argentina ". She continued recording albums and traveling the world with her songs. She performed at the Lincoln Center, and the Carnagie Hall of New York, at the French Mogador and in numerous cities in Argentina. In every place, she was received by ovations and recognitions, not only for her talent but also for her integrity.

Since then there were more records and more special guests at her shows, like: Pablo Milanés, Alfredo Kraus, Renata Scotto, Andrea Bocelli, Teresa Parodi, Víctor Heredia, Roberto Goyoneche and Fito Páez among others; and continued with extended tours in Australia, Greece, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Holland, England, France, Austria, Israel, The United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay and the Canary Isles.

The more memorable performances were at the Concertegebuw of Amsterdam and at the Carnegie Hall of New York, where her performance was closed by a ten minutes ovation. Meanwhile, as producer, she organized the show "Without Borders", that got together seven Latin-American singers: Argentine Teresa Parodi and Silvina Garré, Colombian Leonor Gonzalez Mina, Venezuelan Lilia Vera, the Brazilian Beth Carvalho and Mexican Amparo Ochoa, besides Mercedes at the Luna Park Stadium of Buenos Aires . Together with popular recognition she received important national and international awards as the medal of the Order of the Commander of the Arts and the Lyrics, granted by the Department of Culture of the France; an award as illustrious persona in Houston, Texas granted by the governor of the state and by the mayor of the city; she also received the distinction of illustrious Citizen of Tucumán and illustrious Citizen of Buenos Aires, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Medal of Cultural Merit from Ecuador, the Shield of the National Major University of San Marcos, Peru; and the UNIFEM Prize by the United Nations, who distinguished her labor in defense of women's rights, among other distinctions. Mercedes Sosa's career is, undoubtedly the most successful ever of of any Argentine artist, both in the national level as well as international; and not only for her music but for her message of peace, international integration, defense of the human rights and artistic and personal integrity." ~ Easy Buenos Aires City

NOTE: a small number of the albums have speed issues that are present on the original vinyl it was sourced from, however, this does not take away from how beautiful this music is, try a few out and see what you think.

I highly recommend Mercedes Sosa - Con Sabor A Mercedes Sosa [Phillips 1968]