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Magda Hassan
10-04-2009, 03:04 PM
Argentine folk singer Mercedes Sosa dies aged 74
By VICENTE PANETTA (AP) – 2 hours ago
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentine folk singer Mercedes Sosa, the "voice of Latin America" whose music inspired opponents of South America's brutal military regimes and led to her forced exile in Europe, died Sunday, her family said. She was 74.
Sosa was best known for signature tunes such as "Gracias a la Vida" ("Thanks to Life") and "Si se Calla el Cantor" ("If the Singer is Silenced"). She had been in the hospital for more than two weeks with liver problems and had since been suffering from progressive kidney failure and cardiac arrest.
Her latest album, "Cantora 1," is nominated for three prizes in next month's Latin Grammy awards in Las Vegas, including album of the year and best folkloric album.
Affectionately dubbed "La Negra" or "The Black One" by fans for her mixed Indian and distant French ancestry, Sosa was born July 9, 1935, to a poor, working-class family in the sugarcane country of northwest Tucuman province.
Early on she felt the allure of popular traditions and became a teacher of folkloric dance.
At the age of 15, friends impressed by her talent encouraged Sosa to enter a local radio contest under the pseudonym "Gladys Osorio." She won a two-month contract with the broadcaster — the first of many accolades over a career that continued until her final days.
"I didn't choose to sing for people," Sosa said in a recent interview on Argentine television. "Life chose me to sing."
By the 1970s she was recognized as one of the South American troubadours who gave rise to the "nuevo cancionero" (New Songbook) movement — singers including Chile's Victor Jara and Violeta Parra, Argentina's Victor Heredia and Uruguay's Alfredo Zitarrosa who mixed leftist politics with poetic musings critical of the ruling juntas and their iron-fisted curtailment of civil liberties and human rights abuses.
In 1972, Sosa released the socially and politically charged album "Hasta la Victoria" ("Till Victory"). Her sympathies with communist movements and support for leftist parties attracted close scrutiny and censorship at a time when blending politics with music was a dangerous occupation — Jara was tortured and shot to death by soldiers following Chile's 1973 military coup.
In 1979, a year after being widowed from her second husband, Sosa was detained along with an entire audience of about 200 students while singing in La Plata, a university city hit hard by military rule.
"I remember when they took me prisoner," she told The Associated Press in late 2007. "I was singing for university kids who were in the last year of veterinary school. It wasn't political."
She walked free 18 hours later under international pressure and after paying a $1,000 fine, but was forced to leave 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."
With three suitcases and a handbag she headed to Spain, then France, becoming a wandering minstrel. Her pianist and musical director, Popi Spatocco, said exile was exceedingly harsh for a woman who loved Argentina.
Sosa returned home to wide acclaim in 1982 in the final months of the dictatorship, which she would ultimately outlive by a quarter-century.
The following year she released the eponymous album "Mercedes Sosa," which contained several tracks considered among her greatest hits: "Un Son para Portinari" and "Maria Maria"; along with "Inconsciente Colectivo" by Charly Garcia; "La Maza" and "Unicornio" by Silvio Rodriguez; "Corazon Maldito" by Violeta Parra; and "Me Yoy pa'l Mollar," together with Margarita Palacios.
Late in life, with South America's military regimes consigned to the dustbin of history, Sosa remained relevant by tapping powerful, universal emotions, singing about stopping war and ending poverty, about finding love and losing loved ones.
"There's no better example of artistic honesty," her nephew and fellow singer Chucho Sosa said in 2007. "Her songs reflects how she is in life."
Sosa won Latin Grammy Awards for Best Folk Album for "Misa Criolla" in 2000, "Acustico" in 2003 and "Corazon Libre" in 2006.
She also acted in films such as "El Santo de la Espada" ("The Knight of the Sword"), about Argentine independence hero Gen. Jose de San Martin.
Early this decade she took a two-year hiatus to recover from a series of falls — one of which, she said, nearly left her paralyzed.
Sosa returned to the stage in 2005 and performed in some of the most prestigous venues of Latin America, the U.S., Canada and Europe.
All told, Sosa recorded more than 70 albums; the latest, a double CD titled "Cantora 1" and "Cantora 2," is a collection of folkloric classics performed with contemporary Latin American and Spanish stars such as Shakira, Fito Paez, Julieta Venegas, Joaquin Sabina, Lila Downs and Calle 13.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iBSb5ZdEJ8MI6_qzWccZNZQITnMAD9B48LB00



From the Washington Post:

Here are the lyrics of “We’re Still Singing,” which she sang accompanied by the large Andean drum called the bombo: “I was killed a thousand times. I disappeared a thousand times, and here I am, risen from the dead. . . . Here I am, out of the ruins the dictatorship left behind. We’re still singing.” Ms. Sosa came under official harassment and intimidation by the right-wing, nationalist junta that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. The government was responsible for the deaths and disappearances of an estimated 30,000 real and perceived leftists, and Ms. Sosa transformed her sold-out concerts into rallies against the abuses of power.
Her songs were banned from Argentine radio and television, and she courted arrest by singing anthems of agrarian reform such as “When They Have the Land” at one performance in the university city of La Plata. Many in attendance were arrested by security forces, and Ms. Sosa was publicly humiliated by an officer who walked onstage and conducted a body search.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyOJ-A5iv5I&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4LJDTlviKw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIrot1Flczg&feature=fvw


Thank you, Life, for you gave me so much.
You gave me two stars for eyes and when I open them
I can perfectly distinguish black from white
And up above in the skies the constelations
And in the crowds the man I love.

Thank you, Life, for you gave me so much.
You gave me ears so that I can hear
And record the sounds day and night of
Crickets, canaries, factories, dogs barking,
The rain falling, and the sweet voice of my loved one.

Thank you, Life, for you gave me so much.
You gave me the sounds and the alphabet
And with them the words I think of and declare
Mother, friend, brother and light shining
Over the route of my loved one's soul.

Thank you, Life, for you gave me so much.
You gave my tired feet the strenght to walk
On them I have visited cities and potholes
Beaches and deserts, mountains and valleys
And your house, your street, your backyard.

Thank you, Life, for you gave me so much.
You gave me my heart that beats like a drum
When I see the fruits of the human brain
When I see good so far away from evil
When I look in the depth of your beautiful eyes.

Thank you, Life, for you gave me so much.
You gave me laughter and tears
So I can express happiness and sorrow
The two elements my songs are made of
And your songs, which are like my songs,
And everybody's songs, which are also mine.

Thank you Life.




Solo le pido a Dios-Leon Greco
I only ask of God

Sólo le pido a Dios
I only ask of God
que el dolor no me sea indiferente,
That i am not indifferent to the pain,
que la reseca muerte no me encuentre
That the dry death won’t find me
vacío y solo, sin haber hecho lo suficiente.
Empty and alone, without having done the sufficient.

Sólo le pido a Dios
I only ask of God
que lo injusto no me sea indiferente,
That i won’t be indifferent to the injustice
que no me abofeteen la otra mejilla,
That they won’t slap my other cheek,
después que una garra me arañó esta suerte.
After a claw (or talon) has scratched this destiny (luck) of mine.

Sólo le pido a Dios
I only ask of God
que la guerra no me sea indiferente,
That i am not indifferent to the battle,
es un monstruo grande y pisa fuerte
It’s a big monster and it walks hardly on
toda la pobre inocencia de la gente.
All the poor innocence of people.

Sólo le pido a Dios
I only ask of God
que el engaño no me sea indiferente,
That i am not indifferent to deceit,
si un traidor puede más que unos cuantos,
If a traitor can do more than a bunch of people,
que esos cuantos no lo olviden fácilmente.
Then let not those people forget him easily.

Sólo le pido a Dios
I only ask of God
que el futuro no me sea indiferente,
That i am not indifferent to the future,
desahuciado está el que tiene que marchar
Hopeless is he who has to go away
a vivir una cultura diferente.
To live a different culture.

Sólo le pido a Dios
I only ask of God
que la guerra no me sea indiferente,
That i am not indifferent to the battle,
es un monstruo grande y pisa fuerte
It’s a big monster and it walks hardly on
toda la pobre inocencia de la gente.
All the poor innocence of people.