Mercedes Sosa, the Argentinian singer who became the voice of the nueva cancion movement of the 60s and 70s, has died at the age of 74. Sosa was an outspoken singer, who used her voice and art to champion the causes of the poor in South America, even though she tried to distance herself from specific political movements. She was harassed in her native Argentina (once even receiving a body search by a policeman on stage), but remained steadfast. After a period of exile in Europe, she returned to a hero’s welcome just before the fall of the Argentinian dictatorship.
Sosa did not write herself, but worked closely with people such as Chilean writer Violeta Parra, who composed her signature tune, “Gracias a la Vida” (Thanks to Life).
Although I mostly cover pop music on A-Lyric, I deeply regret that there is not more room for protest or politically-committed performers. Where have their audiences gone?