RIP La Negra ( Mercedes Sosa)

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8LIe3BBhJM

Mercedes Sosa, 1935-2009.

Mercedes Sosa was the most lauded Latin- American singer of her generation, known as ''La Negra'' for her long, jet-black hair and ''the voice of the voiceless ones'' for her performances of songs that championed the rights of the poor.
She was an unrivalled interpreter of works by her compatriot, the Argentinian Atahualpa Yupanqui, and Chile's Violeta Parra, both stars of the region's nueva cancion movement towards the end of the 1960s, whose work often spoke of the struggle for human rights and democracy. As a figurehead of the left in her own right, Sosa fell foul of the junta that ruled Argentina between 1976 and 1983.
In a career spanning nearly six decades, she released 70 albums. Although these were often based in the Argentinian folkloric styles, she was notable for her versatility, including tango, nueva trova, bossa nova, rock and even liturgical music - with Ariel Ramirez's Misa Criolla, in 2000. From 1967 she toured internationally, and subsequently collaborated with an array of artists, including Sting, Luciano Pavarotti, Nana Mouskouri, Joan Baez and Shakira.
Haydee Mercedes Sosa was born on July 9, 1935 in San Miguel de Tucuman in Argentina's north-west, to a working-class family with French and Quechuan roots. She grew up with a keen appreciation of the local folk dances, and at 15 won a radio station talent contest. The prize was a two-month contract to perform on air, which launched her career.
By 1959, she was an established voice and had recorded her first album, La Voz De La Zafra. By the late 1960s, she had achieved international success with her first tour of the US and Europe and she increasingly broadened her repertoire to include songs from all over Latin America.
Also by then, she was becoming identified with the emerging nueva cancion movement, an idealistic attempt to achieve political and social change through music. But then the political climate became increasingly conservative throughout Latin America. Augusto Pinochet seized power in Chile in 1973 and Argentina's military followed suit in 1976.
Thereafter, Sosa became the object of state surveillance and intimidation by the ''Triple A'' death squad. At a concert in La Plata in 1979, she and her entire audience of 200 university students were arrested. The incident forced her into exile, living first in Paris and then Madrid, but her music became a rallying point for those back in Argentina who had themselves been silenced.
Sosa returned home in 1982 shortly before the Falklands War, giving a triumphant series of concerts in Buenos Aires.
After battling ill health for years, Sosa became a UNESCO goodwill ambassador and won her greatest accolades, including three Latin Grammys. Her latest album Cantora 1 has been nominated for three Latin Grammys in the forthcoming awards.
Mercedes Sosa was married twice but both husbands predeceased her. She is survived by a son from her first marriage.
 
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