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Mercedes Sosa
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    (July 9, 1935-October 4, 2009)
    Born in San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina
    Birth name was Haydee Mercedes Sosa
    Folksinger in the nueva cancion (new song) movement
    Recorded over 40 albums
    Songs included 'Gracias a la Vida' ('Thanks to Life'), 'Si Se Calla El Cantor' ('If the Singer Is Silenced') and 'Todo Cambia' ('Everything Changes')
    Won three Latin Grammys for Best Folk Album (2000,2003,2006)
    Nicknamed 'La Negra' (for her jet-black hair) and 'the voice of the voiceless ones'
    Although usually an opponent of dictators, she supported Juan Peron in her youth.
    She declared 'artists are not political leaders' while performing numerous protest songs.
    She gained weight as she got older, with her neck disappearing beneath her chin until she bore an unnerving resemblance to Jabba the Hutt.
    She was arrested and searched onstage during one of her concerts (1979).
    The Argentine military junta banned her performances and forced her into exile (1979).
    Just before the dictatorship crumbled in the wake of the Falkland Islands war, she returned home to greater popularity than ever (1982).
    Esquire magazine noted, 'Your Spanish may or may not be good, but Mercedes Sosa requires no translation. Hers is the song of all those who have overcome their fear of singing out.'
    She collaborated with a wide range of artists, ranging from opera singers Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli to pop singers Sting and Shakira.
    Joan Baez knelt and kissed her feet, claiming she was overwhelmed by Sosa's 'tremendous charisma.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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