Sosa, Mercedes (1935—)

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Sosa, Mercedes (1935—)

Argentine folk singer and performer of working-class, populist songs who is called "The Voice of the Americas." Born on July 9, 1935, in Tucuman Province in central Argentina.

When Mercedes Sosa sang, she took her life in her hands. During the 1970s, hundreds, even thousands, of Argentineans disappeared, often killed by right-wing death squads. Because of her lyrics, Sosa's life was in constant danger, but she continued to sing nonetheless. She was born in 1935 into a poor family, and although her grandfather was not from an Indian background, he spoke perfect Quechua. Her friends encouraged her to sing on a local radio station at age 15, and thus her career was born. It was not easy finding work as a folk singer, so Sosa often appeared at festivals and theaters in smaller towns, particularly in nearby Uruguay and Chile, before becoming well known in Buenos Aires. She often sang protest songs. By the mid-1970s, she had recorded over 16 albums and was known throughout South America. Never seeking commercial success or mimicking foreign styles, Sosa sang accompanied only by guitar and drum, wearing a poncho. During Argentina's darkest years, Mercedes Sosa did, indeed, become the voice of her people.


Norman, Bob. "Protest Singers of Latin America: Mercedes Sosa," in Sing Out! Vol. 24, no. 3. July–August 1975, pp. 18–19, 27.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia