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Mercedes Sosa

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Argentina (1935 – 2009)

Mercedes Sosa (born 9 July 1935, died 3 October 2009 in Buenos Aires) was an Argentinean singer inmensely popular throughout Latin America. With her roots in music, she became one of the preeminent exponents of (new song). Sosa is greatly admired for the depth and beauty of her contralto voice. She is respectfully nicknamed “La Negra” by her fans for her dark skin and dark hair - a very common term of affection in Latin America. Mercedes Sosa was loved and known by everyone in Argentina, especially for her political positions against the government that ruled the country and “disappeared” or murdered anyone suspected of being critical.

Sosa was born in Tucumán, a northwestern province of Argentina, of mestizo descent from French and Amerindian (Quechuan) ancestry. In 1950, at age fifteen, she won a singing competition organized by a local radio station and was given a contract to perform for two months.

Sosa and her first husband Manuel Oscar Matus were key players in the mid-60s nueva canción movement (which was called nuevo cancionero in Argentina). Her first record was Canciones con Fundamento (Songs with Fundament), a collection of Argentinean folk songs.

In 1967, Sosa toured with great success the United States and Europe. In subsequent years, she performed and recorded extensively, broadening her repertoire to include material from throughout Latin America.

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