We wrote last week that Argentine folk singer Mercedes Sosa had been taken into intensive care. She passed away today, leaving a legacy of Latin American music including more than 70 albums and of a life devoted to using her music to bring attention to everyday social issues. She had been nominated for multiple Latin Grammy awards (ceremony to take place next month). Vicente Panetta of the Associated Press has her story in USA Today.Read More Add a Comment
Last night’s Native American Music Awards included the Best Folk Recording award, won by Atsiaktonkie for Four Wolves Prophecy, and the Best Blues Recording award, won by Graywolf Blues Band for Dancing in the Rain. The Best Compilation Recording award was presented to Joanne Shenandoah and Michael Bucher for Bitter Tears Sacred Ground, a Native history album that honors the music of Johnny Cash, Peter La Farge and Floyd Red Crow Westerman while recreating several cuts from Cash’s Bitter Tears album.Read More Add a Comment
Blue Highway co-founder Rob Ickes was named Dobro Player of the Year at Thursday’s International Bluegrass Music Awards. Michael Cleveland took the Fiddle Player of the Year award for the seventh year out of nine, and Kristin Scott Benson was named Banjo Player of the Year for the second time.Read More Add a Comment
Somewhere in my house is an LP released by Joan Baez in the 70s. I believe I must have acquired it as a promo from one of my friends in college radio. Its attraction for me was that it was recorded in Spanish. Not only that, it was a collection of Latin American folk songs. Having been born and raised in a Latin American country because my parents were living and working there at the time, I welcomed the album as a connection to my past. My favorite song from it was “Gracias a la Vida,” or “Thanks Be to Life.” After years of having no way to play vinyl records, I purchased the only CD set with that album’s music so I could hear that song again. Now it’s time for me to go a step further and listen to it as sung by Latin American musicians.
“Gracias a la Vida” was written by Violeta Parra, who, ironically, later committed suicide. It has frequently been sung by Argentine folk musician Mercedes Sosa, whose musical career has spanned more than four decades. She is a prolific artist and has come to represent the voice of the people in more ways than one.
Sosa was admitted to the hospital nearly two weeks ago. According to this morning’s Associated Press story, she was placed on a respirator Thursday. Family and friends are understandably concerned.Read More Add a Comment
Several years ago I happened on a stage performance by Arvel Bird at the Texas Indian Market. Since then I have driven many commuter miles to the sound of his Animal Totems album, a mixture of New Age and Celtic styles. Bird plays every kind of music from bluegrass to jazz and plays the Native American flute as well as the fiddle. The classically trained violinist’s latest CD, Tribal Music Suite, Journey of a Paiute, a reflection of his Scottish and Paiute heritage, tells a story of cultural conflict and of a life journey. Bird is one of the nominees for Artist of the Year in the 11th Annual Native American Music Awards, to be held Saturday, October 3 in Niagara Falls. The awards will be webcast live at 8:00 pm EST.Read More Add a Comment
Folk-pop singer Bethany Yarrow and cellist Rufus Cappadocia, aka Bethany & Rufus, will join Peter Yarrow in concert October 17 at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Performances include an evening show and an afternoon children’s concert. New Bethany & Rufus group members Yacouba Moumouni and Bonga Jean-Baptiste bring a world-music influence.Read More Add a Comment