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Mercedes Sosa Dies at 74

Article written by on Sunday, Oct 04, 2009 in Passings,People

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.

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Mercedes Sosa in Critical Condition

Article written by on Friday, Oct 02, 2009 in People

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.

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