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Mercedes Sosa, story of a singer

We go through part of the history of the great Argentine interpreter. Get to know his life through little-known data, curiosities, testimonies and intimate documents.


Your childhood

Her father, Ernesto “Tucho” Sosa,wrote her down as Haydeé Mercedes in the civil registry office. Her mother, Ema del Carmen Girón, said that he did it on purpose so as not to call her Marta Mercedes, as she had chosen. Anyway, in her family she was known asLa Marta. She explained it better:“In the end, doors inside things are the way mothers want and doors out are as people rule. In my house I am definitely La Marta and for people, I am definitely La Negra.

Mercedes was 12 years old andmemorized the songs he heard on the radio of a neighbor,
a friend and sang them. Radio was a luxury for his family. Lolita Torres, Lola Flores, Miguel de Molina were his favorites.

“I look in my past and I always see myself singing. Singing at home, singing at school, singing at the wake (...) Isang for yes, without realizing it, because I was leaving,” Mercedes said.

The childhood ofLa Negra,visited in Tucumán,was of extreme poverty. His mother washed and ironed in the homes of wealthy people and his father worked in the ovens of sugar mills and sawmills.

“ We had nothing, but we had the love of our parents. Poverty and almost hunger when there is love hurt, but do not leave the wounds of resentment,” Mercedes said.

Your career

When he was 14, his parents, ardent Peronists, traveled to Buenos Aires to celebrate October
17. Mercedes stayed in the care of his older brothers.With a freedom she
never had before, she went with her schoolmates to radio LV12 where a contest for unknown singers washeld and won.She introduced herself asGladys Osorioso her father wouldn't recognize her . Gladys was called one of her best friends and Osorio was the last name of her school's flag-bearer girl. She kept singing on the radio until her father discovered her.

“ Do you think it's nice to be on the radio? Is that what a maid does to be decent? I'd rather he beat me up. He didn't even yell at me. He looked at me with that hard look. I would have wanted to swear that I would not do it anymore, but the words did not come out to me,”La Negra recalled.

One month, after repeated insistence from the radiodirector, Don Sosa agreed to have Mercedes sign his first contract.

Mercedes, at the age of 16, sang incentive for his parents, in the rocks of the Peronist Party.Years later, he joined the Communist Party.

“ He always took his singing lessons from the hand of great teachers, even though he was on tour around the world. Even in June 2009, weeks before his departure, he took his usual classes with his beloved teacher Carmela Giuliano,” recalls Fabián Matus, his son.

From the Mercedes Sosa Foundation, which Matus presides, they remember how fundamental Mercedes was to select the repertoire, because“what is recorded is for life”, as he prayed.

Detention and exile

On October 20, 1978,in “El Almacén San José”, in the city of La Plata, Mercedes Sosa
gave his last recital before embarking on exile.She was arrested in the middle of a recital with her
son and guitarist Colacho Brizuela, because they performed songs “of protest”, at that time censored by the repressive apparatus .
The songs were:

  • When I have the earth
  • Prayer to a Labrador
  • Song with all
  • Sleep black
  • Singer ex officio
  • Stone and Way
  • Praise
  • Like cicada The
  • Sandy
  • Prayer for the homeland of one
  • Song of the simple things
  • Cantata South American
  • Give your hand to the Indian
  • Song for my friend

After police officers humiliated her for 18 hours with improperies referring to her skin color and party affiliation, Mercedes went into exile in Europe.He returned in 1982, to sing at the theater “Opera”.

Mercedes continued a prolific career, in which he shared recordings and stages with the world's leading artists. Always attentive and willing to work together with new talents, in two of her latest studio works “Cantora” 1 and 2, she recorded together withShakira, Luis Alberto Spinetta, René Perez, Caetano Veloso and Joan Manuel Serrat, among others.

Official records of detention

[oembed:video url=” https://youtu.be/PRmUFSr8O94 “]


Publication Date: 09/07/2019

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