Argentine folk icon Sosa dies at 74

Thousands gather to pay respects to singer known as "voice of Latin America".

    Many gathered to pay their respects to Mercedes Sosa, affectionately known as La Negra [Reuters]

    "Her undisputed talent, her honesty and her profound convictions leave a great legacy to future generations," her family said in the statement posted on her website.

    Political icon

    Known affectionately as La Negra, "the Black One" due to her dark hair and skin, Sosa fought South American authoritarian rulers with her voice.

    Sosa's version of Violeta Parra's "Gracias a la Vida" - "Thanks to Life" - became an anthem for leftists around the world in the 1970s and 1980s.

    Her own political leanings - she was a member of the Communist Party - attracted attention from the authorities between 1976-83, when up to 30,000 people were killed in a crackdown on leftist dissent.

    She was forced into exile and her recordings were banned.

    Award winner

    Sosa hailed from a working-class family in Argentina's poor, sugar-growing province of Tucuman.

    She entered the music industry at the age 15, when friends, impressed by her talent, encouraged her to enter a local radio contest under the pseudonym "Gladys Osorio".

    She won a two-month contract with the broadcaster, the first of many accolades over a career that continued until her final days.

    "I didn't choose to sing for people," Sosa said in a recent interview on Argentine television. "Life chose me to sing."

    Her latest album, "Cantora 1 & 2", a collaboration with artists including Shakira, Caetano Veloso, Jorge Drexler, has been nominated for three prizes in next month's Latin Grammy awards in Las Vegas.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.