'Voice of Latin America' Mercedes Sosa Dead at 74

Argentine folk singer gave voice to disenfranchised under repressive regimes
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2009 2:31 PM CDT

(Newser) – Mercedes Sosa, the Argentine folk singer who became a powerful voice of resistance to authoritarian Latin American regimes, died today in Buenos Aires. A leading light of the "nueva canción" (new song) movement that pushed for social justice in the 1960s and '70s, Sosa was 74. "It's hard to overestimate her popularity and importance as a standard-bearer of folk music and political engagement through folk music," an ethnomusicologist and Sosa scholar told the Washington Post.

Driven into exile in Europe in 1979, Sosa returned to Argentina in 1982 and enjoyed a career renaissance and enormous popularity that endured throughout her life. "La Negra," as she was known, always sang in Spanish. "Her undisputed talent, her honesty and her profound convictions leave a great legacy to future generations," her family said in a statement.