Part 15: Mercedes Sosa and Nueva Canción

Following on from the previous post, we really should take a closer look at Mercedes Sosa, one of the most internationally celebrated singers to emerge from Argentina. She was one of the key figures in the ‘Nueva Canción’ movement which developed in the 1960s across Latin America. This was a folk protest movement that reflected the troubled political situation of the times. Sosa championed many of these singer-songwriters, not just fellow Argentinians, but also artists from other countries, not least Chile (Victor Jara, Violeta Parra). In the early eighties she expanded her repertoire to include songs by rock artists including León Gieco and Charly García. These songwriters have all featured previously on this blog (click their names below to see their entries).

Sosa often closed her shows with this anthemic call to arms, written by Armando Tejada Gómez and César Isella. Performing such outspoken material was dangerous, particulary during the 1970s, and she was arrested on stage in 1978, along with the entire audience. Sosa went into exile, but she made a triumphant return to Argentina in 1982. Just a few months later the military regime collapsed. Her homecoming concert is the focus of the documentary ‘Como un Pájaro Libre’ (see below).


Salgo a caminar
por la cintura cósmica del sur
piso en la región 
mas vegetal del viento y de la luz
siento al caminar 
toda la piel de América en mi piel
y anda en mi sangre un rio 
que libera en mi voz, su caudal

Sol de Alto Perú, 
rostro Bolivia, estaño y soledad
un verde Brasil, 
besa a mi Chile, cobre y mineral
subo desde el sur 
Hacia la entraña América y total
Pura raíz de un grito destinado a
crecer y a estallar.

Todas las voces, todas
Todas las manos, todas
Toda la sangre puede 
ser canción en el viento
Canta conmigo, canta
Hermano americano,
Libera tu esperanza 
con un grito en la voz...

I go for a walk 
through the cosmic central band of the south
I tread along the region 
most fertile, of wind and of light
And as I walk I feel 
all the skin of the Americas against my skin
And a river runs through my blood
that frees my voice, (finding) its level

The sun in Peru at its height
The Bolivian landscape, tin and solitude
A green Brazil 
kisses my Chile, copper and ore
I climb up from the South 
towards the heart of America
The pure root of a cry destined to 
grow and explode

All the voices, all of them
All the hands, all of them
All the blood can 
be a song in the wind
Sing with me, sing
American brother
Set free your hope 
with a cry in your voice

Em - B7/D# - Ddim - A/C#
Am/C - Em
F#m-5 - B7
1st time: Em9... (and repeat)
2nd time: E - F - G (flamenco riff)

Chorus / Estribillo:
E - C - E - C
G - Bm - C 
1st time: Edim - B7
2nd time: B7

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