Mercedes Sosa is without a doubt Argentina’s most well known and
best-selling artist. Having established early on a reputation as a
voice of opposition to the military juntas and dictatorships often in
power in her native land, she found herself forced into exile. Her many
recordings and concerts abroad were odes to a free Argentina, which
finally became a democracy in the early eighties and allowed her
welcome return. Mercedes Sosa turned seventy this year, and this album,
Corazon Libre (Free Heart), is her first offering in over two years
following an extended illness.
Her music has shifted its focus from songs of protest to mostly songs
from her native Argentina that still deal with issues relevant to her
countrymen: strife and widespread poverty, but there are also songs
that celebrate the joys of freedom. This is her first album on Deutsche
Grammophon’s Edge label, which was formed recently to promote world
music recordings. The album’s working title during the recording
sessions was “the guitar album,” and most of the songs here are indeed
acoustic guitar based and rather sparse in their accompaniment, with
violin and percussion added to Mercedes Sosa’s always endearing vocals.
While others have commented that her illnesses have affected her voice,
I still find her vocals warm, powerful and full of emotion.
Since the advent of democracy in Argentina, Ms. Sosa has explored many
genres of song, including pop music, and some have been critical that
so important a voice would dabble with such frivolity. This disc finds
her in more familiar territory, but there’s a lot of variety in the
song selection as well. Many of the songs offer the essence of her
overall body of protest work, such as “La Canción Es Urgente” (The Song
is Urgent), “Los Niños De Nuestro Olvido” (The Children of Our
Forgetfulness), and “País” (Country) – but there is lighter fare as
well. “Como Flor Del Campo” (Like Flowers of the Field) and “Sólo Pa’
Bailarla” (Just for Dancing), while “Todo Cambia” (Everything Changes)
has reached an almost anthem-like status in Argentina.
Sound quality is superb; DG has given us another Red Book CD that
rivals SACD in almost every aspect of the recording. Whether you’re a
fan of Mercedes Sosa, or just world music in general, this disc should
not be missed. Very highly recommended!
Tracks: Los Niños De Nuestro Olvido; El Olvidau; Cantor Del Obraje;
Sólo Pa’ Bailarla; País; Chacarera Del Fuego; Tonada Del Viejo Amor;
Como Flor Del Campo; Zamba De Argamonte; Sufrida Tierra; Tonada Del
Otoño; La Canción Es Urgente; Todo Cambia; Lapachos En Primavera;
Corazón Libre; Y La Milonga Lo Sabe.
— Tom Gibbs