- Title: ARGENTINA: Thousands of Argentines say goodbye to singer Mercedes Sosa
- Date: 6th October 2009
- Summary: BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (OCTOBER 05, 2009) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF CONGRESS
- Embargoed: 21st October 2009 13:00
- Location: Argentina
- Country: Argentina
- Topics: Entertainment,Obituaries
- Reuters ID: LVA4M40BBJ5JK2TPF6X71YZIIT5R
- Story Text: Thousands file past tomb, line streets of Buenos Aires to pay final respects to Mercedes Sosa, one of Latin America's most famous folk singers who died at 74.
Argentina bid farewell on Monday (October 05) to Mercedes Sosa, one Latin America's most famous folk singers.
On Sunday (October 4), thousands filed past Sosa's casket at the Congress building in Buenos Aires. Argentine President Cristina Fernandez and her husband, ex-President Nestor Kirchner, joined a crowd of musicians, politicians and family to pay last respects to the singer who championed the poor and fought for political freedom.
The 74-year-old Sosa had been in intensive care for days with kidney problems. An emblem of the Latin American left, Sosa collaborated with artists then up-and-coming artists like Leon Gieco and Charly Garcia, something that indicated her quality as a singer, according to soccer great Diego Maradona.
"She sang with everybody because she was good. She was what she was and no one can take that away from her. She was the best and she continues being the best," Maradona said.
Outside the Congress, thousands applauded as Sosa's casket was transferred to a flower-laden motorcade that drove slowly through Buenos Aires as locals lined the streets, throwing flowers and singing and dancing.
Sosa's remains were taken to a local cemetery where they will be cremated. Her ashes will be spread over the three provinces where she lived and worked, Tucuman, Mendoza and Buenos Aires.
Her 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 when she was forced into exile and her recordings were banned.
In the turbulent 1960s and 1970s Sosa was a key exponent of the highly politicized Nuevo Cancionero (New Song) movement, which sought to take folk music back to its roots.
Sosa hailed from a working-class family in the poor sugar-growing province of Tucuman, getting her first taste of fame when she won a local radio talent show at the age of 15.
A specialist in interpreting other people's songs, she embraced the poetry of Argentina and Latin America. While she dabbled in rock and tango in later years, her roots were always in folk music.
Several months before the military dictatorship invaded the British-ruled Falkland Islands in 1982, Sosa returned to her homeland to find that her songs had won her a new, younger generation of fans.
At a string of comeback concerts she toured extensively in Europe, Brazil and the United States. She received a 10-minute standing ovation during a performance at New York's Carnegie Hall.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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