Early this morning I was talking to someone about my favorite music, and he asked me what I thought of Argentine music. Not much, I replied, but there is one singer whom I love: Mercedes Sosa. She’s to Argentines what Aretha Franklin is to black people in the U.S., what Celia Cruz is to Cuban-Americans, what Amália Rodrigues is to the Portuguese, what Edit Piaf is to the French. Little did I know that in just a little over an hour, at 5:15 am, the iconic folk singer would be dead at age 74 from kidney failure and liver disease.
My first exposure to Mercedes came when I first moved to Buenos Aires and was about to meet up with the the brother of a former colleague of mine who had also moved from New York to BA.
“I’m the short guy who looks like Mercedes Sosa,” he said.
I had no idea whom he he was talking about, or why he would compare himself to a woman, but there you go. The next day, I looked her up on Wikipedia and started to check out her music. One song in particular, “Duerme Negrito,” stood out, and when I asked my Spanish teacher about it, he told me that his mother used to sing it to him as a lullaby when he was a baby. Today, I’ll be listening to it on repeat.
May “La Negra” rest in peace.
Mercedes Sosa “Duerme Negrito“