Mercedes Sosa,
Corazon Libre
(Edge, 2005)

Mercedes Sosa was born and lived in Argentina until 1980, when she was banned from live performances by the military regime. She was exiled to Spain and only came back two years later, when the military reign came to an end.

Since her first album in 1965, she has become one of the most popular South American singers -- not only in her homeland, but also in other parts of the world. Her 2005 recording, Corazon Libre, is a collection of all-acoustic versions of the most popular classic and contemporary songs, accompanied with guitar, violin, acoustic bass and percussion.

The simple accompaniment emphasizes Sosa's superb singing and gives it a perfect frame, like on "Los ninos de nuestro olvido," a brilliant milonga (rural song) accompanied only by guitar and violin. The title song, "Corazon libre," is another beautiful milonga with echoes of various Central American musical types. The more rhythmic Chacarera songs also feature typical South American percussion and bass.

Duende Garnica's "El olvidau" is one of my favourites. The CD also includes other traditional tunes like the zamba, a very quiet form from the northwestern part of Argentina, and the tonada, an equally slow and tender melody, usually with a romantic theme. Teresa Parodi's "La cancion es urgente," a chamame -- music from the agrarian northeast -- is another interesting sample with simple finger picking and ethnic percussion effects.

Last but not least I'd like to mention my absolute favourite song: "Todo cambia" was written by the Chilean composer Julio Numhauser and "La Negra" (the black haired), as Sosa often is called, has transformed this song into some kind of Latin American hymn.

Corazon Libre is a hauntingly beautiful piece of art that introduces the listener to folk music from Argentina. There's more than samba, rumba or tango to be heard when you listen to Mercedes Sosa.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Adolf Goriup

22 November 2008

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