Freitag, 17. November 2017

Mercedes Sosa con Leon Gieco y Milton Nascimento - Corazón Americano (1985)

The politics and significance of stadium performances of music artists in Latin America differ from that in Europe and North America: With a participative force comparable to that of fervent football supporters, the response of those present is not merely to join in with the songs, but also to make their own statements about dictators who will fall of have fallen and to offer their own versions of the parts of songs taht are an overt comment on present or near-past situations. The intensity and emotional complexity of performer/audience communication is manifest: what is beeing exchanged is not merely empathy but experiences and feelings - the private made public.

This response emanates as much from immediate considerations of place, as from the fact that in Argentina and Chile, during certain periods, the concert has been the only significant available space for the coming together of a certain political community (one primarily constituted by young people in the case of Argentina). It is also inspired by the performers.  On the album "Corazon Americana", Mercedes Sosa is joined, in Brazil, by fellow Argentine rock nacional singer Leon Gieco and Brazil´s own Milton Nascimento.

One is not surprised, that when Mercedes Sosa stumbles in her translation from Spanish into Brazilian Portuguese, the audience have the words already on their lips. Ultimately, the various strands of this record are fused and loss of life made meaningful in Sosa´s extraordinary rendering of Petrocelli´s "Cuando tenga la tierra" ("When I Have the Land"), which captures the charactersitic properties of so much Latin American music: passionate, powerful, formidable in ites beauty, ecstatic rather than sublimatory in its reaffirmation of the regeneration of the individual within the group.

The recognition of the complexity of what has been lost, even for those who have survived, comes through the emotional "Cancion para Carito", the second track on "Corazon Americano". This response to someone´s death is that of a younger generation aware that they have borne the most intense sacrifice of any generation in Latin America - not merely in terms of unempolyment and lack of education, but also because they suffered the brunt of the waves of repression against "subversivos-marijuaneros-delincuentes", tags applied by military regimes to justify abnegating the rights of anyone who does not conform.The music in these concert does not "preach to the converted", a popular but useless interpretation of why such events are important, but rahter attempts to acknowlede what everyone knows has happende.

If the theme is sharing experience and uniting, it is a mark of her formidable position as one of the world´s major perfomrers that Mercedes Sosa responds to the overwhelming chats that greet her introduction on stage by Brazil´s own Milton nascimento with a reflective and timely new interpretation of Chilean Violeta Parra´s "Volver a los 17" ("To be 17 Again"), the average age of much of her audience.

The best song for me is "Solo le pido a Dios" ("I Only Ask God") - the anthem of the peace movment at the time of the Malvinas War in Argentina, sung by Mercedes Sosa with Leon Giece: the rich, contralto voice of a strong and warm woman contrasts wonderfully with Gieco´s terse, tight-throated, reverberating timbres, while to my (European) ears, the use of the harmonica strangely evokes the uncynical hopes of the youth of a different period - the 1960s and Bob Dylan.

Mercedes Sosa con Leon Gieco y Milton Nascimento - Corazón Americano (1985)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

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