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  • Mercedes Sosa (1935-2009) sang Latin American and international folk songs. (Photo:  Reuters)

    Mercedes Sosa (1935-2009) sang Latin American and international folk songs. (Photo: Reuters) | Photo: Reuters

The late Argentine folk singer is honored in her country and abroad.

Today marked the five year anniversary of the death of Mercedes Sosa. People commemorated her singing career all over Argentina, especially in Tucuman, her home city and in Entre Rios.

Haidee Mercedes Sosa was born on July 9, 1935 in San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina, coincidently just two weeks after the death of Argentine tango singer, Carlos Gardel, in Colombia.

She was honored on Saturday at the 54th September Music Fest in the cultural center of Tucuman, with a free theater performance and Ballet El Zafrero. Musicians Victor and Heredia Alberto Rojo will also be in attendance. There will be a mass organized by her family at the Socorro Church, just around the corner from her former residence.

Sosa was also honored abroad. The Argentine embassy announced that at the Quebracho Restaurant in Mexico City, Argentine singers  Juan Martin Medina, Ernesto Anaya and Maria Ines Montilla will cover her emblematic songs.

She began her career in folkloric dance and began singing folk songs and songs for peace as a teenager. She drew her influence from the New Folk Movement, which began in the Mendoza province. She was married to Manuel Oscar Matus. She debuted with her album Canciones con fundamento (Songs with a basis) (1965). A member of the Communist Party, Sosa used her voice to elevate political and social struggles in her country and beyond, interpreting various workers' folk songs in albums Homenaje a Violeta Parra (Homage to Violeta Parra) and Hasta la Victoria (Until Victory).

Her political positions were not well liked by Argentina’s military dictatorship in the 1970s. So in 1979, after the release of Serenata para la tierra de uno (Seranade for one's land) and her subsequent detention in the city of La Plata, where her entire audience was rounded up after attending one of her concerts, she left for exile in Paris. In 1980, she settled in Madrid.

In 2009, aged 74, Sosa was hospitalized, eventually dying from multiple organ failure. President Fernandez ordered three days of national mourning.

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