Susana Baca, the winner of three Grammy awards brings her music to Tucumán

The Peruvian singer and researcher Susana Baca is a true star with Afro-Peruvian roots and a legend of Latin American song. With her visit to Tucumán next Friday, August 19 at 9:00 p.m. at the Mercedes Sosa Theater will begin his tour of the country presenting “Urgent Words” where he celebrates half a century of singing. An unmissable show.

Always committed to her people and social causes, the winner of three Grammys, was also Minister of Culture of Peru. Urgent Words, her latest album, was produced by Michael Leaguejazz fusion bandleader Snarky Puppyand published by Real World Recordsthe record label founded by the former lead singer of Genesis, peter gabriel. The versions of “Cambalache” and “Juana Azurduy” stand out on this album, as well as “Sorongo”. In addition, Susana made the video clip “Mountain Woman”In collaboration with Wendy Sulca and Marie Cherryand won the ANDA award for being a song for female empowerment and against gender violence.

The portal Of couplets and travelers published in recent days an interview conducted by the journalist federico rossi where he talked about his tour of Argentina.

– No construction can be done alone and surely there were people who were fundamental in this musical and anthropological adventure. Who were they?

– I could name a dozen of them, but I will summarize it in three: Ricardo Pereira (her husband), Chabuca Granda and David Byrne. Chabuca was an admirable woman. I remember, when I was little, that my mother loved Chabuca, and she made me listen to it every time she played one of her songs on the radio. She knew her repertoire extensively, even her least known, which surprised Chabuca when we met years later. We became very close friends. She invited me to stay at her house and I spent it among her books, she played music, played the piano, told stories, anyway…

We met Ricardo in the 1970s. He is a sociologist and not only has been and is my life partner, but we have also shared various investigations and publications. With it we create Black Institute and the Cultural and Artistic Center for Memory, from where we promote each of our investigative works on Afro-Peruvianity. Today he accompanies me everywhere and we are working together on my autobiography.

When David Byrne heard my version of Maria Lando, on an album about Afro-Peruvian music, was surprised. He was fascinated with African-American culture. It was so, being in the United States, he heard that version and was moved. He immediately wanted to meet me. I did not know him, I only knew some stories through rocker friends who told me about the former member of The Talking Heads. David looked for me and when he found me he called me on the phone to tell me that he was traveling to Peru and that he wanted to have dinner with me. So I invited him to my house. For him and his culture it is not common for a stranger to invite you to his house for dinner, he was surprised, however he came and we had a fantastic night. He was very important for my music to be projected to the whole world.

– How was working with David Byrne?

– It was very enriching. I had been making music for 20 years, but having met him helped that music transcend the borders of Peru. When I began to project myself a career with music, the frustrations were many and the thought of dedicating myself to other things as well. For a while I went to work as a teacher in the hills, for example, and that experience helped me to get to know Peru deeply, the violence with which it lived, those stories marked me. I came from being surrounded by poets, singers and writers, and suddenly, I find myself with all this adventure.

After all that road came David Byrne. From him I learned what the avant-garde was. Just listen to The Talking Head records to find out. His musical madness had a very strong exploratory sense, and that’s what I embarked on, and from that I learned a lot.

– You mentioned your autobiographical book, how is that coming?

– With Ricardo we went to live in Austria to be able to work in peace on this book. It is a story about the experiences that I have gone through in these almost 80 years of life. Reviewing each of them is, in some way, reliving everything. We are working on it together with my husband, Ricardo (Pereira), and we both find it hard to move forward sometimes because the emotion of the memories overwhelms us. We have the first part, where we narrate the meetings with Chabuca, with my husband and with David Byrne. Another thing that we want to highlight in this book is how difficult it was to sing this music in Peru. At the beginning it was a music that was not well seen or well received, and it was a very strong fight that we had until it was accepted.

– When does the need to recover or enter the Afro-Peruvian cultural tradition appear?

– I have dedicated my life to researching and revaluing the culture of my ancestors, especially Afro-Peruvian rhythms. Blacks have always been stigmatized, but we have always been there. You see that a sensitive gringo like Byrne had to come for this music to transcend and stop being denied.

– During the pandemic you recorded a wonderful album, A cappella. How did you experience that process?

– That album meant a lot to me. It was very important in my life and it was also a real challenge, since singing a cappella is not easy for any singer. You have to be very attentive to the tuning, to sustain the rhythms and harmonies without other instruments than your own, the voice. It was also very difficult to choose a repertoire and I thought about it with those songs that in one way or another contained me in difficult moments.

– He returns to Argentina after a few years. What will you present?

– We are going to be presenting the songs from my latest album Urgent Words, which was produced by Michael League and that in some way is a synthesis of these decades of journey with music. I long to present these songs in Argentina, since there are some that are classics from its songbook, such as Cambalache, with lyrics adapted so that the current Peruvian public understands what that song is about. I also recorded a version of Milonga de mis amores and that tribute anthem to the great liberator Juana Azurduy.

– How do you feel it will be to meet again with your audience from Argentina?

– I believe that music draws bridges that are indestructible and that is what this Urgent Words that I am going to be singing over there is about. We have much to continue learning from Argentine music, from its poets, its composers and its singers. Just as Mercedes Sosa marked part of my life, there are many Argentine artists who have always accompanied me.

We would love to thank the author of this short article for this outstanding material

Susana Baca, the winner of three Grammy awards brings her music to Tucumán