Back from Exile: Nueva Canción and Canción Protesta as Cultural Heritage in Early 1980s Argentina

Illa Carrillo Rodríguez


This article examines the social construction of singer Mercedes Sosa’s artistic persona following her return to Argentina from exile. Through a close analysis of her February 1982 concerts in Buenos Aires, I parse the ways in which the music cultures with which Sosa was associated signified aesthetically and politically in the wake of Argentina’s last military dictatorship (1976-1983). I argue that, in this context, Sosa’s persona was socially efficacious because it embodied an ambiguously valenced form of cultural heritage, one that lent itself to the ahistorical exaltation of shared traditions, as well as to a historically grounded, politicized practice of recollection.

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