She had performed with artistes like David Broza; appeared at the tenth anniversary celebration of the Peres Centre for Peace and with her compatriot and fellow singer, Teresa Parodi planted a tree in the Mamoriah Forest near the Ben Shemen Moshav. So it’s no wonder that when Parodi re-visited Israel soon after Sosa’s death, she planted another tree in her friend’s memory. It was the closing of a circle, she said.
Also unsurprising, that with both a large Latino population, many of whose relatives were lost among ‘the disappeared’ of Argentina’s Dirty War and a tradition of social ideals, that Israelis adored Sosa as ‘the voice of the voiceless’ and a champion of the rights of the oppressed.
So while allowing that the public memory is short, I find it odd that I received no reaction when I mentioned Sosa to an online group of Jewish and Israeli Latinos while reading Anette Christensen’s book about her.**
Even more peculiar to me – a self-styled ‘cynic’s cynic’ - is Christensen’s insistence that the deceased singer’s magnetism was – is - great enough to help a total stranger like herself to self-heal from beyond the grave!
Christensen is Danish but she and her husband presently live in Turkey. She travelled widely after escaping a deeply troubled childhood home and her wide-ranging career veered from charity work to property sales and from running a travel agency to teaching. She now concentrates on ‘personal growth’ after her recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome with the help of techniques like ‘mindfulness’ and mind-body ‘dualism’.
Now Christensen, who too, has spent considerable time in Israel, has produced a suitably curious mixed bag of a book mingling the recent history of Latin American politics; a potted biography of Sosa written mostly in the present tense; a revealing personal memoir plus many photographs of the singer and her own simple pencil sketches.
Her book is of only passing interest to me because I previously knew nothing of Sosa. However, I guess it will appeal to all those, particularly in Israel and the United States, who are captivated by the sort of disciplines I cite above. If I scoff too harshly I’ll bring a ton of bricks tumbling about me. So this time, I’ll end here!
** Mercedes Sosa - The Voice of Hope: My life-transforming discovery of the mother of Latin America is available from Amazon on Kindle @ $0.99.
© Natalie Wood (27 February 2017)