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Susana Baca: 'The Soul of Black Peru'

Susana Baca.
Susana Baca.

Peruvian singer Susana Baca has built her career purely on the strength of her powerful and moving voice. A lifelong lover of music, Baca crafts an innovative and organic take on the Afro-Peruvian musical tradition, in the process catapulting herself to the forefront of an Afro-Peruvian revival.

Encouraged by her parents to explore music at an early age, Baca has been singing for most of her life. But it wasn't until 1995, when her interpretation of "Maria Lando" was featured on the David Byrne-produced The Soul of Black Peru compilation, that she found international prominence. Following the compilation's release, she began to record in earnest, releasing an eponymous debut, as well as several other albums which feature traditional Afro-Peruvian accompaniment.

On her newest release, Travesias, Baca maintains the level of emotional intensity in her vocal work that fans have come to expect. While most of its songs are sung in Spanish, Baca's occasional foray into other languages -- including French on her powerful interpretation of "Ne Quelque Part" -- helps to add diversity and depth to an already stellar album.

Copyright 2006 XPN

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David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.