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Susana Esther Baca de la Colina (Lima, May 24, 1944) is a Peruvian singer, songwriter, music researcher and educator; twice winner of the «Latin Grammy». Key figure in Latin American folklore and in reviving Afro-Peruvian music. She has also been Minister of Culture of Peru and President of the Inter-American Committee on Culture of the OAS.
Susana Baca’s Biography
He was born on May 24, 1944 in the city of Lima, daughter of Ernesto Baca Ramírez and Carmen de la Colina Gonzáles. Susana descends from one of the most illustrious Afro-Peruvian music families: the De la Colina, from San Luis de Cañete, being the first sister of Ronaldo Campos and Caitro Soto. She is responsible, together with her husband and representative, the sociologist Ricardo Pereira, for the recovery of almost forgotten harmonies and rhythms of Afro-Peruvian music.
She lived her childhood in the Lima district of Chorrillos, the place where she keeps the best memories according to what she says in several interviews. Since she was a little girl she was surrounded by musicians; his father was a guitarist, his mother a dancer, his aunts sang and his cousins were the creators of the Peru Negro group. They provided the necessary strength that impelled Susana to dedicate herself fully to music.
Over time he began his music studies and formed an experimental music group, which combined music and local poetry. He won two scholarships, one from the Institute of Modern Art of Peru and the other from the National Institute of Peruvian Culture, to investigate the roots of the Peruvian musical tradition, in addition to obtaining the prize for interpretation and composition at the first International Festival of Fresh Water.
He studied education at the Enrique Guzmán University and “La Cantuta” Valley, where he graduated in 1968. On November 20, 2009, the same institution awarded him the Doctorate Honoris Causa.
In 1995, Luaka Bop, the label created by David Byrne, surprised with the publication of a compilation work that reflected The Soul of Black Peru, in it was María Landó, a song that had printed the voice and the interpretation of who, with time, would become the main reference of the afroperuana musical tradition and one of the most outstanding Latin American artists of the folkloric music. But in the career of Susana Baca not only the contribution of David Byrne has been fundamental. Chabuca Granda, famous singer and songwriter, became another key piece in Susana’s career. The author of “Fina Estampa” and “La Flor de la Cinnamon” found in Susana her successor, to the point that she hired her as a personal assistant and lodged her in her own home.
Unfortunately, Chabuca passed away, but in the name of her friend and in the name of her town, Susana continued the task of her life: studying and recovering the sound of her land. She and her husband, Ricardo Pereira, toured the Peruvian coast collecting testimonies and documents from those Afro-descendant peoples. The result of that work was later transformed into the book Fire and Water, published in 1992, after eleven years of work. Three years later, the couple created the “Instituto Negrocontinuo”, which continued with a goal similar to that of the book: to maintain the Afro-Peruvian tradition. He currently manages an Afro-Peruvian Cultural Center in the town of Santa Bárbara in San Luis de Cañete, south of Lima.
She has shared the stage with artists such as Lila Downs, Mercedes Sosa, Calle 13, Totó la Momposina, Maria Rita, Snarky Puppy, Alejandro and María Laura, Bareto, Chambao, Carmen París, Albita Rodríguez, Timbiquí Heritage, Marc Ribot, Yusa, Marta Gómez, Gilberto Gil, Chabuca Granda, Luzmila Carpio, Los Cojolites, Eugenia León, Omara Portuondo, among others.
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