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*Susana Baca was born on this date in 1944. She is an Afro-Peruvian singer and songwriter.
Born Susana Esther Baca de la Colina in Chorrillos, Lima Province, Peru, her music is a mixture of traditional and contemporary influences. Her backing band features indigenous Peruvian instruments such as the cajón ("wooden box", whose origins lie in an upturned fruit crate), udu (clay pot), and quijada (jawbone of a burro) cheko a dried gourd, as well as acoustic guitar and electric upright baby bass. Although many of her songs are based on traditional forms such as the landó or vals, she also incorporates African elements of Cuban and Brazilian music.
Her debut CD for Luaka Bop, produced by Greg Landau, brought her to the attention of World Music audiences worldwide. Her songs are poetic (with lyrics composed by some of Latin America's premier poets, with whom she collaborates), rich with evocative imagery, and her voice is delicate yet soulful. She has an elegant and engaging stage presence, gliding gracefully about while singing. Her delivery is deeply felt and emotion-filled as to project a spiritual character, even in songs that are not expressly religious in subject matter.
Baca is an important figure in the revival of Afro Peruvian music within Peruvian dancers from the Perú Negro troupe, as well as "Festejo" music), which, like the culture that produced it, had previously been little recognized, but which is now regarded as an important part of Peruvian culture. Baca has contributed much to its international exposure, which began in 1995 with the release of the compilation CD The Soul of Black Peru. The album, which features the Baca song "Maria Lando", was released by the Luaka Bop record label, which belongs to David Byrne. A two-time Latin Grammy Award winner. She has been a key figure in the revival of Afro Peruvian music. In 2011, she was named Peru's Minister of Culture in the Ollanta Humala government, becoming the second Afro Peruvian cabinet minister in the history of independent Peru.
According to several critics Baca is more than just an Afro Peruvian diva. Baca founded the Instituto Negrocontinuo (Black Continuum Institute) in her seafront home in Chorrillos, to foster the collection, preservation and creation of Afro Peruvian culture, music and dance. In 2002, Baca won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Folk Album, for her Lamento Negro CD besides a nomination for the Grammy as "Best World Music Album". In 2011 she won the second Latin Grammy of her career for her collaboration with urban group Calle 13 on the song "Latinoamérica."