The name of Mercedes Sosa's latest album is "Escondido en mi pais" (Hidden in My Country) and refers to the neglected Argentine folkloric music that has been kept alive only by the dedication of its anonymous artists.
"This record is an homage to those who defend themselves from so many [Argentine] radio stations that only play music . . . from here," Sosa said Thursday night at the Veterans Wadsworth Theater.
The 61-year-old Argentine legend then went on to play more than 20 songs . . . from there, in her usual fashion--not a single bad move, a versatile four-piece band executing zamba, tango, chacarera and various other Latin American genres with equal effectiveness, and the singer's otherworldly voice shining above it all.
Even if the intimate, simple structure of her show wasn't much different than her presentation last year, also at the Wadsworth, the addition of background vocalist Beatriz Montes this time brought a whole new dimension to the music.
And in a night of many highlights, the most moving moment came when Sosa dedicated a song to Juan Carlos Nagel, an Argentine journalist who died this year. Visibly touched by the memory of her late friend, the singer premiered a monumental version of "Desarma y sangra" (Disarm and Bleed), a beautiful Charly Garcia ballad that was recorded in the early '80s by his band, Seru Giran.
Though she never alluded to it, this reportedly was Sosa's final L.A. appearance before she retires at the end of this tour. Her memorable performance made it one of the all-time great events in L.A.'s Latin music history.