Susana Baca: The Queen of Afro-Peruvian Music

By Efrain Nieves, Victoria Cepeda

Susana Baca is a singer of traditional Afro-Peruvian music. She was born in Chorrillos,  Peru where descendants of African slaves lived since the Spanish Empire. She became “a key figure in reviving a culture that had been largely ignored within its country.” Most of us may know her for providing additional vocals to the two time Latin Grammy winning song Latinoamérica  by Calle 13.

Susana Baca’s other accomplishments include:

  • Winning  a Latin Grammy in 2002 for the album Lamento Negro.
  • Becoming Peru’s first Black Government Minister as Minister of Culture since independence from Spain in 1821.
  • Named as Cultural Ambassador of Goodwill for UNICEF in Peru.
  • She has also directed an NGO called ‘Water, Snow’ that sought to promote culture.

Her latest Album title Afrodiaspora is “the pervasive influence of African rhythms and song forms on South American and Caribbean music.”

Susana Baca’s contribution to Afro-Latinos in Peru and Latin America is commendable as she brings into the light a collective of people who often go unnoticed and unrecognized by their own countries. She does so with her music and activism. Undoubtedly,  Baca is a key historical figure in her own right as she passes the torch handed down to her into our generation within a more than ever diverse Latin America. ______________________________________________________________________
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