Beloved Peruvian singer-songwriter Susana Baca has emerged as one of her home country's preeminent cultural ambassadors, and she continues to share Afro-Peruvian music with the world on her critically acclaimed concert tours. Baca is a passionate and radiant performer, imbuing her poetic songs with a mix of tenderness and tenacity that never fails to move audiences. Whether she's singing favorites like "Maria Lando" or discussing the musical traditions of the Andes, Baca puts on an unforgettable and culturally rich show that transcends both nationality and generation to arrive at something truly universal.
Susana Baca was born in 1944 in the small Peruvian fishing village of Chorillos, where she was influenced by indigenous Peruvian, Cuban, and Brazilian musical traditions. Her parents encouraged her to explore music from an early age, and she began singing and performing in her teens. Her interest in Afro-Peruvian music led to numerous grants from cultural institutions, allowing her considerable creative freedom to hone her unique poetry-based style of songwriting. She released her debut album Poesia y Canto Negro in 1987, but she didn't find an international audience until the socially conscious ballad "Maria Lando," which was released by David Byrne (Talking Heads) on his 1995 compilation The Soul of Black Peru. The iconic song planted her firmly on the world music map, setting the stage for a string of acclaimed albums released on Byrne's Luaka Bop label. Since then, Baca has won two Latin Grammys, served as Peru's Minister of Culture, and toured the world many times over.