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Leon Gieco: “The Argentine Bob Dylan”

Raúl Alberto Antonio (Leon) Gieco, who was born in 1951, is known as the “Argentine Bob Dylan.” His first hit was “En el Pais de la Libertad (“In the Country of Freedom”). The profiles describe a successful artist who was dedicated to social justice during a tumultuous and violent period in Latin America in general and Argentina in particular. His work was heavily censored.

One of his most famous compositions is “Sólo le Pido a Dios,” which means “I Only Ask of God.” The story of the song, which has been covered by scores of performers — including Pete Seeger, U2 and Bruce Springsteen —  is told at Wikipedia.

Gieco sings it above with Mercedes Sosa. Sosa also was a star and dedicated to social justice. According to AllMusic, Sosa was nicknamed “the voice of the silent majority” and was one of the co-founders of the “nueva canción.”

Gieco’s lyrics, translated at a site called Redbubble, are moving:

I only ask of God
He won’t let me be indifferent to the suffering
That the very dried up death doesn’t find me
Empty and without having given my everything

I only ask of God
He won’t let me be indifferent to the wars
It is a big monster which treads hard
On the poor innocence of people
It is a big monster which treads hard
On the poor innocence of people People…people, people

I only ask of God
He won’t let me be indifferent to the injustice
That they do not slap my other cheek
After a claw has scratched my whole body

I only ask of God
He won’t let me be indifferent to the wars
It is a big monster which treads hard
On the poor innocence of people
It is a big monster which treads hard
On the poor innocence of people People…people…people

Redbubble also offers background on the song, which became a hit in Argentina and Spain.

“Los Salieris de Charly” is below. I have no idea what any of it means, but it is essentially impossible to stop watching.

Wikipedia’s and AllMusic’s profiles of Leon Gieco and Mercedes SosaSmithsonian Folkways and Redbubble’s translation of “Sólo le pido a Dios were used to write this post. Homepage photo of Gieco and Sosa: Sergio252

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