Peru’s president Ollanta Humala has named celebrated Afro-Peruvian singer Susana Baca as the new Minister of Culture. She is the first black Peruvian to be appointed to a Presidential cabinet, she will serve for a term of five years having replaced previous minister, Juan Ossio.
Baca has been an essential figure in the revival of Afro-Peruvian music. She reached international audiences in 1995 thatnks to the successful compilation CD 'The Soul of Black Peru'. In 2002, she won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Folk Album, for 'Lamento Negro'. Her most recent album is 'Afrodiaspora', where she explores the musics of the African Diaspora, including the African rooted music of Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, New Orleans (USA), along with genres such as forro, cumbia and tango.
Baca has been an outspoken advocate for the Afro-Peruvian community for decades. In 1987, she was named Cultural Ambassador of Goodwill for UNICEF Peru, and she has served as a director and supporter of nonprofit cultural organizations, including her own Black Continuum Institute in the town of Chorrillo. The center’s mission is to foster the collection, preservation, and creation of Afro-Peruvian culture, music, and dance. No wonder she got the job!
Alongside this appointment, Baca will continue with her U.S. tour plans this month to promote her new album:
August 21, 2011 - City Winery in New York City
August 23, 2011 - El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, CA
August 24, 2011 - Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, CA
August 25, 2011 - Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, CA
August 27, 2011 - Mayne Stage in Chicago, IL