I first heard of Mercedes Sosa when her death was announced on the news. I was at my lowest in almost every way you can imagine. As her death was announced, I watched a short performance of her singing Gracias a la Vida (Thanks to Life). It was a defining moment. Her profound passion, immense presence and charisma moved me deeply and this short sequence took me on a journey that changed my life.
I started to watch and listen to Mercedes Sosa on the internet. In the beginning I did it solely for my own comfort and recovery. The idea of writing a book about her and how my encounter with her affected my life only occurred to me three years later when I knew that I had discovered a road to personal wholeness that really worked and that there was scientific evidence backing my experience.
Paying attention to my inner voice I began to relate to Mercedes Sosa as a mother figure. Intuitively, I began to use her eyes like a mirror that reflected back to me what I had missed out on as a child. In her eyes I saw the glance of a mother, a glance that said, “I see who you are and in my eyes you are wonderful.” Drawing on research into interpersonal neurobiology, I reveal my findings about how connecting with another person can result in personal transformation and growth and how it can happen even in an imaginary relation as I had to Mercedes Sosa. For the psychological part of the book, I have had support and inspiration from Insight Focused Therapy in Auckland, New Zealand.
But how could I write this book without ever meeting Mercedes in person or understanding Spanish? Not understanding Spanish forced me to make use of all my senses. Much of the information I present about Mercedes in this book comes from spending hours in her company—nearly every day for six years, paying attention to her voice, expressions, gestures and way of relating to others, and noticing the psychological and physical effect these observations had on me. It has been a process which is similar to how we get to know a person in real life. If we want to get to know someone, we spend a lot of time with them and do our best to try to understand what it is like to be in the other person’s shoes. In the passage where I describe what ran through Mercedes Sosa's head when the audience gave her a ten-minute standing ovation, I stood up, closed my eyes, listened to cheers from a concert, and pretended I was Mercedes—until my husband asked me what on earth I was doing...
While writing this book I reached out to the Sosa family in Argentina in hopes of receiving some insights into her life as well as to receive their blessing on this project and I am very happy that they approved of the book and found my psychological approach interesting. I also connected with Mercedes Sosa's fans in Latin America and listened to their stories about how Mercedes Sosa and her music had affected their lives. I have included some of the stories in the book as well as interviews with friends and relatives close to Mercedes Sosa.
I am excited that after almost nine years of recovering, pondering, listening, watching, researching and writing I can finally introduce you to this amazing woman who influenced an entire continent by using her unique talent and outstanding personality and who turned my life around even after her decease. I hope you will enjoy reading the book, and if you do, maybe you will pass the word around.
Anette Christensen, born and raised in Denmark, began her career by helping develop international charity programs. Later she became a language teacher for college students, and then, with her husband, ran a travel agency and a real estate agency. Now semi-retired and living in Turkey, she writes and focuses on personal growth.
For years Anette traveled in many parts of the world. Her experience with various cultures has enabled her to engage with people with a different outlook on life than her own. She is eager to learn from others and finds joy in embracing the difference of others, spotting the uniqueness that she believes is within each individual.
It was only upon Mercedes Sosa’s death that Anette Christensen discovered this influential and important Argentine singer. Captivated by Sosa’s voice and presence, Anette immersed herself in Sosa’s music and life. In doing so, she discovered an avenue to personal healing that can be accessed by anyone.
In her book on Sosa, Anette shares the singer’s story while exploring the scientific underpinnings of how connecting with another person leads to growth, something Anette discovered intuitively. Mercedes Sosa - The Voice of Hope is the first book by Christensen and has been in the making for almost seven years. It is a product of a life fully lived and shows that Christensen is a gifted story-teller.
Anette has undertaken more than 7000 hours of research for her book about Mercedes Sosa and today she is a recognized Mercedes Sosa ambassador throughout the world.
Photographer Seçkin Kesoğlu