León Gieco - guitar, vocals, harmonica
Though this recording only features two of León Gieco's songs, both are viable examples of the power and passion of the revolutionary singer-songwriter.
Due to his political, poetic lyrics and his folky style, Gieco became known as Argentina's Bob Dylan, and these songs show the parallels between the two artists. The first song, "Hombres De Hierro," is a plaintiff protest song that talks about the "Iron Men" who ignore calls for help from the common people who were victims of the violent political struggle that was taking place in Argentina between the military government and the leftist, populist groups like the People's Revolutionary Army. The chorus roughly translates to, "Iron men who do not listen to the voice / Iron men who do not listen to the shout/Iron men who do not listen to the pain / People who advance can kill."
The second song, "Sólo le Pido a Dios," which translates to "I Only Ask of God," is one of Gieco's most famous songs. It was released on his 1978 album IV LP, and is another heart-on-sleeve exercise. The singer asks the divine to give him the strength to stand up against the injustice, war, and hatred around him. Gieco powerfully sings, "Sólo le pido a Dios / Que la guerra no me sea indiferente / Es un monstruo grande y pisa fuerte / Toda la pobre inocencia de la gente." The lyrics translate to "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."
These songs show the power of Gieco's music, and hints at some of the problems that were plaguing Latin America at the time. Though Gieco is from Argentina and many of his songs are about his home country, his lyrics serve as sources of strength for the oppressed masses.
León Gieco was born on November 20th, 1951 near Cañada Rosquín in the province Santa Fe, Argentina. Cañada Rosquín is a small farming town of only 5,000 in Northeastern Argentina. Coming from a fairly meager background, Gieco began working young and was able to buy himself a guitar at an early age and got quickly into music.
At the age of 18, he moved to Buenos Aires to pursue music and released his debut album at the age of 22. The youngster built off the self-titled release, and soon he was playing with many famous Argentine artists. As his career progressed, he began performing more shows as a solo artist, armed only with a guitar, a harmonica, and a charango (a ten-string Latin American instrument, smaller than a guitar).
Much of his music features a socially conscious message, and that caused problems with the Argentine government. After his IV LP, he even had to move to Los Angeles for a year due to the government's distaste for his protest songs. His music continues to be popular all over the Spanish speaking world and the folk and world music scenes.
1988 marked the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In an effort to raise world consciousness about human rights and of the plight of political prisoners worldwide, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Youssou N'Dour, Tracy Chapman, and others embarked on the Amnesty International Human Rights Now! Tour. The tour was an ambitious undertaking that criss-crossed the globe during September and October of 1988, where these artists performed before monumental crowds in Europe, Asia, Africa, as well as North and South America. This performance was recorded at the last night of the tour at the home stadium of world footballing giants River Plate, el Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, on October 15, 1988.