Veteran singer and guitarist Nelson Sosa (b. 1947) left his native Chile and settled in Chicago in 1983. Already a seasoned performer, the Los Andes native went to work immediately and could soon be heard performing at Latino restaurants and doing public education programs at cultural institutions. Sosa was a man with a clear vision and mission, as well as tremendous pride in his homeland. He spent nearly thirty years with Urban Gateways doing school outreach programs that took students on his bi-lingual musical journeys to the south. He also became a fixture on the regional library circuit. Students and librarians today fondly recall these programs and Sosa’s passionate devotion to his cause.
Sosa was featured at Chicago’s World Music Festival in 2004 and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 2006. However, he was also a regular on the club scene where he offered a rich variety of folk and popular songs and shared the spotlight with other artists. He frequently featured his daughter Paola Sosa, a talented vocalist who arrived in the city when she was fifteen and was well schooled in the musical styles her father worked to promulgate. Sosa is featured with his daughter on a track on Folksongs of Illinois, vol. 5: Chicago Since 1945 that was taken from a live recording from Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music’s archives.