With more than fifty years and thirty records to her credit, folk music's most recognisable female singer, Joan Baez, finally plays in São Paulo – performing on consecutive nights at Teatro Bradesco – 33 years after her last touring attempt here was thwarted by an outright ban issued from Brazil's military dictatorship that kept her from performing.
The American vocalist is known nearly as much for her commitment to peaceful social causes and human rights activism as she is for her distinctive singing style and famous covers of other artists such as Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and The Beatles. Her anti-Vietnam War stance and deep connection to the counterculture movement made her a left wing icon and a target in popular culture, leading to parodies such as the Joanie Phoanie character in the comic strip Li'l Abner and even the subject of a 1980s Saturday Night Live game show sketch, 'Make Joan Baez Laugh'.
And while time has made Baez able to take herself less seriously (as noted by her revealing memoir And A Voice to Sing With), she continues in both her political efforts, having performed a concert for the Occupy Wall Street protestors in November of 2011. Though she hasn't released a new studio album since 2008's Day After Tomorrow, produced by fellow folkster Steve Earle, she recently put together Diamantes, a 15-track CD of live recordings exclusively for sale on her Latin American tour, which contains some songs in Spanish and Portuguese.