Leon Gieco

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Reporter Betto Arcos tells us about the newest album from Argentine folk-rock singer, Leon Gieco. It's called 'Mundo Alas.'

MARCO WERMAN: Leon Gieco is one of Argentina's best known singer-songwriters. He was among the first there to fuse rock and folk music. Now, Gieco has a new project called Mundo Alas. Reporter Betto Arcos has more.

BETTO ARCOS: One of Leon Gieco's biggest hits was the song Solo le pido a Dios, or All I Ask God. It was an anthem for millions of people in Latin America during the late 1970s and ?80s. This song, and many others, were censored by Argentina's military dictatorship and Gieco was forced into exile in 1978. He returned in 1981. Over the years, Leon Gieco has shared the stage with artists he's admired and he's recorded with everyone from Pete Seeger to Mercedes Sosa. But his latest project, Mundo Alas, is a different kind of collaboration. Gieco led a tour of disabled musicians, dancers and painters throughout Argentina's provinces. Gieco organized the sold-out tour and he's co-directed a documentary about it. He also produced the soundtrack. One of the artists is Pancho Chevez, a singer-songwriter who was born without arms and legs. He inspired Gieco to organize the tour when they played together at the presidential mansion in 2006.


ARCOS: Gieco says his role in the project was to act as a bridge. He was the bridge so the artists could go on stage, then he and his co-directors were the bridge so the artists could be on the film. One of the key moments during the tour happened when Leon Gieco wrote the lyrics to a tune by Alejandro Davio, a singer-songwriter born with a neural defect. Gieco recorded the song and they decided to include it at the end of the film.


ARCOS: Gieco says after the recording, Davio asked the engineer to give him the track so he could do his own version at home. The next day Davio played the song for them and Gieco said it was much better than the one he recorded, so they ended the film with Davio's version.


ARCOS: Gieco says spending time with these artists has made him a better person. One with more of an appreciation of life. For The World, this is Betto Arcos.