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Joan Baez

folk singer

Joan Baez was born in Staten Island, New York. She grew up in New York and California, and when her father took a faculty position in Massachusetts, she attended Boston University and began to sing in coffeehouses and small clubs. Bob Gibson invited her to attend the 1959 Newport Folk Festival where she was a hit. In 1960, Vanguard Records signed Baez and released her first album, *Joan Baez*. Baez was known for her soprano voice, her haunting songs, and, until she cut it in 1968, her long black hair. Early in her career she performed with Bob Dylan, and they toured together in the 1970's. Subjected to racial slurs and discrimination in her own childhood because of her Mexican heritage and features, Joan Baez became involved with a variety of social causes early in her career, including civil rights and nonviolence. She was sometimes jailed for her protests. Early in her career, Joan Baez stressed historical folk songs, adding political songs to her repertoire during the 1960s. Later, she added country songs and more mainstream popular music, though always including many songs with political messages. She supported such organizations as Amnesty International and Humanitas International. Joan Baez continues to speak and sing for peaceful solutions to violence in the Middle East and Latin America.