Suni Paz is an Argentinian singer, songwriter, guitarist, poet, folklorist, translator, and teacher, who has recorded and has been published extensively. Suni is part of the progressive Latin American music movement known as nueva canción (new song).
Best known in the United States as a performing artist and prolific songwriter, Suni Paz has been presenting Latin American culture to audiences of all ages for more than thirty years. In addition to eight CDs on the Smithsonian Folkways label, she has recorded more than four hundred songs for children and performed on the world stage alongside American icons that included Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Guy Carawan and Phil Ochs.
Born into a talented Argentine Italian-Catalonian family of writers, musicians, linguists and poets, Suni Paz started playing the guitar, writing songs, singing in choirs, and at family parties at age 12. From 1960 to 1963 she lived in Chile. From 1963 to 1965 she raised her two children alone, making a living by writing and singing advertising jingles for various companies and becoming a copywriter trainee for McCann Erickson-Chile.
In 1967, Suni moved to California with her two children. There, she designed curriculum for elementary schools presenting Latin American culture through songs, stories and dances. She studied voice, began her studies towards a BA in Sociology and Literature,re-married, got a School District permit to perform in the schools in Los Angeles and Oakland and thus began her teaching and singing career in the United States, which has flourished. In 1977, Suni completed an MA from Rutgers University and teaching credentials from New York City.
Suni has two sons whom she enjoys involving in her recordings. Her eldest, Juan, had played keyboard on several of her albums. Her youngest, Ramiro Fauve, a singer-songwriter and outstanding artist continues to create music with her.
Suni currently splits time between Nevada and Los Angeles, California.
Suni's Name and Mission
Suni Paz chose the name "Suni" because it means "ever-lasting" in the Quechua language. "Paz" which means "peace" is a last name found in every Latin American country. To find inner peace and share it with others is Suni’s quest in life. Suni's mission is use her singing and playing to disseminate the rich cultures of the Americas through the lyrics, rhythms, and indigenous instruments such as the charango, caja, and bombo, thereby building a bridge between cultures.
Suni began writing her own lyrics and setting to music some of her concerns in order to give a voice to the silent and forgotten ones. She has sung in communities, schools, at rallies and marches, and later at colleges, universities,and festivals in the United States, Latin America and Europe.
In the sixties, having settled in New York, Suni recorded her first record: Breaking Out of the Silence/Brotando del Silencio on Barbara Dane’s label . In the seventies, Moe Asch from Folkways Records commissioned three children’s albums: Alerta, Children Songs for the Playground and From the Sky of my Childhood which Suni recorded accompanied by noted cellist Martha Siegel. The three albums solidified Suni’s voice as a singer-songwriter of children’s songs. The albums became pivotal in Suni’s career as an educator and a musician using songs to teach about all subjects and about life.
In 1984, Suni met Dr. Alma Flor Ada, a renowned writer and poet of children’s stories, living and working in San Francisco. Dr. Ada was interested in having her lyrics set to music and recorded by Suni. Together with Vivi Escrivá, a magnificent illustrator living in Spain, Alma Flor Ada’s lyrics and Suni’s music, a trio of creativity across two continents became established. In 1997, Suni met poet and writer Francisca Isabel Campoy who writes children’s books on Latin America and Spain with Dr. Alma Flor Ada. The trio became a quartet. Suni then began writing music, recording and performing Ada’s and Campoy’s lyrics and stories which they now present together in conferences on education in USA and Latin America. Thus, Suni Paz continues today with her career as an author, lyricist, singer, songwriter, recording artist, and performer of folklore and children’s songs. She has just published her own collection of short stories and anecdotes about growing up in Argentina and has an upcoming release about her life in Chile.
In 2003, The Children's Music Network bestowed the Magic Penny Award on Suni Paz, for her outstanding lifetime contribution to children's music.
In 2007 Suni recorded a new Smithsonian Folkways CD Bandera Mía featuring stirring folk songs from Argentina.
Also in 2007 Suni published a collection of autobiographical stories in English and Spanish entitled Sparkles & Shadows - from Innocence to Wisdom (Destellos y Sombras de la Inoncencia a la Madurez in Spanish) published by Del Sol Books.