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Baez, Joan(bīpstr;ĕz, bä`–), 1941–, American folk singer and political activist, b. New York City. Baez began singing traditional folk ballads, blues, and spirituals in Cambridge, Mass., coffeehouses in a clear soprano voice with a three-octave range. She made folk music, which had been largely ignored, popular. Baez's records were the first folk albums to become best-sellers. Her later albums include several of her own compositions, e.g., "Song for David" and "Blessed Are." Among the first performers to urge social protest, she sang and marched for civil and student rights and peace. Since the late 1960s she has devoted time to her school for nonviolence in California and has performed at concerts supporting a variety of humanitarian causes.
See her autobiography, Daybreak (1968), and her memoir, And a Voice to Sing With (1987).