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Published: Sat, November 11, 2017
World | By Lorena Waters

Biography - Lila Downs Official Web Site

Biography - Lila Downs Official Web Site

Lila Downs has one of the world's most unique voices and innovative approaches to music. Born in the state of Oaxaca Mexico, she is the daughter of a Mixtec Indian woman, Anastasia Sanchez, who ran away from her village at 15 to sing in Mexico City canteens and Allen Downs, the University of Minnesota professor. Lila grew up both in Minnesota and Oaxaca, and studied classical voice and cultural anthropology at the University of Minnesota. Her music and vocal artistry have many influences and are as varied as the ancient cultures that serves as her inspiration. Lila's compositions are often striking commentaries on social conditions, reflecting migration and the search for roots as a core human need. She makes an important and deep connection with her fans, who are of all ages, races, and backgrounds. "I'm very fortunate," Downs says. "People who follow our music to all walks of life. Every day we connect with them. "

For two decades Lila Downs has traveled throughout the world reinterpreting the roots of music, from blues, jazz and soul to cumbia, rock, even rap and klezmer music. She weaves various musical forms with traditional Mexican and native Mesoamerican music, singing in Spanish, English, and the languages ​​of Mixtec, Zapotec, Maya, and Nahuatl cultures. Her tremendous voice and the originality of her compositions create a musical concept that is highly innovative and unique. Lila is hard to put in box. She is not simply a Mexican artist, a jazz, a blues or a world music artist - there is no real way to categorize her music except to say it is an exciting fusion of international sounds and musical genres.

Lila Downs' compelling 2015 release, "Bullets & Chocolate" earned it's fourth Latin Grammy and was included in the UK Sunday Times 2015 Best Albums of the Year as well as the ITunes best world Music releases of 2015.
The album was inspired by both "the Day of the Dead" offering and celebration, and also from her personal dance with her partner's possible death. While the lively sound of the album centers on danceable fusions of "mostly cumbias, klezmer-like norteña, hip hop and pop," the serious and timely lyrical content is a fierce condemnation of the current violence and corruption engulfing Mexico. "Bullets and Chocolate" spotlights Downs' concerns over the erosion of civil rights and justice, the still escalating threats to the country's journalists, the excess in modern life, lost love and more. The title track is a dedication to migrant children, while the single "La Patria Madrina" is a duet with Colombian superstar Juanes that pledges to passionately fight for the values ​​of one's land and society.

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Lila Downs has performed At many of the world's most prestigious festivals and venues, has been invited to sing at the White House, performed on the Latin Grammys 2012 telecast as well as the 75th Academy Awards televised ceremony where she performed the Oscar nominated song; "Burn It Blue" from the movie Frida with Caetano Veloso. Her music has also been included in several other feature films such as; "The Counselor," "Tortilla Soup," "Real Women Have Curves," "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada," Carlos Saura's "Fados," "Mariachi Gringo" and "Made in Mexico."

"The Mexican American singer has a stunning voice, a confident multicultural vision grounded in her Mixtec Indian roots," Los Angeles Times In> Ms. Downs has multiple voices, from an airborne near-falsetto down to a forthright high and a sultry, emotive contralto, " New York Times

" At The center is Downs's singular voice - cantina-classical - the three-octave instrument that delights in sustaining notes longer than an Olympic swimmer can hold her breath ", Washington Post P> "Fluency in Spanish is not necessary to understand Lila Downs' shape-shifting voice; It transcends language, carrying pure emotion. "She's David Bowie as", "The David Bowie", "The David Bowie," " The Thin White Duke. Beyoncé as Sasha Fierce ... Downs channels Lola Beltrán, Mercedes Sosa, Chavela Vargas, and other musical greats in performances that conjure their voices and spirits, but with a sweeping vocal range ... she is also a human-rights activist who has long sung of cultural And political issues, SF Weekly

"Taken as a whole, Downs' work is a true original," NPR.org

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