LILA DOWNS’ DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS: AL CHILE
Lila Downs is the daughter of a Mixtec Indian woman and a Caucasian American father, and grew up both in Minnesota and the Mexican state of Oaxaca where she was born.
Her original music is a fusion of international sounds and musical genres, incorporating styles like the blues, jazz, soul, cumbia, rock, rap and klezmer music. Downs weaves various musical forms with traditional Mexican and native Mesoamerican music, singing in Spanish, English, and the languages of the Mixtec, Zapotec, Maya, and Nahuatl cultures. She has recorded nine studio albums, garnering a Grammy and three Latin Grammys. According to Downs, her new album Balas y Chocolate (Bullets & Chocolate) was inspired by both “the Day of the Dead offering and celebration, and also from my personal dance with my partner’s possible death.” While the lively sound of the album centers around 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. Balas y 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.
Downs has performed at many of the world’s most prestigious festivals and venues, and was invited to sing at the White House. She sang on the Latin Grammys 2012 telecast, as well as the 75th Academy Awards televised ceremony, performing with Caetano Veloso the Oscar nominated song “Burn It Blue,” from the movie Frida.
Her music has been included in additional feature films including The Counselor, Tortilla Soup, Real Women Have Curves, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Carlos Saura’s Fados, Mariachi Gringo and Hecho en Mexico. Says the Associated Press: “Fluency in Spanish isn’t necessary to understand Lila Downs’ shape-shifting voice: It transcends language, carrying pure emotion.”