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Lila Downs

Singer Lila Downs grew up with the culture of her father, a professor from the United States, but eventually turned her back on it to explore the tradition of her mother, a Mixteca Indian from Mexico. In doing so, she has created a very individual strain of song that has indigenous Mexican roots and North American sonorities. Born in 1968, she spent her early years in Mexico, but after her parents split up, she was shuffled off to live with a relative in California. She grew to love music, specifically classical and opera, and began studying those in college. After two years, however, she experienced a crisis, questioning why she was singing and dropping out to become a Deadhead, following the Grateful Dead around the country in a VW bus and earning money by making and selling jewelry, and not singing at all.

Although not particularly moved by the Dead's music, she enjoyed the lifestyle for a short time, before heading back to college in Minnesota, where her father lived. When she finally graduated, it was with a double degree, in anthropology and voice, and a renewed enthusiasm for both her Mexican heritage and singing. Settling in her mother's hometown of Oaxaca, she began vocalizing again, and exploring her roots, while realizing that she was still half Yankee. She met up with Philadelphia-based jazz pianist Paul Cohen, and the pair began a professional and personal relationship whose first fruit was the self-released, cassette-only Ofrenda in 1994. That was followed two years later by another cassette, the live Azuláo: En Vivo con Lida Downs, one of whose songs won Best Original Latin Jazz Composition in a Philadelphia poll.

Along with jazz, she was slowly developing a more intense, folkloric style that began to rear its head on 1997's La Sandunga (released in the U.S. on BMG in 1999), whose title track and "La Llorana" offered a hearty passion not to be heard on her jazzier efforts. That vocal promise was fulfilled in 2000 with the release of Tree of Life, the lyrics of which were largely derived from the religious codices of the Mixteca and Zapotec people. The album was recorded in Oaxaca, where Downs and Cohen were sustained by a foundation grant, although their home base remains Mexico City. Tree of Life was also her first recording for the the Narada label, where she would remain for eight years. The next year, Downs issued Border (La Linea). In 2004 Una Sangre (One Blood) was released, followed by 2006's La Cantina, whose song "La Cumbia del Mole" presented the singer with the opportunity to make her first-ever music video. Downs and her band released her final album for the Narada imprint, Ojo de Culebra, in 2008, and followed it up with Lila Downs y la Misteriosa en Paris - Live à FIP on World Village in 2010. Her seventh studio album, Pecados y Milagros, arrived a year later in 2011, with Canciones Pa' Todo el Año following a year after that in 2012. ~ Chris Nickson, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

jasonrobledo 3 2 1
Hola Lila Downs me encantan tus canciones especialment e Zapata Se Queda :)
Can't STOP Listening to Her Songs.

��������

A Inspiration for Women of ALL Ages !!!

Gracias, Lila Downs -

Please, KEEP Our Heritage Alive ...
First Time Listener ...

OH, MY !!!!!

FOREVER WILL BE A FAN

Chicanita
LILA DOWNS is AMAZING, Herself, Her Voice, Her Style... Amazing ! La Quiero Muchooooo ! ooh and i got to see her front row at The Jazz Lincoln Center 10/10/14 and she gave me a Hug !!! Love Her !
alvarezrosar i o 5 8
Que linda voz Dios te bendiga y te guarde siempre es un privilegio poder escucharte.
Soy tu fan y te admiro x lo k eres y representas una gran mujer .........dio s te bendiga siempre
elainecarter 2 0
I get to see and hear Lila Downs later this month August 2014 at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, TX. I am so excited as this is my first concert to experience her music.
Q Linda voz...Dios te Bendiga.
bilingual101
I ordered my tickets to see Lila Downs at Cal Poly's Christopher Cohan Center on April 14, 2015.
I missed her last time she was in San Louis Obispo.
I'm not quite sure how i bumped into this singer but I fell in love with her voice! Love her style, her voice, and her music! One admiration!! ! :) Cant wait for her concert in LA!!
You are a great role model para mi hijita, igual que tu, papa polaco y mama mexicana - thank you lila - your performance rocked last night!!!!!!! !
Lila Downs me facina su musica y nunca antes habia escuchado su nombre ni su musica y ahora soy su admiradora . Ojala te agregues el last name de tu Mama, para q mas te sigamos.
Lila q vos, q forma tan profunda de interpretaci o n , ojala nuestra industria aprecie la musica autentica y sepa mas de Artistas con tanta pasion para cantar♥♥♥♥ 4 COAZONES
New fan! Saw her featured on Netflix Hecho en Mexico!
La Linea, su mejor disco!
Lila eres ORGULLO OAXAQUEÑO GRACIAS Y Q PAPA DIOS SIGA DERRAMANDO SU GRACIA EN USTED Y SU HERMOZA FAMILIA SALUDOS DE PARTE DE UN ADMIRADOR "MIXTECO"
rotrauds Cielo Rojo just takes my breath away, What a voice!
mfaquino
Gracias Lila por sus hermosas canciones de Oaxaca!!
Absolutely enjoy her music and style. Amazing, keeping our Mexican heritage alive and by the way another favorite singers of mine sang with this lovely woman. Carla Morrison sang a duet with Lila "Paloma Negra"
Lila grasias Por ponerme Los pies sobre la Tierra !!'
Acabo de descubrir a esta mujer y me encanta su estilo y su voz. I just discovered this woman and I love her style and voice!
I love you lila!!!!
Toda mi familia y yo en especial te admiramos mujer por ese talento y ese sentir que tienes y que nos transmites haciendonos vivir y sentir con tu voz y tus compocicione s , llenas de amor a la tierra que te vio crecer y a la madre bendita que te dio el ser,QUE LINDO, PALOMO DEL COMALITO !!!!! ADELANTE LILA Y QUE DIOS TE BENDIGA. Mi hija Eunice me introduja a tu musica en San Diego California, te vimos alli en tu concierto del 2012 .
Que vos ho Dios, un aplauso para ti Lila,!!!!!!! ! !
lvilla7
I heard her a few years ago in Munich. She had a sore throat and kindly asked everyone to refrain from smoking. Despite her illness she sang beautifully, and was gracious enough to sign a CD for me.
afrikanzion
I spent sometime in Oaxaca, which i absolutely love, and heard her soulful voice and had to get every recording she's ever made. Every single one of her albums is an absolute pleasure to listen to. She's also such a powerful voice for social justice issues and isn't afraid to use her gift of song to teach and enlighten. She's got my full respect.
micho33
Es increible el nivel de energia que trasmite en sus conciertos. Lila gracias por tocar lo ms profundo de mi corazon. i love you.
dawinchi
My brother took me to the first Lila Downs concert for my 61st birthday in Napa , What a beautiful concert truely loved it . Havent stopped listening to you since then . the best to you Bella!
lunachick102 3
beautiful voice...stir s the pot of love for my cultura bella
India bella!!!
simplemente maravillosa, en vivo sus interpretaci o n e s son estremecedor a s , tiene una gran precencia en el escenario y sobre todo irradia belleza e inteligencia . . .
Wow mujer, eres simplemente sensacional! Reunes sentimiento, voz, inteligencia , presencia, sencillez y por si fuera poco, esa belleza mestiza que nos caracteriza. . . mi admiracion y respeto!
tzitzita
Lila es la muestra perfecta de lo que una mujer mitad Mexicana y mitad Yankee (Mexico/Amer i c a n a ) tiene de talento, inteligencia y belleza y lo demuestra con mucho orgullo. Un gran ejemplo para nuestros hij@s.
Un toque enorme de mexicanidad. ")
arenita azul, de onde salio...
I have discovered music again, she is like no other artist!
megustan sus raices oaxaqueñas
afrikanzion
poderosa!
un orgullo latino!! hermosa voz.
misteedawg
beautiful voice...beau t i f u l spirit !
Lila es una inspiración para todos nosotros que sufrimos y gozamos el amor!
salespalacio s
Me encanta.
saw her in Santa Barbara, CA, simply the best!!!
Just discovered her on pandora. Eureka!
liliana.ross m a n n
Inigualable voz - orgullo de Mexico
plazacalaver a
las fuziones de lila en la musica vernacula son exelentes
lynnbo3
Su musica explica todo lo que existe en el universo, lo feo, lo hermoso, lo pejor, lo mejor. Ella es celestial! Me encanta!
Me encanta.
eatrightoday
Lila is all that represents Mexican music.
ayanomar
la vi actuar en Puebla, México, mi favorita desde entonces, increíble voz y talento !!!
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