Lila Downs has one of the world's most singular voices and innovative approaches to music. She is the
daughter of a Mixtec Indian woman, Anastasia Sanchez, who ran away from her village at 15 to sing in Mexico
City cantinas and a University of Minnesota professor Allen Downs, who saw her singing and fell in love.
Lila grew up both in Minnesota and Oaxaca, and her music and vocal artistry has many influences, including the
folk and ranchera music of Mexico and South America and American folk, jazz, blues and hip-hop. Many of her
lyrics focus on issues relating to social justice, and often tell the stories of the workers who migrate from rural
Mexico to work in the U.S. She studied classical voice and cultural anthropology at the University of Minnesota.
"The Mexican American singer has a stunning voice, a confident multicultural vision grounded in her Mixtec Indian roots," Los Angeles Times. "Ms. Downs has multiple voices, from an airborne near-falsetto down to a forthright alto and a sultry, emotive contralto," New York Times.
She and her longtime collaborator, Paul Cohen, have produced 9 studio albums, the most recent of which
(Pecados y Milagros) earned both U.S. and Latin Grammy awards, and was awarded double-platinum in sales in
Mexico. She received her first Latin Grammy for the 2004 release, "Una Sangre."
Lila Downs has performed at many of the world's most prestigious festivals and venues, has been invited to sing
at the White House, and performed the Oscar nominated song from the movie Frida at the Academy Awards
televised ceremony. 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 "Hecho en Mexico".
Her current project is a collaboration with Argentinian singer Soledad Pastorutti and Spanish flamenco singer La
Niña Pastori, entitled "RAÍZ".
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
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Photo by Elena Pardo
This event is sponsored in part by a grant from Grants for the Arts and Union Bank