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Thursday July 20, 2017

From theSundaily

‘I want to live’: Diva Lila Downs self-censors message to Mexico

The Mexican-American singer-songwriter is known for her politically charged music on immigration, human rights, and women’s empowerment. She even dedicated a song called The Demagogue to Donald Trump. But she says she felt the need to self-censor her new album, Salon, Lagrimas y Deseos (Salon, Tears and Desire), after singing about the alleged massacre of 43 students in Mexico in 2014 – an unsolved crime that still haunts the country and has stained President Enrique Pena Nieto’s government. She felt terrified after recording that ballad, she told AFP at her colourful home in the bohemian Mexico City neighbourhood of Coyoacan, sporting a twist of purple in her signature black braids and a traditional Mexican rebozo wrap paired with exuberant multi-colored boots. Disillusioned with both her countries – the United States for electing Trump, and Mexico for its seemingly bottomless corruption and violence – Downs, 48, said she thought of taking a break from music. Instead, the Grammy- and four-time Latin Grammy-winning singer ended up creating an album laced with feminist anthems, meditations on politics in the time of Trump and – unexpectedly – a ray of hope.

Q: What’s the story behind this album?

“The truth is, I didn’t think I’d be recording again so soon (after 2015’s Balas y Chocolate, or Bullets and Chocolate). I was very sad, very depressed about the state of the world and of humanity.

“The (title) is dedicated to the great love I have for my country, which is Mexico firstly, and also the United States, because that’s my country too; and also the great heartbreak I feel for both.

“The ‘desire’ part is the source of everything beautiful, construction, ideas, life. Heading north to work and find a better world, as some people see it; the desire for material things, according to others. Also carnal desire, which is lovely, but which is also the darker side of humanity.”

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