Lila Downs - A New Sophistication

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Friday March 02, 2018

From The Georgia Straight

Lila Downs delivers new sophistication
By: Alexander Varty

On the sonic level, Lila Downs’s new album, Salón Lágrimas y Deseo, occupies a beautiful but not readily identifiable place. Have those ska horns been lifted from Kingston, Jamaica, circa 1964, or are they a somewhat Caribbeanized take on Mexican mariachi music? Is the singer channelling some Parisian chanteuse, or deploying contemporary pop-ballad moves, or can we detect a touch of Eartha Kitt in her purring confidences? Jazz turns to cumbia; hints of tango appear and then fade away; the oompah rhythms of Tex-Mex border music are softened and urbanized.

“I don’t think we see music as having to do with genre. Rather, we just learn from all the music that’s out there in the world—and that’s very exciting.”

Look deeper into the meaning of the music, however, you’ll see that it derives from situations closer to Downs’s home—or homes, as the case may be. The singer’s father was a Scottish-American professor at the University of Minnesota, while her mother was a Mexican singer of Mixtec descent; Downs spent her childhood in both Minneapolis and the Mexican state of Oaxaca.

Read more about Lila Downs here