Oct 11, 2018

RhoDeo 1840 Roots


Today's artist is a Mexican singer-songwriter. She performs her own compositions and the works of others in multiple genres, as well as tapping into Mexican traditional and popular music. She also incorporates indigenous Mexican influences and has recorded songs in many indigenous languages such as Mixtec, Zapotec, Mayan, Nahuatl and Purépecha. Born and raised in Oaxaca, she primarily studied at the Institute of Arts by Oaxaca and briefly attended University of Minnesota, before withdrawing to focus on her musical career. She soon began performing in the traditional music scene of Oaxaca City. .  .....N'Joy

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continued from last week

Lila Downs took approximately one and a half years to prepare La Cantina, which was released in April 2006. It draws on Mexican ranchero songs and merges sounds such as pop, rock, northern, cumbia and hip-hop. In 2007, Downs published an album with the greatest success in Spanish to date, containing songs from her previous albums La Sandunga, Tree of Life, Border/The Line, One Blood and La Cantina It was entitled simply The Very Best of Lila Downs; was accompanied with a DVD containing thirteen tracks recorded live at a concert in Madrid, Spain.
2008–2009: Shake Away/Ojo de Culebra

Two years after the release of La Cantina, in September 2008 Downs launched Shake Away/Ojo de Culebra in Europe, North America, Australia and Latin America. The album reached sixth place in sales in Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Spain and several Latin American countries. The first single is titled "Ojo de Culebra" was at the top of the charts of world music in several countries. In October 2009 Lila Downs was honored by a plaque at the outskirts of her hometown and birthplace, Tlaxiaco, Mexico, and also was awarded the keys the city for her work preserving the language of Mixtec

"Lila Downs y la Misteriosa en Paris - Live à FIP" is the second live album by Downs, released on April 13, 2010, in Spain and France, the album was recorded in 2009 in Radio France studio 105 in Paris, France. The album was released in May 2010 in the United States and in July in most other countries. It received positive feedback from critics. Lila Downs y la Misteriosa en Paris was released in Mexico with an edited version of the live concert on DVD
Pecados y Milagros (Sins and Miracles) was the seventh studio album by Mexican singer-songwriter Lila Downs, released on October 18, 2011. The album debuted at number fifty two on the Billboard 200 becoming her fourth-highest peak on the chart. It also debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Latin Albums Chart and stayed there for over 3 consecutive weeks. This album has sold over 60.000 copies in the US and over 290.000 copies worldwide. The album was recorded in the Mexico City, and New York. Downs describes the album musically as having "a strong rock side" along with "traditional" and "Latino" songs. Celso Duarte is one of several collaborators to appear on the album, featuring on the first single "Palomo del comalito". Other collaborations include songs with rappers Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas, Celso Piña and Totó la Momposina.

Lila Downs released Salón Lágrimas y Deseo May 26, 2017, under Sony Music Mexico/Latin. The first single of the album was "Peligrosa", followed over the summer by "Urge". Her next international tour started at the end of March 2017 on the West Coast of the US, followed by a series of performances in Mexico, Europe and Latin America. The album was awarded the Latin Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal at the Latin Grammys in Las Vegas in November 2017.

In 2001, Downs was invited to participate in the soundtrack of the Mexican film Piedras Verdes where she performed "Cancion mixteca", in 2002 she participated in the soundtrack for the film Frida singing the song "Burn It Blue" which was nominated in the 75th Academy Awards in the category of Best Original Song. In 2005 she participated in the soundtrack for the film The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada with the song "Dónde estás papá". Downs has also participated in other soundtracks for films such as Real Women Have Curves and Tortilla Soup. In the film by Carlos Saura, Fados (2007), she sings an unforgettable version of "Foi na Travessa da Palha" in Portuguese.

Downs has been a social activist throughout her entire career and works to maintain her cultural identity in the eye of social distress. For example, she sings with passion, and admiration for her home in Oaxaca, Mexico. Her music draws out many socially significant issues particularly with issues pertaining to the Indigenous, such as the mistreatment and misunderstanding of indigenous peoples of Oaxaca, by celebrating her Mixtec heritage through song. Her albums are socially significant, especially her album, One Blood, or Una Sangre, which includes songs such as "Dignificada," which is a song about Digna Ochoa's assassination. Digna Ochoa was a social activist, and Downs featured her story on her album One Blood.

When asked if she is a politician, Downs said that she does not want to be a politician because she is not interested in power, instead she wants to support and change society through music. On Friday, October 9, 2009 Downs, along with actress Salma Hayek represented Mexico participated in an event for the worldwide campaign of the One Drop foundation, to preserve water. They performed together with the founder of Cirque du Soleil, Shakira, U2, former Vice President Al Gore and other personalities.

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Lila Downs' Shake Away is easily the most polished and refined release since she released Ofrenda in 1994. By turns, it is also the most ambitious. Co-produced by Downs, longtime collaborators Paul Cohen, Brian Lynch, and Aneiro Taño, these 16 songs (13 plus three bonus cuts) are a wild mix of cumbias, folks songs, rancheras, blues, and rock tunes that are originals and covers. The latter include an excellent and wildly unusual reading of "Black Magic Woman" with songwriter/guitarist Raul Midón. There is a fine version of Paul Buchanan's (of Blue Nile fame) "I Would Never," and a stunning version of Lucinda Williams' "I Envy the Wind" (offered twice -- in Spanish and in English) with a fine muted trumpet solo by Brian Lynch. Her jumping take on the traditional "Los Pollos" is sung with Mono Blanco's Gilberto Guiterrez, and on "Justicia," Downs is joined by Spanish rocker Enrique Bunbury. The great Israeli-American jazz clarinetist Anat Cohen also helps out on three cuts. Rubén Isaac Albarrán Ortega (also known as "Ixaya Mazatzin Tleytól" of Café Tacuba) helps out on her original "Perro Negro" ("Black Dog"), a mystical, folk-drenched polka that references corrupt leaders in Latin America -- but could stand in for them anywhere. That said, the most rewarding collaborative effort on the set is the duet between Downs and the great Mercedes Sosa on Downs' "Tierra de Luz." But duets and collaboration aren't the only focus of this album; in fact, it's a sprawling set of tunes whose reach is almost limitless: "Silent Thunder" employs both reggae and funk but combines them with traditionally informed Mixtec chants. The skittering, scattershot blues of "Minimum Wage" offers a new element in Downs' recorded vocabulary -- with great guitar work by Ken Basman and Juancho Herrera. Downs' band, a sextet that includes Paul Cohen on saxophones and clarinet, the great Mexican multi-instrumentalist Celso Duarte, Rob Curto on accordion, Herrera on guitars, bassist Booker King, Chilean drummer/percussionist Yayo, and Colombian percussionist Samuel Torres prove an international cast of players who all speak Downs' ambitious multi-textural, trans-genre brand of music that, at this messy juncture in history, blurs all the lines to offer a massively appealing aural entity. Despite her wide-reaching compositions, and the referencing of American and British pop artists, Downs is no less political, and makes no compromises. One listen to her originals confirms and underscores this. This is the record we've been waiting for from Downs; it succeeds on all fronts and deepens her canon immeasurably.

Lila Downs - Shake Away/Ojo De Culebra   (flac  410mb)
01 Little Man 3:47
02 Ojo De Culebra 4:04
03 Minimum Wage 4:08
04 Perro Negro 3:02
05 Yo Envidio El Viento (I Envy The Wind) 3:44
06 Skeleton 3:02
07 Black Magic Woman 3:12
08 I Would Never 4:44
09 Justicia 3:51
10 Taco De Palabras 3:05
11 Los Pollos 3:17
12 Tierra De Luz 3:41
13 Silent Thunder 4:44
14 Shake Away 3:45
15 I Envy The Wind 3:45
16 Nothing But The Truth 3:53

Lila Downs - Shake Away (ogg  143mb)

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Given the experience of seeing Lila Downs y la Misteriosa in concert, it’s a wonder it took almost a decade for Anglos to hear her that way on record (thanks to World Village). This offering, recorded at Radio France’s FIP station, features her full international octet: Paul Cohen (her husband) on clarinet and saxophone; drummer Yayo Serka from Chile; Venezuelan guitarist Juancho Herrera; Paraguayan harpist, violinist, and charango player Celso Duarte; bassist Carlos Henderson from St. Louis; Colombian percussionist Samuel Torres; and New Yorkers Rob Curto on accordion and Dana Leong on trombone (the latter is also an accomplished cellist and producer). The essence of Downs' wondrously diverse, mind-blowing show is captured here in brilliant audio. Though she was touring in support of 2008’s Ojo de Culebra -- four of these tracks appeared there -- she performs music from six different albums reaching back to 1999's Sandunga. Whether it’s the conjunto/norteño-infused “El Relampago” or the Spanish-flavored dub of “La Linea” or “La Cumbia del Mole," the energy is the same: focused, spontaneous, and explosive. The lilting traditional ballad “La Llorna” is a standout, as is Chuy Rasgado's ranchera “Naila.” While Downs is a versatile vocalist and a true stylist as well as a dynamic performer, la Misteriosa cannot be overlooked for the sheer force and flow they provide in her live show; they are a sophisticated, forward-thinking ensemble of seasoned players who have been together for years, and now play instinctively with one another, adding an unmistakable dynamic. This one is all killer, no filler.

   Lila Downs Y La Misteriosa - En Paris (Live) ( flac  492mb)

01 El Relámpago 3:57
02 La Linea 4:47
03 La Martiniana 4:30
04 La Cumbia Del Mole 4:08
05 Paloma Negra 4:32
06 Minimum Wage 4:27
07 Justica 5:14
08 Yo Envidio El Viento 4:06
09 La Cucaracha 4:58
10 Los Pollos 3:48
11 Naila 3:32
12 Arenita Azul 3:25
13 La Iguana 4:31
14 La Llorona 5:47
15 Perro Negro 7:00

  Lila Downs Y La Misteriosa - En Paris (ogg   198mb)

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Continuing to exhibit the creative flair that has seen her become one of the most intriguing figures on the Mexican pop scene, Lila Downs breathes new life into some of her homeland's most cherished "canciones" for her seventh studio album, Pecados y Milagros. Produced by husband Paul Cohen, the follow-up to 2008's Ojo de Culebra sees the Latin star pay respect to her heritage with an emotive rendition of her home state Oaxaca's official anthem, "Dios Nunca Muere," and traditional wedding song "Xochipitzahua," transform Marco Antonio Solís' "Tu Carcel" and Juán Zaizar's "Cruz de Olvido" into stripped-back flamenco ballads, and showcase her impressive operatic tendencies on an inventive percussive reworking of Caetano Veloso's "Cucurrucucu Paloma" and a mournful take on Cuco Sánchez's ranchera classic "Fallaste Corazon." But it's the six original compositions that best display her talents for merging authentic regional sounds with more contemporary influences, whether it's the ska-tinged collaborations with Colombian folksinger Totó La Momposina ("Zapata Se Queda") and hip-hop outfit Illya Kuryaki & the Valderramas ("Pecadora"), the toe-tapping mariachi-led rockabilly of "La Reyna del Inframundo," or the cumbia-inspired celebration of her country's corn-grinders, "Palomo del Comalito." A vibrant and affectionate tribute to her culture, Pecados y Milagros proves that Downs' reputation as an artistic visionary is entirely justified.

 Lila Downs - Pecados y Milagros     (flac  382mb)

01 Mezcalito 4:28
02 Tu Cárcel 3:43
03 Zapata Se Queda 4:24
04 Vámonos 3:31
05 Cucurrucucú 4:50
06 La Reyna Del Inframundo 3:11
07 Fallaste Corazón 4:44
08 Solamente Un Día 3:42
09 Xochipitzahua 1:12
10 Palomo Del Comalito 4:08
11 Dios Nunca Muere 4:55
12 Pecadora 4:07
13 Cruz De Olvido 4:48
14 Misa Oaxaqueña 3:23

Lila Downs - Pecados y Milagros   (ogg 140mb)

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Balas y Chocolate, Lila Downs' 11th album, is easily her most personal. She and her longstanding musical and life partner Paul Cohen focus squarely on the current condition of Mexico, and the turmoil that rages within it: the violence of the drug war, the disappearance of students, the migration of children, rampant international greed, and unrestricted capitalism played out on its soil are destroying a large, varied ecosystem and indigenous cultures. In originals and a canny choice of covers, Downs juxtaposes folk and popular styles from mariachi and cumbia to hip-hop, pop, son, ranchera, and even klezmer. "Humito de Copal" is a rumbling cumbia. Amid guitars, horns, and layers of percussion, she sings (in Spanish), "...I am the person who disappeared/I am the woman who fought for her life/I am the student who is changing the rules/I am the one who demonstrates...I am nature's witness/I speak the word that the earth cries…." "Mano Negra" weaves klezmer and cumbia on pre-Colombian instruments and mariachi horns. Lyrically, it juxtaposes Mexico's violence with the beauty of its landscape. The title track addresses the plight of children who migrate across borders while their remaining families stay as it weaves funky, danceable pop adorned with swirling synth presets, accordions, horns, fat basslines, wah-wah guitars, and a hip-hop breakdown. Single "La Patria Madrina" is a killer duet with Colombian singer Juanes. The pair bridge the distance between Latin American struggles in the lyrics: "Saw hell, saw the news/Graves, the dead, destruction of Mother Nature…." Rock & roll, cumbia, mariachi, and bachata come together seamlessly in a militant statement of a truth that refuses to surrender: "You are the country of all my dreams/He who disrespects, I will cut his heart in two...Today I woke up and my sight was clear/Today I planted a seed of corn in an old tire in my barrio…."

The covers here edify the originals. Juan Gabriel's mariachi classic "La Farsante" is sequenced before a burning arrangement of Jesús Rosas Marcano's "La Burra." Downs and Cohen don't forget the importance of love, either (there can be no revolution without love songs). "Cuando Me Tocas Tu" is a simmering ranchera with saxophones, nylon-string guitars, hand percussion, and lithe horns that illustrate longing, commitment, and desire. The closer, "Viene La Muerte Echandro Rasero" ("Death Is the Great Equalizer") is a poem by Asunción Aguilar set to music. It is a celebration of death as a natural extension of life reflected in the celebration of Mexico's Day of the Dead. Martial snares, horns, pulsing guitars, bajo sextos, and chanted choruses detail resolute determination, the hope in the moment. It, and Balas y Chocolate as a whole, express that as long as one breathes, change is possible. Everything is on the line on this album. Though it reflects the dire present, it is also a statement of profound faith in humanity's future and an act of resistance against the powers of darkness.

 Lila Downs - Balas y Chocolate   (flac  400mb)

01 Humito de Copal 3:52
02 Mano Negra 4:33
03 Balas y Chocolate 3:31
04 Una Cruz de Madera 3:10
05 La Farsante 4:17
06 La Burra 3:19
07 Cuando Me Tocas Tú 4:36
08 La Patria Madrina 4:18
09 Las Casas de Madera 4:09
10 La Promesa 5:25
11 Son de Difuntos 3:37
12 Dulce Veneno 3:43
13 Viene la Muerte Echando Rasero 3:59

 Lila Downs - Balas y Chocolate (ogg  134mb)

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Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting this Rho. Had not heard her before, wonderful music! Larry.

Rho said...

Glad to be of service Larry, Lila is an Mexican Goddess coming to us from a South Eastern Mexican mountain village, rejoicing the world with her songs and voice.