Well-known and loved within Mexico, and in particular her home area of Oaxaca, Lila Downs might be best known internationally for her role in the movie Frida, (although she holds many projects to her credit and three Grammys.) Her songs, often remakes, are tailored to take on a distinctively Mexican flavour and encourage the preservation of indigenous heritage.
A mix of two worlds herself, (her mother is Mixteca from Oaxaca, and her father is from the US), Lila shows a variety of influences. Her music incorporates her extensive travel experience; smatterings of cumbia, jazz, African beat and Klexmer, among others, find their way into her songs. Expect to hear some unusual inspirations in her sound as well: the coo of a dove, the sound of the wind, or a even a chirping iguana. Her wardrobe style is a beautiful fusion of hand-made traditional clothing from different parts of Mexico with a funky modern touch.
She gives a great live show and appears to be a genuinely nice person (I’ve seen her off stage around town in Oaxaca a few times and she was always very gracious.)
She has been involved with several social activism projects including: Playing for Change, and One Drop and often gives free or benefit concerts.
Check out a few of her songs:
This last one is in English….have you ever heard such a catchy recipe? This song is about the mole sauce that is made in Oaxaca. If you’ve never tried it, do yourself a favour and find somewhere you can get it.
I love discovering new music (especially in different languages or lesser known genres.) If you know of any interesting musicians that are not exactly mainstream, please share!