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Grammy Winner Downs Brings Music New and Old to the GranadaWednesday, September 20, 2017 by CHARLES DONELANIn its own sultry, melancholy way, the official music video for Lila Downs’s song “Urge” may be the most subversive thing on YouTube at the moment. Dressed in a ragged, asymmetrical denim skirt and stilettos, with a giant white lily nearly as big as her head tucked behind her left ear, the singer strides purposefully into a dark salon full of silent women who regard her with inscrutable expressions. She begins to sing, and her lovelornplight becomes both the subject of a flashback to happier times and the soundtrack to an all-female dance party. The expressions on those women’s faces, once filled “con desprecio y con rencor,” gradually turn sympathetic and even joyous as they move to the slinky rhythm. Yes, the lyrics yearn for a wake-up kiss ​— ​“un beso enamorado” ​— ​but they also demand the love that has been denied to all these women, “porque también tengo de derecho de vivir.”For Downs, who will be at the Granada on Wednesday, September 27, to open the 2017-18 season for UCSB Arts & Lectures, a woman’s right to live and to be loved is at the center of a musical journey that has taken her both around the world and back to her Mixtec roots in Mexico, where she is a national hero. Blessed with an opera singer’s vocal range and an intellectual’s acute perception of the relations between knowledge and power, Downs delivers a live performance that blends robust traditional elements with sophisticated messages about liberation and oppression. For “Peligrosa,” which appears twice on her most recent album, Salón, Lágrimas y Deseo, she studied interviews with women who had been hurt and read testimonies from the victims of domestic and political violence. The result is a ranchera with a difference, a mariachi-sounding song that celebrates the bittersweet reality of the millions of women that she sees as latter-day Adelistas, the famous women warriors of the Mexican revolution. “People respond differently to the music based on gender,” Downs told me by phone from her home in Mexico, “and that’s something that we can work out onstage.”The concert on Wednesday will be preceded by a dance party in front of the Granada, a gesture representing the determination of UCSB Arts & Lectures to take its high-quality programming and mission of uplift and enlightenment ever deeper into the life of our community. Like Downs, who will be swarmed by music lovers hoping for selfies with the owner of one of the most recognizable voices in all of world music, Arts & Lectures spans a remarkable range, from the seminar to the street. Although the Grammy-winning singer can compete with any traditional Latin American artist for the hearts of a popular audience, she simultaneously operates on a musical level that routinely brings her into collaborations with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, with whom she is recording her next album.On her latest, the title of which she translates as “Tears and Desire,” Downs celebrates both the diversity and the raw power of such classic genres as...

By Falling James Lila Downs is a bewitching Oaxacan chanteuse who has the uncanny ability to draw out the essence of traditional Mexican music and infuse it with jolts of modern flavor. Her latest album, Salon, Lagrimas y Deseo, might seem like an escapist collection of lush balladry and dreamy boleros, but Downs connects even in her most romantic passages to the struggles of people trying to fit in on both sides of the border. Even as she defiantly declares her Latina identity despite being hemmed in by increasingly conservative political forces, she also invokes and calls upon her feminine power to center herself during these crazy times. Downs empathizes with Chilean singer Mon Laferte on the weepy “Peligrosa” and trades majestic melodies with Carla Morrison on “Ser Paloma” after exchanging steadfast entreaties with Andrés Calamaro on the uptempo “Envidia.”[caption id="attachment_17034" align="alignnone" width="1725"] Lila Downs @ Dolby Theatre SEPT 29th[/caption] DETAILS Time:8:00 p.m. September 29 $40-$90 Alternative  Folk  Latin  Pop Rock LOCATION INFO: Dolby Theatre  6801 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA  90028 323-308-6300 Hollywood/East Hollywood ...

Mexican-American singer, actress and activist Lila Downs has just released her latest record Salon, Lágrimas y Deseo.PodcastDowns brings a multilingual flair to her music, singing in English, Spanish, as well as including the languages of the Mixtec, Zapotec and Maya cultures.It's a deeply feminist record that continues the Grammy-winning singer's long career of music with a splash of activism to incite political and social change. Downs has spent her life trying to break down the barriers between Mexico and the United States.In 2001, she released an album called Border that was inspired by, and dedicated to, Mexican migrants who crossed the border into the U.S. to look for work and a better life. Downs talks to q about the current relationship between Mexico and the U.S. under Donald Trump's presidency, and expands on why she thinks it is important to represent different languages and culture in her music. She also plays songs from Salon, Legrimas y Deseo in the q studio.— Produced by Mitch Pollock...

7/6/2017 by Jessie Katz Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Lila Downs joined Soul Sisters to tell us why she felt compelled to make her new album, Salón, Lágrimas y Deseo, as a response to the election of Donald Trump."After the elections I was disheartened and I really had a hard time getting back up again," the Mexican-American singer explains, adding that this was the first time she had ever voted in the U.S."I had a good drink with mescal in Oaxaca and after that I remember clearly the next day I was like, 'Okay, I'm ready to go.'"Listen as she talks about the first single off the album, "Peligrosa," which is dedicated to all those "dangerous" women out there and why this album represents a big step in her personal brand of feminism."Finally I can come out of the closet on some issues," says Downs. "Especially as a Latina."Catch the full episode below, hosted by Jessie Katz and Darah Golub, and be sure to subscribe to Soul Sisters on iTunes for all future episodes! LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE    ...

The Mexican-American singer marries vintage sounds to a modern, feminist sensibility by AMANDA MARCOTTE [embed]http://media.salon.com/2017/06/6.20.17-Marcotte-LilaDowns-DangerousWomen-FullInterviewV2.mp4[/embed] This "Salon Talks" video was produced by Kevin Carlin Mexican-American singer Lila Downs marries many vintage sounds of Mexican culture to a modern, feminist sensibility. On her latest album, “Salón, Lágrimas y Deseo” (meaning a “Dance Hall, Tears and Desire”), the Grammy Award winnershowcases her luxurious voice with lyrics celebrating women’s power, infused with a romanticism that links her very 21st-century sound with Mexico’s rich musical history. On a recent “Salon Talks” episode, she described influences on her music and its impact.How did Donald Trump’s election affect the making of this new album? We all have a reaction to life, to the events, to our culture, to what’s happening in our nation. . . . For me, it’s Mexico is principally my nation but the U.S. is as well. So it’s really disheartening to see. I think it’s mainly about a broken heart.[In dealing with heartbreak] drink and dance are really an expression of our existence, and it’s about catharsis. In this case, it really is a catharsis. But then it’s about not giving up. It’s about showing and rising to the occasion, rising, that love can do more than hate. What’s going on with the rise of hate and anger in recent years? [Hate is] kind of like a wild horse. Hate — if you really hate someone or you hate people; you hate divisions; you hate racism — it can be a very easy place to go to. I think that’s what’s happening is that a lot of people in this country are going in that direction.  . . . It can be more of a challenge and to me it’s more interesting to tame the beast, to put some reins on it and to manage it [and] carry the cause, and you make it music and you make it dance. Why write a song “Peligrosa,” about dangerous women? The lyric says, “They say, people say in my society that I’m dangerous.” . . . It’s about how perception can be so different, depending on where you come from and who you are. I know the lyric has provoked some people especially in Mexico — a couple of guys came up to me and were like, “Oh so are you a feminist?”And I said, “Well, you know, if I weren’t, I could not stand here and talk to you because I would’ve had to get permission from a husband. And I probably couldn’t be wearing what I’m wearing what I’m wearing either. So I guess I am a feminist.” Watch more of our conversation about Mexican music, feminism and politics on Salon....

It is way past time to give up the idea that “Mexican music” means mariachi, but three great albums released last month give a glimpse at the diversity and inventiveness of Mexican music and the “alt Latino” scene.Singer Natalia Lafourcade followed up her popular last album with an unexpected turn to the past; the idiosyncratic Café Tabuca, who have become godfathers of the scene, released their first studio album in five years; and the Mexican-American singer Lila Downs released another collection of tunes in her characteristically hybridized trad-modern style.Where Lafourcade’s critically acclaimed Hasta la Raiz was forward-looking in its deft acoustic-electric mix, her new album, Musas, looks back to older styles. Playing with the veteran acoustic-guitar duo Los Macorinos, Lafourcade renders this rootsy music delicate and utterly gorgeous.Lafourcade went to a secluded country home to slowly create this music, a finely wrought homage to older Latin music. The 33-year-old singer said the sessions, playing with two veteran musicians, were a life-changing experience for her, appreciating the rich spirit held within the soulful, thoughtful playing of Los Macorinos. While it is absolutely “rootsy,” the music sheds any rough-hewn trad wrapping, leaving a lean, brilliant prettiness. Pristine production allows Lafourcade’s voice to glimmer amid a spare but lovely instrumental accompaniment.Lafourcade’s voice is as delicate as spun sugar, but while it can seem fragile she can still wring a lot of strength out of it such as the finale of “Mi Tierra Veracruzana.”The daughter of two music educators, Lafourcade demonstrates her musical acuity with some nice, surprising but not too showy vocal filigrees. She even somehow transforms the silly old Dean Martin hit “That’s Amore” to a wistful, and at times haunting, slow waltz. In an inspired bit of teaming, she duets with 86-year-old Omara Portuondo of the Buena Vista Social Club on “Tu Me Acustombraste,” with both singers nailing emotive note after note for a cross-generational moment of absolute beauty.Appropriately, the album closes with a “Vals Poetico,” a lovely valedictory instrumental from the two nylong-string guitars of Los Macorinos, musically expressing the thought that parting is such sweet sorrow.Café Tacuba’s latest in their 25-year career, Jei Beibi, shows the band joyously adding new sonic textures to their kaleidoscopic repertoire.Starting as a feisty group of art rockers during the 1980s “Rock en Espanol” movement, Tacuba has become hugely popular at home and across Latin America. Claiming rock as their own, the members mixed a quirky contemporary sensibility with chunks of traditional Mexican styles that resulted in music that was both proudly Mexican and cosmopolitan.Tacuba simultaneously sounds like the arena-rock band it has become and the tongue-in-cheek deflator of rock-god pretentiousness. With its loyalties and politics always with the little guy, the band’s impish sense of humor takes turns with many heartfelt moments on this latest album.Frontman Ruben Albarron steps back a bit and lets other bandmates sing. Reggae, rap, some ‘60s flourishes all live side-by-side in Café Tacuba’s densely packed musical neighborhood, still leaving room for its trademark melodica and Albarron’s reedy vocals.Notably...

In this episode of the U-LAB Podcast, the Mexican-American artist walks us through her new album, the sensual ‘Salón, lágrimas y deseo.’In Lila Downs’ gorgeous, vintage-feel album Salón, lágrimas y deseo, she passionately sings traditional boleros, danzonetes and even banda music but with contemporary messages and feminist fervor. It’s nothing new for the artist, whose career spanning 20 years has been known by her socially-conscious ideals on and off stage, her defense of indigineous cultures, especially those from Mexico, and her identity as a Mexican-American woman ni de aquí ni de allá.Read the article here....

Salon, Lagrimas y Deseo is in many ways an extension of Balas y Chocolate, though its emphasis is different. Here Downs employs classic and original songs to deliver a feminist manifesto with forms ranging from cumbia to danzon, rancheras to blues, son to banda and conjunto.Read the article here....

Lo último de Lila en Twitter

Lila Downs
@liladownsJan 21
Toda nuestra música la pueden escuchar en nuestro perfil oficial de @Spotify! #SalónLágrimasyDeseo https://t.co/hUBDBRhfUp
Lila Downs
@liladownsJan 20
@__Fergu Con luna 🌓 menguante!
Lila Downs
@liladownsJan 20

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