Lila Downs

Mexican singer-songwriter Lilia Downs (1968- ) performs mainly her own compositions, usually in Spanish, ocasionally in English.

Born of a Scottish father and a Mexican Mixtec Indian mother, she grew up in Mexico and the US, graduated from the University of Minnesota in voice and anthropology.

Before she went to university, she returned to Mexico where she learned to weave. She was a fan of the Grateful Dead and toured the country as a Deadhead, making her way be selling her own hand-made jewelry.

Later, she began singing in the club scenes of Oaxaca, Oaxaca, and Philadelphia along with Paul Cohen, an American-born saxophonist. They began collaborating together on songs that would slowly evolve into Downs's subsequent recordings. The couple would later became romantically involved.

In recent years, Lila Downs and her band have toured widely in Mexico, South America, the US and Europe. Her music is a mix of jazz, folk and Mexican with a distinctive Latin rythm.

Highly recommended is the album Border - La Linea.

At times reminiscent of Rickie Lee Jones, and other times a Latin version of Seize the Day.

Influences include classic jazz singers like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, Lola Beltran and other classic Mexican singers, and the rock female vocalist Janis Joplin.

An incredible vocal range.

For my lovely friend Iva who likes her female singers to have deep, powerful voices.
(c) Keith Parkins 2006 -- August 2006 rev 0