World Music Wednesday: Lila Downs
World Music Wednesday is a new weekly segment on The North 103.3 FM. Every Wednesday at 4pm on Northland Afternoon, we will feature a brand new release or a significantly important past work from our vast library of music from around the world.
Support for World Music Wednesday comes from Simply Ballroom in Duluth's Craft District. https://www.simplyballroom.com/duluth
This week's World Music Artist Spotlight is Lila Downs.
GRAMMY-winning singer Lila Downs bridges traditions from across the Americas, with influences ranging from the folk and ranchera music of Mexico and South America to North American folk, jazz, blues, and hip-hop. She sings with an impressive three octave vocal range.
Born Ana Lila Downs Sánchez in Oaxaca, Mexico, Lila Downs showed an interest in music at the age of eight and began singing rancheras and other traditional Mexican music. At age fourteen, she relocated to Minnesota where her father was a professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and started perfecting her English. When she was sixteen, her father passed away and Lila relocated with her mother back to Mexico.
She spent time following The Grateful Dead, eventually completing her studies back in Minneapolis, majoring in Anthropology and Voice. While in the Twin Cities, Downs formed a group called La Trova Serrana which achieved popularity among the Latin community within the United States.
In 1999, after several independently produced albums, Lila started finding more global commercial success. In 2001, Lila Downs appeared in the film Frida, and her song Burn It Blue was nominated for Best Original Song at the 75th Academy Awards.
Since her debut, Lila Downs has released fifteen albums, won a Grammy Award, 5 Latin Grammys, and has performed at the White House, Carnegie Hall, and Harlem's Apollo Theater.
Lila Downs has been a social activist throughout her entire career and works to maintain her cultural identity and often brings attention to social issues pertaining to the mistreatment of the Indigenous peoples of Latin America.