Spirituality of Lila Downs | Erasing Borders

Lila Downs performing with her band "La Misterioso" on the Plaza de Fundadores, San Luis Potosi

Lila Downs has become another of our teachers here, mentoring both of us in the language and culture of this country, so close and yet different from our own. The singer / songwriter is a child of both.

The singer / songwriter is a child of both. , a father of art from Minnesota and her mother to Mixtec Indian cabaret singer from the State of Oaxaca, Mexico. She grew up on both sides of the border, graduating from the University of Minnesota in voice and anthropology.

Like the young Bob Dylan, she found in Woody Guthrie's music the key to moving to listener by telling the truth . Her medley on the "Border" album of Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" and "Pastures of Plenty" includes her own words,

"now that you have all the things that you wanted did you ever look Around to see who you forgot? "

With a three octave range voice, she sings of a dazzling variety of people from all over Mexico. In her own composition "The Girl", she sings about 'maquiladora' factory worker Rosa Maria and in "I Am a Fisherman" about a fisherman looking for the love he can not forget. She takes us behind and beyond official accounts of the Mexican army's 1999 massacre of villagers in Chiapas in her composition "Smoke". And in the song "The Line" the life of the holy spirit brings hope and is celebrated.

Lila Downs gives voice to the wisdom, spirituality and strength of the Mexican people. At a deeper, more comprehensive level than most, she lifts up the old Mexican saying, "out of poverty, poetry, out of suffering, song." On the "Border" album, her brave trust in the roots of Mexican spirituality helps produce music that is powerful as well as beautiful.

After we stood for 45 minutes, this kind woman admitted us to the front row for the concert

concert. Not surprisingly, the artist proved to be a generous performer as well, doing four encore songs, the last of which we listened to from inside the restaurant on the square where she performed.

Spanish
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While the sound is lousy on The You Tube clip I filmed at the concert, watch Lila Downs take on the personality of the dove mourning to lost love as she sings the classic song "Cucurrucucu Paloma". "They all say it's nothing less than his soul that coos for his lost love, and that still awaits her return, the return of his unhappy mate ...... "

Wikipedia tells us" Cucurrucucu Paloma "is in the" Son Huasteco "style (originating then in San Luis Potosi's State among others) and was a signature song for another great Mexican singer, Lola Beltran. ********************************************

Lila Downs has become another of our teachers here, has taught us both in the language and culture of this country, so close but so different from ours. Listening again and again to their 2001 album "Border", doors continue to open to a new and better understanding of the Mexican people.

The singer / songwriter is a daughter of both nations, His father an art teacher from Minnesota and his mother an Indian Mixteca who sings in cabarets in the State of Oaxaca, Mexico. Lila Downs grew up on both sides of the border, graduating from the University of Minnesota in Voice and Anthropology. Like the young Bob Dylan, Downs found in Woody Guthrie's music the key to moving to a listener, telling the truth. His mix of Guthrie's songs "This Land is Your Land" and "Pastures of Plenty" includes his own words,

With a three-octave voice, she sings about a dazzling array of people from all over Mexico. In her own composition "La Niña", she sings about a worker, Rosa Maria, in a maquiladora factory and in "I am a fisherman" about a fisherman in search of the love that he can not forget. She takes us behind and beyond the official stories of the 1999 Mexican Army massacre of peasants from Chiapas in their composition "Smoke". And in the song "La Linea" sings of how the life of the Holy Spirit brings hope and is celebrated.

The concert took place next to the University building on the beautiful Plaza de los Fundadores / The concert took place in front of the main University building on the beautiful Founders' Plaza

Lila Downs gives voice to the wisdom, spirituality and strength of the Mexican people. Like all the great artists, she trusts that in telling the truth of her people, beauty will result. To a more global and deeper level than most, she emphasizes the old Mexican saying, "From poverty comes poetry, from suffering, comes the song." Her faith and her bravery help produce music that is powerful as well as beautiful as well.

On the day after Easter, San Luis Potosí started its Culture Festival with Lila Downs with a free concert outdoors in the City Center. We arrived there half an hour earlier and were fortunate enough to get some seats in the front row. It is not surprising that the artist proved to be a generous person, presenting four songs as "encore", the last of which we heard from the interior of the restaurant in the square where he acted.

"swear that pigeon
is nothing more than his soul, and still waiting for him to return the unhappy"

Wikipedia tells us that "Cucurrucucu Paloma "Is in the style of" Son Huasteco "(originated in the State of San Luis Potosí, as well as others) and was a signature song for another great Mexican singer, Lola Beltran.

Ms. Marisela Huelga de Leon for her help with the Spanish translation