Music News

Lila Downs

Lila Downs is perhaps best known to American audiences as the bewitching voice behind Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd's scintillating tango in the 2002 film Frida. Her fourth album, Una Sangre, takes that voice through astounding acrobatics in a profoundly seamless assemblage of musical genres. Downs effortlessly blends and invokes every musical incarnation, from mariachi to blues to rap, while effectively resembling none of them. Her multinational band forms the backdrop for politically charged lyrics in "Dignificada" and indigenous folklore remakes like "La Bamba" and "La Cucaracha" through alternately inviting and haunting melodies. Often compared to fellow Mexican-American standout Lhasa, Downs offers a bluesy and varied alternative on Una Sangre that reaches from the depths of her Mixtec-Indian roots to the height of her vocal range. The result is thirteen tracks of stunning beauty and elegance.