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Lila Downs: Music Rooted in Different Cultures

An international performer will be hit the stage at the Majestic on Sunday.  Lila Downs has an alluring, very different sound. (Hit "Listen" above to hear it)

“I’m very excited about coming to San Antonio," Downs said. "It’s always a very special, has a very special place in my heart. I was able to record with Flaco Jimenez a few years back.”

Lila describes her vibe as a youthful take on roots music—happy, festive, rhythmic.

“But of course in Mexican and Latin music there’s a very melancholic side" she said.  "I love to explore that. That’s a big part of who I am as well.”

Her back story is very much not the norm.

“I got to grow up in both cultures, which is unusual. Or three [cultures], I should say. My mother’s native language is Mixtec, and my national language is Spanish on the one side of the border.”

And English north of the border. She was raised in her father’s Minnesota, her mother’s Oaxaca and in California. And her father’s early death had a profound effect on her.

“I think it made me realize that life is only like a few pictures, portraits or different moments, and you must take them, and live them profoundly.”

I remarked to her that unlike a lot of artists, activism is something she doesn't shy away from.

“I don’t because I think it’s been central in our music since we started performing. I think it’s the reason that I was convinced to return to music.”

The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center is bringing her to town.  

“I think music is a beautiful way to show people that there’s nothing to be afraid of” said Downs.

We’ve more on Lila Downs here: http://www.liladowns.com/us/home

Singing "Cielo Roja":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyg1-B0qKUc&list=PLE237B66828EDAC88

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Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii