Lila Downs, born in Oaxaca, Mexico, is the daughter of Mixtec singer Anita Sánchez and Allen Downs, a Scottish-American art professor and filmmaker. She grew up in Oaxaca, California, and Minnesota, where she graduated from the University of Minnesota in voice and anthropology.
Her musical vision is anthropological in nature and as varied as the ancient and earthy cultures that continue to nurture and inspire her. Embracing and highlighting indigenous origins, whether in the U.S. or Mexico, has always been an important aspect of her music, as well as the topics of political and social justice, immigration, and transformation, all rooted in the human condition. She strives to make a meaningful connection with her diverse audiences through her music and performances. “I’m so lucky,” remarks Downs. “People who follow our music are from all walks of life, and they want to scratch the surface to know the whys and hows. Every day we get to connect in so many ways.”
For over a decade, Lila Downs has traversed the planet, bringing her dramatic and highly unique reinvention of traditional Mexican music and original compositions fused with blues, jazz, soul, African root, and even klezmer music, all supporting her soaring voice. Some would classify Lila as a Mexican artist, but there is no real way to categorize her music except to say that it is a unique and exciting fusion of international sounds. A musical journey with Lila Downs is always a fascinating one, simultaneously edgy and powerful, yet sumptuous and graceful.
Lila Downs has long been recognized by the music industry, receiving a Latin Grammy for the 2004 release “Una Sangre” and a Grammy nomination for 2008’s “Shake Away,” and most recently Lila received a Grammy in 2013 for her latest record PECADOS Y MILAGROS (Sins and Miracles).
Lila Downs will be performing on the Webb Center stage on Saturday, April 13 – find more information here.