Pop: Lila Downs

Cal Performances

Berkeley, CA, United States

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Mexican American singer and activist Lila Downs is adored by her many fans for staying true to her roots even while she is always moving forward. Through a long career that has earned her multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards, she now ranks as one of the most recognizable singers in Latin alternative music. A commanding presence at center stage, Downs, “no stranger to raising hell and consciousness through the power of song” (Rolling Stone), with her superhuman vocal range and a deeply empathetic spirit, she champions the causes of immigrants, women, and indigenous groups in her genre-hopping compositions. Her latest release, Al Chile, is infused with the infectious rhythms of cumbia and explores themes of pleasure and pain, suffering and redemption, through the metaphor of Mexico’s ubiquitous chili pepper.


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