I may be getting ahead of myself here by assuming that Lila Downs would be cool with being referred to as a Chilangabacha, but the electrifying folk singer with a Mixtec mother and Scottish-American father was based for a time in Coyoacan and she spent much of her life in Minnesota and for a while even followed the sacred gabacha tradition of following around the Grateful Dead. Her latest album, “Shake Away” was recorded here in Mexico City as well as in New York
Anyway, I’ve been a fan for years and have even had the pleasure of interviewing her. Her albums are great to listen to after you’ve had your heart broken or even just a bad hair day. Downs has the uncanny ability of expressing every possible emotion with her range of deep groaning laments to high staccato exclamations. I don’t want to say , “Shake Away,” is her masterpiece because that would mean we can’t expect more greatness, but it comes pretty darn close. I listened to the album all the way through on my metro trip to Tabacalera today and so far I’m really digging her interpretation of “Black Magic Woman” as well as the Honky Tonk-ish track, “Minimum Wage,” and the rollicking “Perro Negro,” featuring Ixaya Mazatzin Tleyotl aka Rubén Albarránfrom Cafe Tacuba.
Miss Downs will be performing three nights here in October. You can expect more gushing when those dates roll around and as soon as I can figure out how to post music on here I’ll get some of her songs up.