The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia (UBC) welcomes back Mexican-American vocalist Lila Downs, who will share her eclectic and vibrant blend of boleros, jazz, rock, blues, and more on March 10, 2018 at 8pm in the Chan Shun Concert Hall. With proud Indigenous roots and a powerful social conscience, Downs last year released her tenth studio album, Salon Lágrimas y Deseo. This collection of works honouring iconic Latin American women won the 2017 Latin Grammy for ‘Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album’. Chan Centre audiences will be among the first to hear these empowering and uplifting anthems live.
“Each time Lila Downs joins us, we are invigorated by her energy and brilliance,” says Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre. “Downs is an inspiring feminist and adventurous artist who isn’t afraid to use her music to confront current political and social topics that are important to her. Of course, she never loses sight of her Mexican roots with an original sound that draws from this tradition. She is a force of nature and we are delighted to have her return.”
Lila Downs is the daughter of a Mixtec woman who left her village at 19 to sing in Mexico City cantinas. Her father is a Minnesota-born, Scottish-American professor who, upon seeing Downs’ mother perform, instantly fell in love. As a result, Downs grew up in Minnesota and Oaxaca with stylistic influences from both sides of the border. Today, she is considered one of the most innovative exponents of Mesoamerican music.
Known for her dynamic voice that can shift from, “an airborne near-falsetto down to a forthright alto and a sultry, emotive contralto” (New York Times), Downs has appeared at some of the world’s most high profile events and venues, including the 2013 Latino Inaugural Ball for President Barack Obama in Washington, and at the 2003 Academy Awards, where she performed the Oscar-nominated song “Burn It Blue” from the film Frida.
On the political stage, Downs has taken a defiant stance against the injustices faced by her own Indigenous people of Mexico. In 2016, in response to racist comments made by Donald Trump, Downs released her single “The Demagogue”, which made headlines as a fervent protest song. Downs’ most recent album, Salon Lágrimas y Deseo, adds support to the feminist movement, with songs ranging from heart-wrenching ballads to rock-heavy hits calling for love, healing and revolution.
Preceding Salon Lágrimas y Deseo, Downs released an impressive body of works, which have earned her a Grammy award, four Latin Grammys, and numerous nominations. Highlights of her album list include Balas y Chocolate (2015), Raíz (2014), and Pecados y Milagros (2012). Accompanied by her band La Misteriosa, Downs has amassed a devoted fan-base across North America.
There will be a pre-show talk at 7:15pm in the Chan Centre’s Royal Bank Cinema. Lila Downs performs on Saturday, March 10 at 8pm. Visit chancentre.com for more details.