She plunders her country's native musical heritage, telling stories, confessing her...
Chris Moss 2004-08-05
By turns mordant, melancholy and manic, Lila Downs is utterly Mexican. But while she gleefully gallops through rancheras and mariachis, the Cantina she hangs out in delivers more than the usual margarita-laced clichés.
On "La Tequilara", for instance, she flirts with hip hop, mocking the folksy phrases even as she intones them. Incarnating La Llorona, Mexico's mythical weeping woman, she plunders her country's native musical heritage, telling stories, confessing her sins, but it's alla role, a ruse almost, and she delights in the melodrama.
Downs sometimes sounds like a young Mercedes Sosa, pouring forth a rich baritone from deep in her belly.
She modulates wonderfully and her playful, provocative character always comes over, whether in a lullaby like "La Cama de Piedra" or in the more frantic "Arboles de la Barranca". As hot as a habanero chilli, Lila Downs even makes the cooking recipe of "La Cumbia del Mole" sound lustful, in the original and in the English version too.