On Radio 3 Now

In Tune

16:30 - 17:30

Sean Rafferty presents a selection of music and guests from the arts world.

Next On Air

17:30 Opera on 3

View full schedule

Awards for World Music 2007 - Album of the Year
Lila Downs 'La Cantina Narada'
LILA DOWNS La Cantina Narada
La Cantina "Entre Copa y Copa"
(EMI/ Narada 0946-3-34248-2-1)

Culturally and artistically, Latin Grammy winner Lila Downs continues to develop as one of the most compelling singers to straddle the US-Mexico border. Her fifth release is an essay on the Mexican working-class ranchera ballad and other popular forms, poignant songs of love, betrayal and retribution. Three Downs originals open the album. La Cumbia del Mole is her tribute to the women of her native Oaxaca, in southern Mexico (a striking music video of the song, filmed in the Oaxaca market, can be found on the artist's website); an English-language version of the song appears later in the album. El Corrido de Tacha "La Teibolera", with Flaco Jiménez (accordeon) and Max Baca (bajo sexto), gives a Tex-Mex feel to the tale of a young woman determined to overcome the depredations of being abandoned by her family to a forced marriage. Agua de Rosas is Downs's salute to a female shaman of Juchitán, Oaxaca, who prescribed a rosewater remedy to banish her sadness.

The balance of the album interprets some of Mexico's best-loved popular songs, beginning with José Alfredo Jiménez's classic Tu Recuerdo y Yo, and La Cama de Piedra (Bed Of Stone), whose plaintive refrain wholly captures the ranchera spirit: "If it's a crime to love you, then let them sentence me to death." Shifting genres, El Relampago is a son calentano from western Mexico's Michoacan 'hot lands', combining a forceful chorus whose harmonising vocals play upon a lively array of harp, vihuela and violin. But as with all the material covered here, the arrangements are pure Downs, mixing harp and strings, marimba, percussion, hip-hop, DJ techniques (courtesy of Charanga Cakewalk's Michael Ramos, Aneiro Taño and Downs's partner, Paul Cohen, clarinettist and musical director), Levantine modes, slashing electric guitar, Mexican brass band accents, and the artist's sultry spoken interjections.

Downs's remarkable talent for mimicry, her operatic reach, her sense of drama, her passion for the music and its land of origin, make this another landmark in her artistic development.

Michael Stone
Review from fRoots magazine Aug/Sept 2006.

fRoots magazine
Album Review on bbc.co.uk/music
Read other people's comments then Tell us what you think:

David Francia
Gran potencia, poesia "amerixicana" .Lila mantiene poderio y energia con unos temas muy tradicionales y tan modernos! Voz estremecedora y musica tan pura y caliente. Gracias por ser tan auténtica! Ha sido capaz de reunir en este album la energia y la pasion que nos da en sus conciertos. Gracias!

Jenny, Zürich
Lila Downs is what is really Art of Music. She does not sound like anyone else,she's really unique and has her own artistic stile.And live she has a great voice,much greater than on the cd,so go and see her! take care,saludos

Peter Schüsselbauer Regensburg Germany
I definitely think La Cantina should be album of the year, it is not morose only sad in some of the songs, but life is sad sometimes, isn't it?

Miguel Morán, Cancun, Mexico
Lilia es una gran cantante y digna representante de la musica mexicana contemporanea, conservan do nuestras tradiciones, felicidades

una voz muy bonita

Carl Peterborough
Lila Downs is fantastic,both on disc and live.However this album should not be anybody's album of the year.One paced and morose it doesn't show what Lila or her band can really do. Better go for any of the 3 proceeding albums if you want to hear Lila and co. at their best....

Gar Dorset
I am thoroughly ashamed not to have known of Lila Downs before hearing this. A musical genius, and simple too.

Tell us what you think:

Your Name and Location:

Your comment:

Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.