Singer Lila Downs brings a taste of Mexico to Vancouver

Lila 2

Celebrated singer Lila Downs is bringing a little bit of Mexico to Vancouver. Downs returns to the Chan Centre April 26, where the Mexican-American songstress will perform her fusion of Mexican folk, rock, R&B, blues and jazz.

The show is part of a tour in support of her new album Balas Y Chocolate (Bullets and Chocolate).

The record, her 11th, draws inspiration from the Mexican Day of the Dead. Downs is fiercely political, and in her lyrics she condemns the violence and corruption that is currently engulfing her country. As described by her bio, the songs on Balas Y Chocolate “examine the erosion civil rights and justice, the still escalating threats to the country’s journalists, the excess in modern life, lost love and more.”

Downs is the daughter of a Mixtec Indian woman who left her village at 19 to sing in
Mexico City cantinas, and a Minnesota-born, Scottish-American professor. Having grown up in both Minnesota and Oaxaca, she has become one of the most innovative exponents of what is sometimes called “Mesoamerican” music.

When Downs plays Vancouver, she’ll be accompanied by her band, La Misteriosa. Together, they have won many prestigious accolades and boast a devoted following in North America and Mexico.

In the latter, her fame has grown to such heights that a species of grasshopper was even recently named after her. (Discovered on the side of a mountain road near Oaxaca city, the colourful grasshopper was named Liladownsia fraile, in recognition of the artist’s efforts to preserve indigenous culture, and as a nod to her brightly coloured stage attire.)


Perhaps not quite as impressive as having an insect named after her, Downs has also won a Grammy award, two Latin Grammys, and collected numerous nominations.

Lila Downs
April 26/Chan Centre (6265 Crescent Road, UBC)
Tickets: from $46 at or 604-822-2697

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