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Lila Downs delivered a powerful fusion of Mexican and American folk music. "La Cantina" (the Saloon), which draws from a Mexican saloon song repertoire, the 38-year-old New York City resident belted out barroom classics with a romanticized flair and profoundly beautiful voice that sent chills up the spines of an appreciative crowd.

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Una Sangre (One Blood)

La Cantina

1. La Cumbia del Mole

2. El Corrido de Tacha "La Teibolera"

3. Agua de Rosas

4. Tu Recuerdo y Yo

5. La Cama de Piedra

6. El Relámpago

7. Penas del Alma

8. La Tequilera

9. Pa' Todo el Año

10. El Centenario

11. La Noche de Mi Mal

12. Arboles de La Barranca

13. La Cumbia del Mole [English Version]


CD1067 / $17.98

Mexican-American singer Lila Downs, who grew up shuttling between homes in Minnesota and Mexico, caught the attention of the general public with her performance in the film Frida. Those who turn to this album for more of what they heard there won't be disappointed, but they may be a little bit startled by the rhythm loops and subtle electronic effects that weave in and out of the traditional instrumentation over which she sings this wonderful program of Mexican ranchera songs. Downs' dark, smoky voice is the perfect vehicle for these songs, which juxtapose the deep emotion of fado and mariachi music with norteño and tejano influences (notable especially on those songs that feature the legendary Texas accordionist Flaco Jimenez). Everywhere you turn there are deeper complexities lurking beneath the already complicated surfaces of the songs: the quietly wailing clarinet that follows the distorted guitar solo on "Agua de Rosas"; the ska-funk inflections that are constantly hovering around the edges of "Tu Recuerdo y Yo"; the dubwise phase-shifting effects on "Cumbia del Mole" (a song that explains how to make one of the more popular Mexican sauces, and which is helpfully performed in both Spanish and English versions). On "Arboles de la Barranca" the horns are over the top even by Latin standards, but so what? Over the top is half the fun. Very highly recommended. ~ Rick Anderson, All Music Guide

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