Lila Downs (Mixtec) won the
Latin Grammy for Best Folk Album in 2005, for her album Una
Sangre/One Blood. She tours worldwide, and she incorporates
indigenous languages and popular singing traditions of Mexico
into her original compositions, which are co-written with her
husband, saxophonist Paul Cohen, and other members of their band.
Downs includes video projections in her performances, and has
collaborated with videomakers including Elena Pardo and Johnny
Moreno to create music videos and the performance video Loteria
Cantada. In 2002, Lila Downs recorded several songs on Eliot
Goldenthal's soundtrack for Julie Taymor's film Frida,
about the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The song Burn
It Blue from the Frida soundtrack was nominated for
the Best Song Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts &
Sciences, and Downs performed the song with Caetano Veloso at
the 2003 Academy Awards. She formerly sang with La Trova Serrana,
a folklorico group from Guelatao, Oaxaca. Downs received a BA
in anthropology from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
She was born in Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, a small town in the Sierra Madres.
Downs lives in New York City and Mexico City.
Screened by NMAI
Image credit: Lila
Downs - photograph by Elena Pardo; Lila Downs - photograph by