Exploring and expressing Mexico’s rich culture has been a lifelong passion for Lila Downs. On Shake Away, Downs takes listeners on a journey that’s both intensely personal and vividly universal. Recorded in New York and Mexico City, the songs range from the pointed “Minimum Wage” to the mystical “Silent Thunder” to a cover of Lucinda Williams’ “I Envy The Wind” in English and Spanish (“Yo Envidio El Viento”) versions.
On Shake Away Lila invites a group of special guests, including the legendary Argentinean singer Mercedes Sosa on a duet of her song “Tierra de Luz” (Land of Light); longtime amigo Ruben Albarran from CafÃ© Tacuba joins Lila on “Perro Negro’ (“Black Dog”); and on a cover of “Black Magic Woman, Lila switches between Spanish and English with the help of acclaimed singer/guitarist and label mate, Raul Midon.
To bring her vision and songs on Shake Away to fruition, along with her seven-man band, La Misteriosa, and producers Paul Cohen (also her collaborator and husband), Aneiro Tano and Brian Lynch, Downs plays guitar and percussion. The band utilizes traditional instruments including accordion, harp and clarinet. The trumpet, trombone and tuba appear in several arrangements, bringing the sound somewhere between Mexico and New Orleans.
Though many new songs address the heated topics of immigration, political justice, and transformation, Downs’ vulnerability, compassion and humor are also clear, her siren song irresistible on Shake Away. From the Beat poet-style of ‘Truth” to the spare dolorous “Yo Envidio El Vento”– which is followed up the almost-carnival atmosphere of “Perro Negro”–Shake Away is a triumph.
With a voice that is varied in color and range, Lila Downs cuts a striking figure live as well – she embodies the spirit of her music with an emotion-drenched physicality. She will be on tour this fall in support of Shake Away (dates below).
13-Sep Washington, DC Kennedy Center
15-Sep New York, NY Town Hall, Mexican Independence Day
18-Sep Boulder, CO E Town Boulder Theatre
19-Sep Albuquerque, NM Globalquerque
21-Sep Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Bowl (w/Nortec, Michael Franti, & Ozomatli)
22-Sep San Diego, CA House of Blues
24-Sep Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom
25-Sep Seattle, WA Moore Theatre (support act: Leroy Bell)
27-Sep San Jose, CA San Jose Mariachi Festival (w/Linda Ronstadt & Aida Cuevas)
28-Sep San Jose, CA Plaza de Cesar Chavez
30-Sep Chicago, IL Harris Theatre