Lila Downs

SXSW Showcase Reviews

Live Shots
Photo by Jana Birchum

Lila Downs

Speakeasy, Wednesday, March 14

You know it's a good party when the singer swigs from a bottle of tequila, then balances it on top of her head. Oaxaca, Mexico, siren Lila Downs brought with her no small sense of drama from our neighbor to the south, heralded upon her entrance by the cheers of an adoring audience and the horn section from Grupo Fantasma. Downs' creative mission is to represent indigenous and contemporary Mexican culture to the masses; as such, the set list included the gorgeous "El Palomo del Comalito," a celebration of the corn-grinding women of Oaxaca, which commences with Downs emulating a pan flute in its highest ranges. Later, Downs intoned, "I am the queen of the underground, a tombstone is my crown," before kicking off "La Reina del Inframundo," a dark yet festive reflection on the drug violence in contemporary Mexico. She then transitioned, con mucha lágrima, to "Cucurrucucú Paloma," brought to prominence in 1965 by Lola Beltrán and previously interpreted by the likes of Pedro Infante, Caetano Veloso, and Joan Baez. Of course, historical context isn't all that important in the heat of the fiesta, which was in full swing all the way to the closing strains of "La Cumbia de Mole," Downs' musical shout-out to her home state.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Friday Showcases
Friday Showcases
Korea, Japan, Spain, Africa – see the world from single showcases

March 20, 2015

Saturday Interview
Saturday Interview

Kevin Curtin, March 20, 2015

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Melanie Haupt
Desert Door Distillery Rolls Out Large Hand Sanitizer Production
Desert Door Distillery Rolls Out Large Hand Sanitizer Production
Local sotol makers offer the critical commodity free of cost

March 20, 2020

Tibetan Dumplings Shine at Yak & Yeti in Cedar Park
Tibetan Dumplings Shine at Yak & Yeti in Cedar Park
Dishes for sharing (or not) at this tiny Nepalese restaurant

Feb. 14, 2020


Lila Downs

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle