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Upcoming Events

Lila Downs Band

8pm Wednesday April 23, 2008
Dowd Fine Arts Theater
SUNY Cortland
Cortland, NY



The Lila Downs Band, whose 2004 album, "One Blood," won a Latin Grammy for Best Folk Album, will perform at SUNY Cortland on Wednesday, April 23. The Mexican-American singer and songwriter's show will begin at 8 p.m. in the Dowd Fine Arts Theater. Lila Downs will also present a workshop on Thursday, April 24, titled "Re-Imagining the Border: The Sociocultural Costs of Immigration." The presentation will begin at 1:30 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge. Sponsored by SUNY Cortland and the New York State Music Fund at Rockefeller Philanthropic Advisors, both events are free and open to the public.

On her fourth album, "One Blood," Downs, the daughter of a Scottish-American cinematographer, painter and Mixtec-Indian vocalist, received critical acclaim for producing what is described as one of 2004's most eclectic records. Her band, which consists of a Brazilian guitarist, a Cuban bassist, a Chilean drummer, a Mexican harpist and an American pianist, saxophonist and musical director, created a jazzy Latin sound on the album.

"Lila Downs' show is one of the anchor performances we envisioned as part of the New York State Music Fund grant," said Colleen Kattau, assistant professor of Spanish . "She is internationally renowned for her amazing vocal abilities and mesmerizing performances. Lila has first-hand experience with the sociocultural costs of immigration and became an activist around immigrant issues after serving as a translator of death certificates for family members who lost their lives crossing over, which makes her workshop an important forum for discussion about this contentious issue."

Downs and the band have toured extensively in Mexico, South America, the United States and Europe. Her own songs tap into the reservoir of native Mesoamerican music, and are sung in the native Indian languages of Mexico, including Mixtec, Zapotec, Maya and Nahuatl. Currently living in New York City, Downs grew up in the Sierra Madre mountains of southern Mexico in the state of Oaxaca and in Minnesota. She began singing mariachi songs at age 8 and started voice lessons at age 14 in Los Angeles, Calif. Downs attended the University of Minnesota, where she studied voice and anthropology.

After college, Downs began singing in the club scenes of Oaxaca and Philadelphia, Pa., along with Paul Cohen, a saxophonist who was also a circus clown and juggler. Their most recent album Cantina is a celebratory tribute to the ballad and bar culture of Mexico - fun even while lamenting ill-fated love.

For concert information, contact Amy Williams, sociology/anthropology graduate assistant, at (607) 753-4270. For more information about Downs and the workshop, contact Kattau at (607) 753-2025.