Magazine article New Internationalist

Border/la Linea

Magazine article New Internationalist

Border/la Linea

Article excerpt

(Narada World 72438-10265-2-6 CD)

After dropping out of music school and spending a period following the Grateful Dead, Lila Downs was back home in Oaxaca, Mexico, when a neighbour asked her to translate a document from English into Mixtec. The letter, from the US authorities, informed the neighbour that his son had died trying to cross the border - `la linea' - into the States. This experience of being what she calls an `oracle of death' underlies Border, an album dedicated to the immigrant experience.

With a background that combines opera training with mariachi music, Lila Downs has produced a powerful, heartfelt work that deftly avoids unnecessary hectoring. From the first bars of `Mi Corazon Me Recuerda', the strength and vitality - a combination of killer voice and solid cumbia rhythm - are irresistible. Using pre-Columbian and Mexican instruments with guitars, drums and sax, Border is, in lyric and sound, about the presence and human significance of Mexico's indigenous people. …

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