When: Fri., Aug. 26, 7:30 p.m. 2016
Born in Oaxaca, raised in Minnesota, Lila Downs is the perfect bicultural machine. Boleros effortlessly turn into hard rock, polkas into hip-hop, folk into electronica. If you’re not careful, listening to “Mano Negra” (from her superb 2015 album Balas y Chocolate) could turn you into a dancing Cossack within 90 seconds. The fact that Downs cleverly and organically blends past and future to create a truly original (and accessible) sound is perhaps her least interesting side — wait till you see her live. Her thunderbolt-like voice has incredible reach, at times a two-headed jarocho/mariachi monster, at times a magical incense that resembles a young Mercedes Sosa — no one does that guttural, center-of-the-earth wail better than Downs. She owns the stage, and is backed by a superb band, but this time, there’s an extra treat: the Guadalupe Dance Company will accompany her on some songs in addition to performing their own set (flamenco? folklórico? both?). Pairing the local company with Downs is a masterstroke deserving of a packed house.