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LILA DOWNS is one of today’s great ambassadors of Mexican folk music. For twenty-five years, she has brought her magnetic, operatic voice to twelve albums, earning four Latin GRAMMYs. She has a long history as a human rights activist both onstage and off, telling stories that touch on cultural and political issues, including a deeply felt ballad about the assassination of social activist Digna Ochoa. Born to a Mixtec mother, Downs preserves her heritage by singing in many indigenous Mexican languages such as Zapotec, Mayan, Nahuatl, Purépecha, and her original Mixtec.
Balas y Chocolate (Chocolate Bullets) is Downs’ eighth studio record, released on RCA in 2015. It continues her legacy of “full-throated mariachi singing that would fit right in at Mexico City’s Garibaldi Square,” (NPR) and features guest appearances by Juanes and Juan Gabriel.
ORKESTA MENDOZA is the Tucson-based project of Sergio Mendoza, originally formed as a tribute to Cuban mambo king Pérez Prado, but ultimately evolving into a unique and delightful concoction of ranchera, indie rock, and pure showmanship, led my Mendoza’s rich baritone.
Come early while the sun sets, and enjoy “generous handfuls of cumbia, merengue and ranchera — all fed through a psychedelic prism.” (NPR)