Lila Downs Concert!

Last night I went to an amazing show in DenverLila Downs, a phenomenal singer who you might know from the Frida movie soundtrack. My friend Gloria gave me one of her CDs last year because Lila sings in Mixteco and some other indigenous languages from southern Mexico (I speak a little Mixteco …) Lila was born in Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca (near where What the Moon Saw is set, in the Mixteca Alta region) to a Mixtec mother and an American/Scottish father. I knew I liked her music and her voice, but last night completely blew me away.

She was truly stunning—jaw-droppingly stunning-- wearing traditional Oaxaca clothing with a twist—embroidered huipil fabric from the Istmo (Isthmus) of Oaxaca with giant (and I mean giant) colorful flowers— tailored into a sexy, fitted strapless top and a low-waisted, angled skirt… and cowboy boots, which added a certain playful toughness. And her hair in two braids woven with satin ribbons and braid extensions that reached nearly to the floor—in the style of Oaxacan Guelaguetza dancers.

She danced onto the stage and kept dancing the whole time—beautiful dancing—a blend of traditional Oaxacan dances and merengue and cumbia moves and a bit of belly-dancing gyrations and some fabulous modern dance moves and animal imitations (mainly an iguana when she sang the song about the iguana. And what a convincing iguana she was, throwing herself into it, crouching low on the stage …)

And her voice! Her voice was other-worldy at times and earthy at others—her voice range was amazing—high pitched—a tone I thought only birds could reach-- at times, and at others, whispery low and resonating and deep. It amazed me that she could sing so dazzlingly and dance so dazzlingly and simply look so dazzling all at one time… and how she filled everyone in the hall with elation, put an ecstatic smile on every single face.

She was this exuberant embodiment of creative energy. I want to remember this when I’m writing—how wildly fun and colorful and sensual any creative endeavor is—whether music or dance or writing or wearing your own eclectic outfit. She also made me desperately want to go to Oaxaca soon—for a visit, but hopefully to live there again for a year or two (… it all depends on what my husband will be able to work out with his job… cross your fingers.)

I’m going to try to write more frequently on this blog. Problem is, on days I feel down, I don’t want to impose my blah-ness on anyone else, so I wait ‘til I’m in a good mood to write. But maybe I’ll write blah entries but make them as short and sweet as possible… and linger a bit longer on the happy ones, like this. Ciao for now!