Continuing to exhibit the creative flair that has seen her become one of the most intriguing figures on the Mexican pop scene, Lila Downs breathes new life into some of her homeland's most cherished "canciones" for her seventh studio album, Pecados y Milagros. Produced by husband Paul Cohen, the follow-up to 2008's Ojo de Culebra sees the Latin star pay respect to her heritage with an emotive rendition of her home state Oaxaca's official anthem, "Dios Nunca Muere," and traditional wedding song "Xochipitzahua," transform Marco Antonio Solís' "Tu Carcel" and Juán Zaizar's "Cruz de Olvido" into stripped-back flamenco ballads, and showcase her impressive operatic tendencies on an inventive percussive reworking of Caetano Veloso's "Cucurrucucu Paloma" and a mournful take on Cuco Sánchez's ranchera classic "Fallaste Corazon." But it's the six original compositions that best display her talents for merging authentic regional sounds with more contemporary influences, whether it's the ska-tinged collaborations with Colombian folksinger Totó La Momposina ("Zapata Se Queda") and hip-hop outfit Illya Kuryaki & the Valderramas ("Pecadora"), the toe-tapping mariachi-led rockabilly of "La Reyna del Inframundo," or the cumbia-inspired celebration of her country's corn-grinders, "Palomo del Comalito." A vibrant and affectionate tribute to her culture, Pecados y Milagros proves that Downs' reputation as an artistic visionary is entirely justified.
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AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien