Lila Downs

Border (La Linea)

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Lila Downs' second release for Narada World reflects her continuing fascination with Mexican-American border culture. Considering her own mixed heritage (she is the child of a Mixtec Indian and an American), Downs has a special interest here, and it shows in the emotional, directed singing of Border (La Linea). On the first few tracks, Downs' thick, throaty voice is on a par with the Latina pioneers Lola Beltran or Toña La Negra, but she also displays an enviable range, switching over to thewail of a Mexican countrywoman on "Sale Sobrando" and "Cumbia Maya," then to the pure, heartfelt sound of American country for the moving "Pastures of Plenty/This Land Is Your Land." Though non-Spanish speaking listeners may not understand the themes Lila Downs deals with, the plangent tones of her voice are reason enough to enjoy Border (La Linea).

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