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Lila Downs: One Blood/Una Sangre

Among world music pioneers, it’s hard to imagine anyone who can equal the vivid eclecticism of cultural anthropologist Lila Downs. The product of a Scottish-American father and a Mixtec-Indian mother, raised in Oaxaca, weaned on traditional mariachi and ranchera rhythms and the songs of Woody Guthrie, educated in Minnesota, the multilingual 36-year-old’s kaleidoscopic history includes everything from formal opera training to a stint as a jewelry-hawking Grateful Dead groupie. Best known for her contributions to the soundtrack for Frida, Salma Hayek’s admirable biopic of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, Downs performed the Academy Award-nominated “Burn It Blue” before the billion or so global viewers who tuned into the 2003 Oscar ceremony, rightfully gaining an army of new followers.

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