The whirlwind holiday continued Sunday. We have been amongst more people than a jammed packed Las Vegas casino. Our home base in the U.S. is Las Vegas – no shortage of entertainment there. Those of you that know my background might imagine how underwhelmed I can be at attending a concert after spending many years in that rat race.
Every now and again there is an artist that speaks so powerfully to me that I will come out from under my rock and go see. But let me backup:
Last Thursday at the Mandalay Bay Hotel the 2012 Latin Grammys rolled out its green carpet for Latin Americas’ musical elite. The headlines the following day included, “Oaxaqueña native Lila Downs dazzles at the Latin Grammys.” Her performance at the Grammys was described as spectacular. No surprise there. We have been singing her praise for years.
And Thursday night Lila Downs won a Grammy for her folk album “Pecados y Milagros”.
From the glitter of Las Vegas last Thursday to the little pueblo of Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico in the same week. Lila Downs came to play here in her home state last night. And play she did!
Four of us made the 60 kilometer (37 miles) trek, Puerto Escondido to Mazunte, to see Downs play a FREE concert performance ending the three day Mazunte Jazz Festival. The weather was as good as it gets in the mid-seventies. We had dinner at one of the several charming restaurants, and then headed for the concert venue where we waited a long while in typical Mexican fashion to be finally highly entertained by Downs and her band.
We waited through a long setup. We learned the venue had moved from the beach where the weight of the towers was sinking into the sand. This was no small time operation. The kick drum checks (there were many) were felt like a punch to the solar plexes – quite moving!
We Waited, And Waited! – The Crowd Started Chanting LEE-LAW, LEE-LAW
As if out of no where – there she was on screen and in person!
A seasoned veteran Lila Downs is no newcomer to the music industry. She began her career in the early 90′s and worked her way to become the headliner folk singer and Mexican national treasure that she is today. Within her music and performance she often represents the struggles that indigenous people face in this county. She is perhaps better known for creating awareness and instilling Native American pride amongst her own people than for her commercial success but her star continues to grow. She certainly aroused the crowd last night with a nationalistic spirit.
Sound was Passion Power Packed! The Outdoor Venue Rocked!
Last night’s musical journey was a fascinating one. It was edgy and powerful, yet simultaneously sumptuous and at times dare I say mellow. In the end the performance was riveting, full of energy and the kind that makes you want to get up and dance; which many folks did. A great time was had by all.
We made the long dark ride home getting back just before midnight (a bewitchingly late hour for the Calypso Couple). We would do it again. Lila Downs is worth it should you get an opportunity to see her. Stay Tuned!