Colombia Artists Management describes the new Lila Downs album entitled "Balas y Chocolate" (Bullets & Chocolate) : " Downs has shared that the album was inspired by both '...the Day of the Dead offering and celebration and also from my personal dance with my partner's possible death.' While the lively sound of the album centers around danceable fusions of '...mostly cumbias, klezmer-like nortena, hip hop and pop,' the serious and timely lyrical content is a fierce condemnation of the current violence and corruption engulfing Mexico. Balas y Chocolate spotlights Downs' concerns over the erosion of civil rights and justice, the still escalating threats to the country's journalists, the excess in modern life, lost love and more. The title track is a dedication to migrant children, while the first single "La Patria Madrina" is a duet with Colombian superstar Juanes that pledges to passionately fight for the values of one's land and society."
Downs adds in another interview with "vivelohoy" that she is not ready to forget about the terrible things that have happened in Mexico. (which is exactly what is expected of all of us now - to forget) Michelle Morgante wrote in her review which was duplicated by La Jornada that this is a politically charged album, that the "...album lyrics are as much a lament as a call to action."
Downs feels the public needs to talk about what is happening in Mexico, she feels that Mexico is a sad and hurt country disgusted with current events yet still believes there are good people who seek a positive Mexico. And so from the condemnation of violence, injustice, and corruption which engulfs Mexico the question needs to be asked, will there be redemption ? And a clear distinction will have to be made regarding genuine positive change as opposed to more of the same saccharin promotional wizardry which we have been accustomed to.
Perhaps it is not too far fetched to interpret "Balas y Chocolate" as similar to the corridos Luis Valdez utilized as a vehicle to mobilize the Mexican farm workers of California back in the 1960's - particularly in this present era of media manipulation and censorship. Purists might argue that the music genre form certainly is different from that used by El Teatro Campesino and of course completely different than the earlier corridos of the 1800's, but the intent could be viewed as being the same. After all, art evolves.
By the way, Lila Downs will be in concert in San Diego at the San Diego Symphony Friday April the 17th, I just checked and there are still tickets available.
" La Patria Madrina "