After picking up a Latin Grammy last year, borders-defying singer-songwriter Lila Downs just won a 2013 Grammy for Best Regional Mexican Album with her latest, Pecados y Milagros (Sins and Miracles), a brilliant synthesis of Mexican traditional roots and musical tendrils. Dubbed "Una Canción para Mi Padre (A Song for My Father)," and paired with an exhibition across the street in the Katherine E. Nash Gallery, the show celebrates the life and art of her late father, University of Minnesota art professor Allen Downs. A U of M grad, Lila Downs gained her acute multicultural perspective growing up both in Minnesota and her mother's native Oaxaca, where she heard many of the Mexican folk standards that constitute about half of Pecados. The album's simpatico originals, written with husband/saxophonist Paul Cohen (also leader of her international band, La Misteriosa), often deal with cultural identity and social justice issues. Each song is linked to a retablos-style votive painting commissioned by Downs, and each is richly embroidered with seamless mix of ranchera, rock, blues, cumbia, jazz, ska, and more, her maroon-streaked, multi-octave voice evoking a vast range of textured emotions.
Sun., March 10, 4 p.m., 2013