December 23, 2001

Earthsongs – Lila Downs


Next time on Earthsongs: Modern Music From Native America, new music from Natay, Howard Lyons, Spirit Nation and our feature artist, Lila Downs.


She grew up in the mountains of Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, the daughter of a Scottish-American cinematographer father and a Mixtec-Indian mother who sang in Mexico City.

In college Lila studied to be an opera singer but dropped-out, followed the Grateful Dead for a while and moved back to the mountains of Oaxaca where she learned to weave cloth.

“While I was in Oaxaca, I was asked to translate from English to Mixtec death certificates of young boys who had left for the United States searching for work. Their relatives wanted to know how they died. It was so powerful, being this translator of their deaths. I had to sing about it, to honor them if I could.”

Today Lila Downs has three albums to her credit and has cultivated a devoted fan base through heavy touring in Mexico, South America, the U.S. and Europe — singing songs in the Indian languages of Mexico such as Mixtec, Zapotec, Maya and Nahuatl.

All this and plus the Native Word of the Day. More details can be found at

AUTHOR: Eric Marten
Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT)

Web Communications Specialist


(All Times ET)

Thursday 12/27: 10am, 4pm, 10pm

Friday 12/28: 4am

Saturday 12/29: 4pm

Sunday 12/30: 5am, 4pm

Monday 12/31: 5am

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