I can’t tell how come that Lila Downs never was featured in this blog. Now that, at long last, I got hold of this album, I have no excuses. Because it’s so damn brilliant.
You’d be hard pressed to look for highlights here. Is it La Maza by Silvio Rodríguez, El día que me quieras by Carlos Gardel, or a Spanish-language version of Sodade? (By the way, I never bothered to look up the Portuguese lyrics of Sodade. Until now, that is, just to see what’s lost in translation. Looks like nothing is lost.)
Si tú me escribes, te escribiré,
Niña and Sole’s contribution notwithstanding, Raíz is unmistakeably Lila Downs’ project. I think that only she could get away with performing Que Nadie Sepa Me Sufrir in the rhythm of cumbia. And then, just for the hell of it, her very own Cumbia del mole in 3/4. Or is it 6/8? Even better, Zapata se queda switches back and forth between waltz and cumbia. Two more of earlier Lila’s songs, Agua de rosas and Tierra de luz, are also radically re-worked. Yet, if I had to choose the one song, that would be the opener, La raíz de mi tierra. No matter how many times I listen to it, it never fails to goosebump.