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LATINA EXCLUSIVE: Lila Downs

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Thursday June 08, 2017

From Latina

EXCLUSIVE: Lila Downs on New Album & How the 2016 Election Impacted Her
By: Daniela Galvez

Lila Downs has blessed us with another album: Salón, Lágrimas y Deseo.

We spoke to the Mexican singer about the inspiration behind her latest album, raising her son, and how the 2016 election impacted her life personally.

Read it all in our exclusive interview below:

What inspired the name of your latest album?

Well, I think it was a little hard this time because I was really angry about the political situation in the U.S. I really had faith that the racists were not going to win, and so I think I was really disappointed and depressed with along with, I imagine, thousands of people who also had voted for Hillary. I gathered myself and thought, ‘I think I just need to make the choice of looking for songs that represent something like strength and maybe not confrontation, but yet some kind of a dialogue with the love relationship I have with both countries.’ I am constantly in love with Mexico and with the beauty of Mexico, as well with some of the ideals and the way of life in the U.S. However, I also am incredibly disappointed and saddened. My heart has been broken. I think what the album is mainly about, is having a broken heart, about who we want to be, and who we represent. Trying to find songs that somehow represent ‘the love’ and ‘the unlove’ – in Spanish we say ‘el desamor.’ The person that you fall in love with, it’s so passionate and so intense, but then the ‘unlove’ or the disappointment is just as intense. I think when we finished composing a number of the songs I realized that the album was incredibly feminine. I guess in the sense that it was from my perspective as a woman, and I think that’s really what saved me this time. Each time an album saves me through music and I am able to voice my anger and my frustrations and my dreams.

Your single “Peligrosa” is all about women empowerment. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

I think that it’s the notion that women are somehow dangerous if they’re leaders, if they think, if they have certain desires, and ambitions. It’s also the notion of looking at men in those same positions. Of course, they’re not dangerous; they’re just a normal guy. I think that it’s about those relationships that we had, that we’re not quite sure what we’re dealing with. I think that’s happening right now. I mean in government and in day-to-day life. It’s a confrontational time and it’s scary. At the same time, I feel like it’s a moment when finally women are really coming out and being more forward about the injustices towards our gender. This is really important. So it’s exciting and that’s what the song is kind of about.

In order to see changes in societal views, it’s important that parents are guiding their kids to grow up to be socially conscious. How are you raising your son, Benito, to not only believe in, but also stand up for gender equality?

It really is a challenge. My son goes to a very alternative school. He goes to a Waldorf school. I would say it’s a very hippie-oriented school. What they do is they go on little excursions up to the country. They don’t learn to read until they’re seven-years-old. We have a lot in common with the parents that are taking their kids there. It’s a very small school, so there aren’t too many kids. I have found that my son comes home to me and he’s crying and he says, ‘The girls, my girlfriends, are laughing at me because I like to play with dolls.’ It really breaks my heart. It really makes me think, ‘What’s wrong with us? Why can’t we get this part together?’…

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