Lila Downs | House of Blues | International | Chicago Reader

Lila Downs 17+ Agenda Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Mon., Aug. 11, 9 p.m. 2014

Mexican-American singer Lila Downs has a powerful, soulful voice and creative ambition to spare, but on the new collaborative album Raiz (due Tuesday on Sony Music) she’s weighed down by conceptual baggage and overripe production—a frequent problem for much of her career. Raiz partners Downs with Spanish flamenco singer Niña Pastori and Argentine pop and folkloric vocalist Soledad Pastorutti (who’s also a film actress), and its glib, schlocky arrangements are Frankenstein-style combinations of bolero, flamenco, tango, huapango, and more; everyone’s repertoire is represented, but usually weakened in the process. The terrific singing is too often smothered by a calculated, overbearing approach that tries to cover every base and please all possible listeners. This is the first stop on Downs’s current U.S. tour; she plans to touch on the new album, but thankfully she’ll focus on older material and songs from a solo record due in 2015. —Peter Margasak

Price: $35

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