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Lila Downs performed at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, last March 14.

TONY NELSON ,

Music spotlight: Lila Downs

  • March 1, 2013 - 5:12 PM

Lila Downs

Next Sunday: Fresh from winning her first Grammy Award for regional Mexican music album, this ornately voiced singer of traditional ranchera ballads and modernized folkloric tunes will return to her alma mater, the University of Minnesota, for what could be one of her most personal gigs ever. Downs is paying tribute to her late father, Allen Downs, a longtime professor of art and cinematography at the U. Her special afternoon concert, dubbed “Una Canción Para Mi Padre,” coincides with a new exhibit in the U’s Katherine E. Nash Gallery, “Allen Downs Life and Work: Winter Quarter in Mexico.” Lila richly applied the school’s anthropological lessons on last year’s culturally analytical album “Pecados y Milagros” (“Sins and Miracles”), which spent three weeks atop Billboard’s Latino albums chart and won a Latino Grammy for folk album in addition to the main Grammy last month. Downs is among the biggest music stars to ever call Minnesota home. (4 p.m. next Sun. $15-$150. Ted Mann Concert Hall, University of Minnesota, 2128 S. 4th St., Mpls. 612-624-2345.)

Chris Riemenschneider

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