Of fabric and fabrication: Lila Downs’ refashioning of transnational music

by Gema Guevara


In this essay, Guevara argues that Lila Downs’ music persona represents an integrative approach between music, culture and ethnic identity, and thus provides scholars with an important site to study Latinidad from a more expansive transnational perspective. Central to this essay is the discussion of Downs’ use of the huipil, as fashion garment and as a metaphor, to explain her creative blending of ethnic identity and artistic performance. In so doing, indigeneity, folklore and authenticity gain relevance as she adopts and manipulates hybrid cultural and musical forms for transnational audiences beyond the confines of the national. That is, Downs embodies the politics of location and dis-location, immigration, crossing and transgressing borders that are also part of broader Latina/o experience.

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Gema Guevara

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Latino Studies






Indigenous, Latin American, Latinx, Music

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