Born in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico, to an Indian mother and an Anglo-American father, Lila Downs was brought up in California, where she studied song and ethnology. Her flamboyant and nostalgic music is an unusual blend of traditional cumbias with jazz, gospel and hip-hop. Her songs deal with social issues related to emigration, racism and the plight of the poor in Mexico. As part of a duo with Caetano Veloso, she composed part of the music for the film Frida (2002), a portrait of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. She released the albums Pecados y Milagros in 2011, and Balas y Chocolate in 2015.