Lila Downs (and pretty much the rest of the country) has had enough of Trump, and she’s sounding off on her new song, “The Demagogue.”
The Latin Grammy-award winning Mexican artist put her deep contralto to work when she premiered the tune at last week’s Rise Up As One concert, a free outdoor show hosted by Univision and Fusion, and held on the border of Tijuana and San Diego. Downs took the stage and held no punches as she called out the Republican presidential nominee in the lyrics to the new song: “He’s a bully, a salesman/Selling fear and hate/Who do you think you are? /He plays us with his hate,” she sang.
Downs, who was born in Oaxaca and raised between the U.S. and Mexico, has spoken out against Trump in recent interviews on Univision and the BBC, explaining that her music has always aimed to unite the two worlds she grew up in. Trump threatens that — and she’s not going to stay silent about it.
“We do make a difference in the U.S., and we shouldn’t be afraid to speak our truth. It’s the only way to demand our dignity as human beings,” Downs told Remezcla.
The musical veteran’s work has always been marked by its honesty and frankness. She confronted difficult issues in Latin America on last year’s excellent Balas y Chocolate, her 11th studio album, which tackled violence, drug warfare, and social ills. “The Demagogue,” with its 1960s protest spirit, continues Downs’ tradition of defending her heritage and denouncing injustices.
The bilingual version of the song is being released today as part of 30 Days, 30 Songs, a playlist of anti-Trump tracks that features music from Death Cab for Cutie, R.E.M., and more. It’s also up on digital services — check it out on Spotify.