Music to strike a chord with everyone - from Latin and Shanghai jazz to Indian gypsy songs FROM THE OLD jazz haunts of 1930s Shanghai to the deserts of Rajasthan, India, this year's world music and jazz programmes promise to transport audiences to unforgettable cultural landscapes. Mexican-American singer Lila Downs, famed for her performance at last year's Academy Awards and in Salma Hayek's film Frida, will deliver her unique blend of traditional Mexican tunes infused with contemporary influences of jazz, blues, hip hop and reggae. With a voice that has been called 'spellbinding' and a presence described as 'captivating', Downs breathes life into the immigrant experience of Mexican Americans, singing songs in Zapotec, Mixtec, Mayan, Spanish and English. From a neighbouring corner of the world comes the infectious music of conga king Poncho Sanchez, one of the most successful Latin jazz bandleaders in the world. His trademark sound is a fiery brand of boogaloo, a foot-stomping brew of Afro-Cuban rhythms, rhythm and blues and soul. Hailed as the Elvis of salsa, Sanchez has released 21 albums, including the Grammy award-winning Latin Soul. The energetic drumming, soulful vocals and contagious charisma of Sanchez and his band are certain to bring audiences to their feet. Heading eastward to northern India, the critically acclaimed ensemble Divana: Musicians and Poets of Rajasthan will serenade audiences with their romantic gypsy folk songs inspired by the nomadic lifestyle of the people of Rajasthan. Closer to home yet farther in time is All That Shanghai Jazz. Commissioned for the festival, the show will transport audiences to Shanghai of the 1930s, when the city gained fame as Asia's jazz hub. A retrospective of jazz favourites from this golden era, the programme also will include contemporary selections that reflect modern-day Shanghai's vibrant music scene and budding creativity. Dynamic lighting, video projections and choreography would complement the music, evoking memories of the old Shanghai style, producer Afa Chiang said. Music director and ex-Hong Kong jazz musician John Huie said: 'We are doing our best to give these songs the best they deserve.' Through the use of Chinese instruments and a talented band of young Chinese musicians and vocalists, Huie believes he is helping to develop the genre of 'Chinese jazz'. The recent release of Huie's album Shanghai Jazz by EMI, featuring many of these same artists, is a sign that the genre is taking off.