Monday, December 27, 2010

In Memoriam: Lhasa de Sela

Lhasa de Sela: Anywhere on This Road


Lhasa de Sela, Lhasa to her fans, was born in Mexico and eventually settled in Montreal. She had, as they say, “big ears”; she heard everything as she traveled throughout North America and Europe, and it all became part of her sound. So one song might show the influence of gypsy music, another might sound jazzy, still another might suggest her Mexican roots, and all on the same album. She sang in Spanish, English, and French, and sounded comfortable in all three languages. The constants that made her albums work as coherent packages were the passion of her vocals and her musical imagination. Perhaps she would have made more albums if she had known how little time she had, but, as it stands, only three albums, made from 1997 to 2009, are her legacy. Lhasa completed her last album while battling her illness. She succumbed to breast cancer on New Year’s Day, 2010. She was 37.

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