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Lhasa De Sela

Text in englischer Sprache verfügbar

Born in New York on September 27th, 1972, raised between Mexico and the US, and later based in both Canada and France, singer-songwriter Lhasa de Sela had an unusual childhood. With TV strictly forbidden in her household and much of her early life spent living in a repurposed school bus, she was encouraged to make her own fun, learning from her instrumentalist parents and finding singing to be an infinite source of creativity. By 1991, she had crossed paths with Quebec musician Yves Desrosiers, with whom she toured extensively and co-wrote a debut album. One of the pair’s shows piqued the interest of local label Audiogram, who promptly added Lhasa to their roster. In 1997, her first LP, La Llorona, was released mononymously, with Warner imprint Tôt Ou Tard marketing it to French audiences. Drawing on eclectic influences including folk, traditional Mexican music and gypsy jazz, the Spanish-language album rapidly drummed up critical acclaim, leading to Félix and Juno Awards for Lhasa and soon achieving platinum certification in Canada. After a brief period away from the mainstream while she toured with her sisters as a part of the musical circus troupe Pocheros, she returned with a sophomore album, The Living Road, in 2003. Unlike its predecessor, it also featured songs in English and French, and led to BBC Radio 3 honouring her with a 2005 World Music Award. Lhasa's self-titled third album, written entirely in English, landed in April 2009 and was nominated for a Polaris Prize. However, it arrived amidst a gruelling two-year fight against breast cancer. With her condition worsening, Lhasa cancelled her ambitious musical plans, which had been set to include a world tour and a cover album paying homage to her favourite artists, Victor Jara and Violeta Parra. She died aged 37 while at home in Montreal on New Year’s Day 2010.


©Copyright Music Story Luke Ballance 2021
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