In memory: Lhasa

The incandescent singer Lhasa died at her home in Montréal on January 1, 2010, at 37, after a nearly two year illness with breast cancer.

We were introduced to her music in the mid '90s by a friend who was her manager then, and were enchanted by her power, humanity and beauty from the first performance.


She was a petite, intense, elegant, shy, mystical presence who completely inhabited her songs in French, Spanish or English.

Though especially treasured in her adopted home, Montréal, her far-flung performances intensified her gypsy aura; she was adored by many around the world. We will miss her, a gift to music and to life itself.

Lhasa, singing Pa'Llegar a tu Lado in Québec in 2005.


12 comments

Deja Pseu said...

So young, how sad. Her voice was so lovely and haunting.

Anonymous said...

Oh, she was so wonderful--she was truly haunting for both her voice and her songs.

Frugal Scholar said...

Thanks for posting this. I'd never heard of her, since I don't control the audio at my house.

lagatta à montréal said...

Yes, we are deeply touched by the loss of Lhasa de Sela. I never really met her as in speaking to her; have heard her singing in cafés and "especes culturels", and of course know people who have made music with her, interviewed her etc.

Lhasa was a second-generation hippie - her Mexican father and American mother travelled all around North America with the kids in an old school bus, home-schooled them. Her sisters preceded her up here as they were studying at a circus school (think it is related to Cirque du soleil - now there is a big circus and performing arts centre next to Cirque headquarters).

www.lhasadesela.com

metscan said...

I have never heard about her, but was immediately captivated by her unassuming performance; please, some more. So sad that she died at such a young age.

Duchesse said...

metscan: Lhasa de Sela, known as Lhasa, released three magical albumns, and won many awards in the "World Music" category. She was rasied by an American mother and Mexican father, along with nine siblings; early life was on the road, as lagatta says.

You can find a number of her performances on You Tube, and if you buy or download her music, enter an enchanting and moving world of song.

Frugal: Can anyone control audio for anyone else, now that we can listen to our own iPods? Perhaps 2010 is the year for Frugal Scholar's playlist!

lagatta; The photo on her web site touches me deeply.

diverchic said...

I didn't know about her. I love her honesty and full emotion. What a loss!

spacegeek said...

I'm so glad you posted... I heard her music this morning on NPR, but didn't know how to spell the name.

I've now downloaded (at least) one album from iTunes, and am looking forward to playing it in tribute later today.

I am sorry to hear of her passing.

Completely Alienne said...

I had never heard of her either but her voice is haunting; I shall look for more on youtube and itunes.

Duchesse said...

diverchic, spacegeek and Alienne: A bittersweet experience, to introduce her to you in this way. Still, I am glad you have found her. Had a note from her old manager today, saying what a wonderful woman she was.

Belle de Ville said...

Wow, 37 years old, this is indeed very sad. I always tend to think of breast cancer as something easily detected and treated, my mother is a breast cancer survivor. I forget that it can be so agressive.
I'm glad that she has left her music behind, it will be included in my playlist.

lagatta à montréal said...

Your mother was probably considerably older than Lhasa when the cancer was detected (no later than age 35). Alas I knew other young people who died of virulent cancers (different ones). In most cases young people have better survival rates, but often cancers can move much faster in the young.

Usually it is very rare, except for childhood leukemia, where a lot of research has been done and progress made.

But I beg everyone not to see Lhasa just as the disease that killed her. By her comments, she had no use for that reductive attitude. She was not a "cautionary lesson" that we must always live in fear; she was a creative artist. There is no evidence that she did not seek treatment when there was something wrong.