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Lhasa de Sela 1972-2010 | reviews, news & interviews

Lhasa de Sela 1972-2010

Lhasa de Sela 1972-2010

A tribute to an extraordinary talent who died too soon

Lhasa de Sela: 'Honesty is one of the most exciting things in the world'

The singer Lhasa de Sela passed away from breast cancer in her Montreal home on 1 January just before midnight, at the age of 37. Since this news emerged my email box has had numerous messages about this tragic loss, including from theartsdesk critic Robert Sandall who wrote about her “extraordinary talent, amazing life… a total original, a real artist”, and adds a note below this article. Howard Male said, “The Living Road is one of the truly great albums in any genre, in my opinion.”  While never forming a conventional career, her three albums La Llorona, The Living Road and the self-titled Lhasa managed to sell more than a million copies between them.

We are all waiting for permission to be who we are, for someone to tell us we can be real

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Lhasa was American, not Canadian.

Thanks - I corrected the piece where I'd descibed her as "Mexican-Canadian", which is how I'm fairly sure is how she described herself to me. Her father is Mexican, her mother American and she was born in Big Indian in New York state, but spent a lot of her childhood in Mexico before settling in Montreal aged 19.

Her voice is a gift from the gods, yet I cry every time I hear it. She speaks to desires and fears I hide from the world, and I am defenceless against this truth-telling. It pierces the heart while caressing the soul. What beauty, what utter beauty.

Only last week did I find out the devastating news. She had so much to give but now cannot give anymore. And that hurts. Thank you guys for the excellent articles which I will treasure with her music. Don't know when I will be ready to hear 'Lhasa' again. I just break down every time I hear the lines: You could lean your head down And rest it on my knee You could tell me a story That does not end this way Adieu, Lhasa!

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