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Lhasa de Sela

Maybe it was Lhasa's unconventional upbringing that has given her such a unique vision, or maybe it was always within her. Whatever the reason, she stands as one of the most idiosyncratic Mexican-American performers, fully aware of the tradition, but putting her own spin on it. Lhasa's mother, Alexandra Karam, was an actress and photographer, her father, Alejandro Sela, a Mexican professor teaching in upstate New York -- Lhasa de Sela was born in the tiny village of Big Indian. The big family (Lhasa has three sisters, three half-sisters, and three half-brothers) was fairly nomadic and their travels took them between the U.S. and Mexico, traveling and living in a converted school bus. It was an arty life of music, books, and letters, but without the insidious influence of television, banned by her parents. Instead, the family was cast on its own resources for entertainment and that included nightly singing, where Lhasa developed her voice.

The family spent a total of eight years south of the border, where Lhasa grew into the local culture, before finally settling (outside the U.S. again) in Montreal, Canada, in 1992, at the age of 20. She'd visited the place the previous year and met Yves Desrosiers, a young musician with whom her initial work had proved so fruitful that they decided to collaborate on a full-time basis. The pair played locally, adding bassist Mario Légaré, and then toured nationally, garnering rave reviews from coast to coast, before beginning work on Lhasa's debut, La Llorana. A foray to the U.S. in 1997 to travel and perform with Lilith Fair won a number of fans, who were surprised by the strange, richly sensual music and Lhasa's smoky jazz phrasing. The venture was repeated in 1998 to coincide with the American release of her album, which had already been available for a year in Canada.

After touring behind the album, Lhasa moved to France, to work with her sisters, who perform with circuses there. ~ Chris Nickson, Rovi
full bio

Comments

RIP ~
I have fallen in love with Lhasa and her gorgeous voice through listening to my Nina Simone station. Needless to say Lhasa had her own station now. I'm in love with her haunting voice and lyrics and her dreamy delivery. She was an icon. I was sad to learn she passed away in 2010 of breast cancer at 37. What a great loss to music. I may have to write a movie about her.
☆ ° • . ♡'d
Have all her CDs and absolutely love her voice. My son introduced me to her music.
We got to experience Lhasa in Virginia and have never been moved in such a way as seeing her perform. I remember some of the best parts of my life experiencing her sound. Deeply missed. For those of you who may not know, a third album was released just after her passing in 2010. Check it out and be moved once more.
Woah... every hair goes up.
reyes.d
What the most amazing voices and wonderful performer…tr u l y missed her! Lucky I got to see her in NYC…she truly leaves in the hearts of those she touched. Her music lives on…only with 2 albums what an accomplishme n t .
Listen to her live performance on Lilith Fair. Sad she didn't get a chance to release more music. Loved how she smiled all the time in her performances , even the heart breaking ones. Was very sad when I read up on her passing. I didn't believe till I read multiple articles.
I first heard of her in 2001. Amazing singer and love her sound. So sad she's not around to make more beautiful music.
Exotic
mallove93mj
Beautiful...
I am truly saddened of her untimely passing. My French Friend turned me on to Lhasa. I am truly blessed to continue to know her voice.
Hermana mia..te extrano tanto...no tengo las palabras.
meismeok921
Her music is so amazing...th a n k s for making the world a little bit more beautiful, R.I.P.
redhen10
What a loss
chantal28
I love Lhasa and saw her in concert a few months before her untimely death. She is an incredible singer and was a fabulous performer. I miss her and think about the incredibly sad loss of life and talent every time I listen to her music.
i love lhasa,i cry everything i listen to her.
ME ENCANTA LA VOZ DE ESTA MUJER
Wow.... her hauntingly beautiful voice resonated with me since the first time I heard her... I looked at the comments to learn more about her but am very saddened to find she has passed. Cheers to those who enjoy her lovely voice.
misteedawg
I just found out she has passed ! how sad...what a wonderful voice
Lhasa died on January 1, 2010. We had recently "discovered" her music and love all of it. We miss her.
pranaluca
Im brought to the verge of tears every single time i think of her death. No other "celebrity" passing moves me that way. 37? Really? Died at 37? Just not right.
sandra.dika
I have not listened to Lhasa in a few years and I am also sad to find out that she has passed away. I have wonderful memories of listening to her music on headphones on the subway in Toronto.
aimbo510
I just yesterday found Lhasa's beautiful voice and extraordinar y style. To find out that she has passed on saddens me so much. I love her passion. I especially relate to her because I have had breast cancer. RIP Dear One.
RIP lovely woman.
mumosbombon
RIP! you are missed by all your fans!
I had no idea Lhasa had passed away and deeply sad she has passed away, as I just discovered her early 2009 and was taken aback by her unique and beautiful voice.
Is anyone "in charge" out there? As others have mentioned an updated bio. is needed- reflecting her untimely death 12/31/2009 of breast cancer at the age of 37. Stunning voice!
lclockridge
Such a fabulous substantive voice, earthy and rich.
Que bonito sonido y que lastima que murio tan joven...Beau t i f u l and creative.
longbros
I read Lhasa De Sala's obituary a while back in the NY Times.
Her bio should be updated. She died of breast cancer. I think she
was between 30 and 35.
Always loved her.
So sad that she just recently died at the age of 37 of breast cancer. What a huge loss of this beautiful voice and her musical creativity.
noralockshin
This! I have heard it a couple times in milongas but never found out who it was. Thank you Pandora!!

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