Monday, January 4, 2010

Lhasa de Sela, 1972-2010

2010-01-03 - Press release - sad news from Lhasa de Sela's website.
Montreal, Canada: Sunday January 3rd, 2010

"The singer Lhasa de Sela passed away in her Montreal home on the night of January 1st 2010, just before midnight.
She succumbed to breast cancer after a twenty-one month long struggle, which she faced with courage and determination.

Throughout this difficult period, she continued to touch the lives of those around her with her characteristic grace, beauty and humor. The strength of her will carried her once again into the recording studio, where she completed her latest album, followed by successful record launches in Montreal at the Théatre Corona and in Paris at the Théatre des Bouffes du Nord. Two concerts in Iceland in May were to be her last.

She was forced to cancel a long international tour scheduled for autumn 2009. A projected album of the songs of Victor Jara and Violeta Parra would also remain unrealized.

Lhasa de Sela was born on September 27, 1972, in Big Indian, New York.

Lhasa's unusual childhood was marked by long periods of nomadic wandering through Mexico and the U.S., with her parents and sisters in the school bus which was their home. During this period the children improvised, both theatrically and musically, performing for their parents on a nightly basis. Lhasa grew up in a world imbued with artistic discovery, far from conventional culture.

Later Lhasa became the exceptional artist that the entire world discovered in 1997 with La Llorona, followed by 2003's The Living Road, and 2009's self-titled LHASA. These three albums have sold over a million copies world-wide.

It is difficult to describe her unique voice and stage presence, which earned her iconic status in many countries throughout the world, but some Journalists have described it as passionate, sensual, untameable, tender, profound, troubling, enchanting, hypnotic, hushed, powerful, intense, a voice for all time.

Lhasa had a unique way of communicating with her public. She dared to open her heart on stage, allowing her audience to experience an intimate connection and communion with her. She profoundly affected and inspired many people throughout the cities and countries she visited.

An old friend of Lhasa's, Jules Beckman, offered these words:
"We have always heard something ancestral coming through her. She has always spoken from the threshold between the worlds, outside of time. She has always sung of human tragedy and triumph, estrangement and seeking with a Witness's wisdom. She has placed her life at the feet of the Unseen."

Lhasa leaves behind her partner Ryan, her parents Alejandro and Alexandra, her step-mother Marybeth, her 9 brothers and sisters (Gabriela, Samantha, Ayin, Sky, Miriam, Alex, Ben, Mischa and Eden), her 16 nieces and nephews, her cat Isaan, and countless friends, musicians, and colleagues who have accompanied her throughout her career, not to mention her innumerable admirers throughout the world.

Her family and close friends were able to mourn peacefully during the last two days, and greatly appreciated this meaningful period of quiet intimacy. Funeral and services will be held privately.

It has snowed more than 40 hours in Montreal since Lhasa's departure."

Goodbye dear Lhasa


  1. What a fitting and wonderful tribute to the life and achievements of such a talented and interesting soul. While I was not familiar with her or her work, your post has stirred my interest and I will go about looking more into her life and work.
    I have been back in touch with a childhood friend after some 25 years (thanks to FB)to learn that she had almost lost her life to breast cancer and is now constantly in a life long battle to keep it in check. It is an exhausting battle of which I cannot begin to imagine the difficulties in coping.
    Thanks for your tribute to a fine and wonderful soul.

  2. Beautiful tribute to her hon!! Thank you and hugs, Sarah

  3. How sad that such a beautiful and talented woman died so young. Your tribute is touching & beautiful. I will definitely look up her music. Blessings....

  4. So sorry, Bonnie. You write about her as a friend, and she would be pleased by your sweet words about her. Maybe all that snow is a big last hug from her.

    xoxoxo B

  5. I can hardly bear to read about someone so talented dying so young. That she was so young comes first and then her talent, and to leave behind a partner and such a large family of siblings. It's almost unthinkable.

    We buried a friend this week who died of breast cancer in her early sixties, that is bad enough, but at least she left behind two children now adults to mourn her. Lhasa sounds as though she was still all but a child.

  6. How sad... may light perpetual shine upon her and may her family find peace.

  7. I'm sorry Bonnie, she sounds brilliant.

    The world has become not quite so bright.

    Love Renee xoxo

  8. Truly, I had never before heard of this person, but she sounds like quite the original (and talented) performer. May she rest in peace.

  9. Another young voice joins the choir of angels.

    A little piece of me dies every time I hear about another young life taken away by cancer. It is such a cruel disease, and robs so much from so many. We need a cure.

    My heart goes out to her family and friends, and to all those around the world who were touched by Lhasa and her music.


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