Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Too Soon

Singer Lhasa de Sela in concert in Stuttgart, ...Image via Wikipedia

I don't talk too much about music with most folks I know given that I have rather odd tastes and tend to be completely out of the loop regarding mainstream music. An example: I only recently was introduced to Radiohead...and was not impressed. There's no one with whom I can readily debate the relative merits of say Sukhwinder Singh vs Sonu Nigam. I know, I know. Blank looks, right? I am not even going to try and convince you to listen to my favorite Bollywood vocalists or gypsy brass bands.

But you might want to give Lhasa de Sela a try. She's been in regular rotation at our house for well over a decade since my friend Beth gave me her first CD. We were fortunate to be able to see her live when she toured following her second CD release and it was a thrilling experience. Her fantastic throaty voice, accompanied only by a standup bass, filled the theater and everyone in the audience was transported by her singing. Her songs might be Spanish, French, or English but the language hardly matters--you can't help but understand.

On New Year's Eve I introduced an appreciative friend to her music, only to learn that she died of breast cancer the next day at her home in Montreal. At 37 years old. Hers was a fascinating, free spirited life but it was way, way too short.

I don't pay a lot of attention to the passing of celebrities, but this one hit me hard. With only three recordings, it seemed she had so much more to offer the world with her lovely voice. I read that she'd been planning to record the songs of Chileans Violetta Parra and Victor Jara -- I would have loved to have heard that, along with any other project she might have been involved in. What a loss.

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Anonymous said...

We heard yesterday on NPR about Lhasa's passing. I took her CD to work and played it full blast, awash in memories and delicious longing. What a huge talent.

Anonymous said...

really she was not much of a singer