I was so sad to find out that singer/artist Lhasa de Sela passed away on January 1, 2010 at the young age of 37 after a two-year battle with breast cancer. I first fell in love with her when I heard her song, “De Cara A La Pared”. I listened to that song on repeat for months on end and to this day it remains one of my all time favorite songs. She had an unusual upbringing and life right out of a surreal novel. Raised on a traveling bus with her parents, singing in cafes at 13 years old; she was very much a troubadour in the purest sense of the word. She left unrealized a plan to record an album featuring the songs of Victor Jara and Violetta Para, singers of the Nueva Cancion movement. See her website for more about Lhasa’s life and projects.
I had the privilege of seeing her live ~ she had a way of telling stories before each song that created a sense of magical mysticism about life. One particular haunting explanation of a song, especially poignant after learning of her passing, was about when you’re a baby, you’re in this small space and you see a tiny light…as you grow and grow the space gets smaller but the light gets bigger and soon this space will be too small…as you are born, the world is so big, but as you grow and grow, soon this space will be small….
Here is my favorite Lhasa De Sela song, “De Cara A La Pared”:
Lhasa performing “Who by Fire” by Leonard Cohen:
“J’ arrive en ville”:
I know that Lhasa is in a new wide open space, because this world had become too small. My condolences to her partner, friends and family. She was an extraordinary woman. May she continue to inspire people through her beautiful music. This song “Deja La Vida Volar” (Leave This Life Flying) by Victor Jara is dedicated to you Lhasa: