Lhasa de Sela has died
Official press release
For immediate release
In 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
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, andcountless 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.
On behalf of family and friends
* We will not be giving any interviews but we will be very happy to
receive your emails and testimonies