As many of you know, Lhasa died of breast cancer last weekend. She was 37 years old.
Considering how inspirational she was to so many people around the world (and to so many other singers here in Canada) her death at such a young age seems inexplicably cruel.
Here's a very fine tribute from U.K. writer Peter Culshaw that combines an interview that he did with the singer back in 2004 with some added comments by another writer Robert Sandall. It offers a glimpse at how Lhasa thought about her music, her nomadic upbringing, her life in Montreal, the circus influence of her three sisters, and the changes she went through after the unexpected success of her first recording.
Make no mistake, when Lhasa's first album "La Llorona" was released in 1997, no one imagined this ethereal sounding record, by an unknown artist, that referenced Aztec mythology and was sung entirely in Spanish, would sell a few hundred thousand copies. Especially one that was actually made in Canada.
I can't say I realized it at the time, but given how the DNA of our country has been so defined by the neverending debate between English and French (our two dreary solitudes), Lhasa's music, what the Guardian called her "21st century songs of enchantment", was a welcome sign of something entirely new and different and very healthy going on.
She will be missed.