Soon This Space Will Be Too Small

Lhasa

For some reason, I wasn’t able to catch Madeleine Peyroux when she played the Rochester Jazz Festival in 2005, so I made the trip to see her a few weeks later in Toronto. My memory may be faulty but I’m pretty sure she was the opening act, which seemed odd since I'd never even heard of the headliner, someone named Lhasa. It didn’t seem odd for long. Madeleine was a bit rough, but charming. Her set seemed more like a rehearsal. The crowd was polite but then, when Lhasa came out, they exploded. It was a spellbinding show. Most of the songs were in Spanish or French and if I understood those languages I suppose I would’ve have been bawling, rather than just wiping a tear away now and then. The woman communicated.

After I got back home, I tracked down her album The Living Road and it has remained a special favorite. It closes with the lyrics, "Soon this space will be too small and I'll go outside." I can't tell you what she meant by that but I've always liked to think the 'space' she's talking about is your body. Eventually that container fills up.

I was online this morning and found this: Lhasa: Border Crossing Musician Dies. She had breast cancer. She was 37.

 

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Lhasa de Sela

I walked to work and heard about Lhasa one icy morning along the Erie Canal= that was on Morning Edition a couple of months ago. The sad news was that she had passed away before her time but the brief clip made me incredibly curious: there is a plethora of clips on the Internet about this truly unique multilingual, multicultural artist.
Please (please!!!!!!) research her work: after I sucked off the Internet everything I could get my hands on I could not get enough of her songs in French, English or Spanish. I liked her all-spanish debut "La Llorona" , even if I had to consult my dusted dictionary a lot (!). I feel kinda sad that I had not appreciated/known/recognized this incredible force of art while I could have. Now she is gone and all that's left is recorded music, but what powerful traces these are: please give it a listen and if you like what you hear- throw something out (THE LIVING ROAD!!!) on Mystery Train, will ya??
Another same such discovery for me was Vic Chesnutt: I had just discovered him on NPR's "Tiny Desk Concerts" shortly before Christmas when news broke that he had left this planet on his own schedule.
Mark, please prevent this and help me buy these folk's music while they can profit from the revenue.

Sunny days ahead in the rolling landscape of American Music!

Hey Holm!

I've put her on now and then, songs from the Living Road and the new one, which is excellent, but very slow and sad. She really was/is something special. I somehow missed the news about Vic. That's a shame. Love his version of Buckets of Rain. Here's to sunny days! :-)