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Lhasa on Lhasa: Out with a Third Album

Posted by Margot / March 19, 2009

20090319-lhasaCD.jpgAfter a six year hiatus, Juno award-winning singer-songwriter Lhasa de Sela has produced a third album, the self-titled Lhasa, due in stores April 21, 2009. In between talking about people's affinity for kung fu movies and her moth-to-flame-like return to Montreal, Lhasa shared four tracks from her new album and opened up about its creation.

Lhasa's no stranger to the Montreal music scene, having released two albums - La Llorona in 1998 and The Living Road in 2003 - on the Audiogram label. After a somewhat brief foray in France, she's back living in Montreal, and is excited to share her latest project with the world.

One of the fun things about this new album's creation, she said, was the interaction she had with the other musicians working on the project. In the past, Lhasa has played with session musicians on recordings, and others when performing. This time, she's collaborated with four musicians - Sarah Pagé, Joe Grass, Miles Perkin, and drummer Andrew Barr - each contributing their unique style and musical ideas to the creation of Lhasa. On harp, Pagé provides the primary accompaniment on some songs - she adds a depth of sound that you can't get with a piano or guitar alone, and, as Lhasa said, there's a certain "gravitas and lightness" to the harp's sound that really adds a distinct quality to the music as a whole.

As an Anglophone, Lhasa spoke of the marked effortlessness involved in writing music in English - an effort that she was happy to expend for the first two albums, which were in Spanish and French. But after finishing The Living Road, she knew her next album would be in English. Even though she says her lyrics are just something you'd say "normally" or "every day," these new songs are nothing short of poetic, and are second only to the layers of music backing them up.

Since Lhasa produced the album herself, her references to other styles of music from the past aren't being reinterpreted by a person with a different take on how the style should sound, whether it's country, jazz, or 60s pop. As well, a large majority of the album was recorded live in the studio, sometimes using the first take as final product. As a result, much of the music comes across as real and honest, without the affectation of being strained through the various sieves of production.

From the haunting and ambient "Rising," to the New Orleans-style "Love Came Here," to the straight-up beautiful round melodies in "Fool's Gold," this album promises to be not only interesting, but well worth a listen. Look out for news about the CD launch, which will be held at Théâtre Corona in April.

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