Living Road

Living Road

by Lhasa
     
 

Perhaps the only thing that could keep Lhasa de Sela from being a star is Lhasa herself. With a breathy, emotive voice that cuts to the bone, a hip, pan-cultural sensibility, and an offbeat musical vision, her appeal to the Lucinda Williams crowd seems obvious. Except that Lhasa sings in Spanish, despite being born in New York State and based in Montreal (her second… See more details below

Overview

Perhaps the only thing that could keep Lhasa de Sela from being a star is Lhasa herself. With a breathy, emotive voice that cuts to the bone, a hip, pan-cultural sensibility, and an offbeat musical vision, her appeal to the Lucinda Williams crowd seems obvious. Except that Lhasa sings in Spanish, despite being born in New York State and based in Montreal (her second album, The Living Road, presents four songs in English, and a few in French). And she devotes as much time to her painting and circus career as to music, it seems --- her head-turning debut, La Llorona, appeared back in 1997. She is, in short, a less-than-conventional artist. All the more reason to savor The Living Road, whose comet-like rarity is mollified by a more-than-generous running time. Listen a few songs at a time -- you never know when her next album might be coming. Just a few songs are sufficient to draw listeners close to Lhasa's world. Unconventional instruments such as marimba, theremin, ukulele, and bass clarinet float around a thudding percussion section for an effect that recalls the later works of Tom Waits. Some songs invoke smoky tangos, others Mexican ranchera, others still the accordion sigh of European café music. Either way, the aching catch in her voice, the dissipated sadness of her lyrics -- from "La Confession": "I'm not afraid / To say that I betrayed you / Out of pure laziness / Out of pure melancholy" -- are a portal to a gloriously moody place. One listen to this dreamy travelogue, and the reasons behind Lhasa's stubborn trajectory come clear; it's the journey, not the destination, that nourishes The Living Road.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Sean Carruthers
Everyone knows that when you release your debut album, consisting of an assortment of sophisticated and worldly numbers performed in Spanish, and that album goes on to make a far bigger splash worldwide than anyone expected, the only sensible course of action is to...run away and join the circus? That's precisely what Lhasa de Sela did following the success of La Llorona: she joined with other members of her family, which always had a nomadic streak in it, and toured around Europe as part of a circus. Upon her return, she got to work on The Living Road, an album about travel, whether it be wheels upon the road, or through life itself. It's hard to say whether the experience of life on the road was the catalyst for the broadening of the writing this time out; there are songs in Spanish, French, and English this time out, but all three are languages that Lhasa was immersed in beforehand. Musically, it's a natural follow-up to La Llorona, drawing from many of the same traditional styles and blending them with more modern instrumentation into a very seamless, sophisticated, and sensual mélange, one that thankfully never tips over into the pretentious, condescending, or hokey. And then, of course, there's the real star of the show: Lhasa's voice, which is never short of gorgeous throughout. It's a fantastic follow-up release; hopefully, it won't mean another five-year wait while she hides out under the big top.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/10/2004
Label:
Nettwerk Records
UPC:
0067003037525
catalogNumber:
30375
Rank:
46956

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lhasa   Primary Artist,Vocals
Jean-Denis Levasseur   Clarinet,Bass Clarinet,Ukulele
Rick Haworth   Guitar,Pedal Steel Guitar,Electric Guitar,Synthesizer Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Bernard Falaise   Guitar
Juan Jose Carranza   Guitar
Claude Fradette   Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Mario Legare   Bass,Double Bass,Contrabass (Vocal),Acoustic Bass
Marie-Soleil Bélanger   Violin
Francis Lalonde   Bass,Percussion,Drums,Glockenspiel,Marimbas,Vibes
Jean Massicotte   Organ,Synthesizer,Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Theremin,fender rhodes
Ibrahim Maalouf   Trumpet
Gilees Brisebois   Bass,Electric Bass
Sheila Hannigan   Cello
Olivier Langevin   Guitar
François Eric Lalonde   Percussion,Drums,Glockenspiel,Marimbas,Vibes,Basse
LaLonde   Percussion,Drums,Glockenspiel,Marimbas,Vibes

Technical Credits

Lhasa   Composer,Artwork,Art Direction,translation,Collage,Booklet Concept,Artistic Director
Denis Wolff   Executive Producer
Yves Desrosiers   Composer
Francis Lalonde   Arranger,Producer
Jean Massicotte   Arranger,Producer,Engineer,Audio Production,Engineering
Didier Dumoutier   Composer
François Eric Lalonde   Arranger
Francois LaLonde   Audio Production

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