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Lhasa de Sela

The great Montreal-based singer Lhasa de Sela died January 1 of breast cancer at the age of thirty-seven. Lhasa was born to an American mother and Mexican father in a small town in the Catskill Mountains. As a child in the U.S. and Mexico she lived the life of a nomad in a converted school bus (she had nine siblings), and as an adult she continued to travel widely, living for a time in Marseilles. Life, she said, is “a road constantly changing and, being on it, you change too.” Her music is trilingual, freely mixing English, Spanish, and French. I love it.

These are the lyrics of “Con Toda Palabra,” the song performed in the video above.

Con toda palabra
Con toda sonrisa
Con toda mirada
Con toda carici

Me acerco al agua
Bebiendo tu beso
La luz de tu cara
La luz de tu cuerpo

Es ruego el quererte
Es canto de mudo
Mirada de ciego
Secreto desnudo

Me entrego a tus brazos
Con miedo y con calma
Y un ruego en la boca
Y un ruego en el alma

Con toda palabra
Con toda sonrisa
Con toda mirada
Con toda caricia

Me acerco al fuego
Que todo lo quema
La luz de tu cara
La luz de tu cuerpo

Es ruego el quererte
Es canto de mudo
Mirada de ciego
Secreto desnudo

Me entrego a tus brazos
Con miedo y con calma
Y un ruego en la boca
Y un ruego en el alma

Here’s a quick, rough English translation

With every word
With every smile
With every glance
With every caress

I come to the water
Drinking your kiss
The light of your face
The light of your body

Loving you is a prayer
The song of the mute
The gaze of the blind
Secret nakedness

I surrender to your arms
Fearfully, calmly,
A prayer in my mouth
A plea in my soul

With every word
With every smile
With every glance
With every caress

I come to the fire
That burns everything
The light of your face
The light of your body

Loving you is a prayer
The song of the mute
The gaze of the blind
Secret nakedness

I surrender to your arms
Fearfully, calmly,
A prayer in my mouth
A plea in my soul

Lhasa, you will be missed.

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1 Comment

  1. What a wonderful singer! I had never heard of her but I’m now in search of albums. You are right – that voice, that presence, that soul will be missed.

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