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Lhasa and DeVotchKa
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This project is funded by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.




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+ About the Performance
This program was recorded 10/06/2005 at Symphony Space.

We were saddened to hear that the remarkable singer Lhasa de Sela succumbed to breast cancer at age 37. Her performance at Symphony Space in the Fall of 2005 truly embodied our eclectic spirit, taking cues from Gypsy music, French cabaret, Mexican rancheras, and American country ballads. Listen to the concert here and find out why this explosive artist will be so deeply missed. Click here to read an appreciation from Canada's Globe and Mail.

The Boston Globe calls Lhasa "the ultimate global chanteuse" while the New York Daily News describes her music as combining "the lyricism of Tom Waits, the dark tones of Nick Cave and the sensuality of Kate Bush." Taking her cues from Gypsy music, French cabaret, Mexican rancheras and American country ballads, her music is explosive.

With violin, accordion, trumpet, tuba, sousaphone, theremin, bouzouki, piano and percussion backing the soaring and heartbreaking vocals of Nick Urata, DeVotchKa's sound is transcendent. For this special show, DeVotchKa play as a duo, spotlighting urgent and tragic vocals and classically trained violin.

 

PROGRAM

 

DeVotchKa
Charolette
Honcho
Oblivion
Gasoline
How It Ends
Polka
Leavin'
Sweet Heart
Mexican
 
Lhasa
Con Toda Palabra
La Frontera
El Pajaro
Small Song
Floricanto
Anywhere on this Road
De Cara a la Pared
La Confession
El Desierto
Pa'Llegar a tu Lado
My Name
Para el Fin del Mundo
La Celistina
Los Peces
Soon This Space

+ About the Artists

Lhasa de Sela
Lhasa de Sela - vocals
Mélanie Auclair - cello & cavaquinho
Rick Haworth - guitars

Lhasa de Sela (1972-2010), better known as Lhasa, was an American-Canadian singer and songwriter who was raised in Mexico and the United States and lived in Canada. Lhasa was born in Big Indian, New York, of a Mexican father of Panamanian-Polish-French-Spanish descent and an American mother of Lebanese-Scottish-Russian Jewish descent. Her first decade was spent criss-crossing the United States and Mexico in a converted school bus with her parents and three sisters where they were home-schooled by her mother. She started singing in a Greek cafe in San Francisco when she was thirteen. At age nineteen she moved to Montréal and sang for five years in bars, where she developed the material that eventually became her first album, La Llorona, released in 1997. La Llorona, which mixes traditional South American songs with original songs, was strongly influenced by Mexican music, but also Eastern European gypsy music and alternative rock. The album was released by the Montréal independent record label Audiogram and brought her much success, including the Félix Award for "Artiste québécois—musique du monde" in 1997 and the Juno Award for Best Global Artist, in 1998.

After touring in Europe and North America for several years, Lhasa left her singing career in 1999 and moved to France to join her three sisters in a circus/theatre company named Pocheros. She eventually reached Marseille, where she started writing songs again. She then returned to Montréal to produce her second album, The Living Road, which was released in 2003. While La Llorona had been entirely in Spanish, The Living Road included songs in English, French and Spanish. A two year tour followed the release of The Living Road, taking her and her group to seventeen countries. She was a guest singer on the Tindersticks' track “Sometimes It Hurts” off their Waiting for the Moon album, and later joined Tindersticks' singer Stuart Staples for a duet on the track “That Leaving Feeling”, found on his Leaving Songs album. She has also appeared as a guest on the albums of French singers Arthur H and Jérôme Minière, and the French gypsy music group Bratsch. Lhasa received the BBC World Music Award for Best Artist of the Americas in 2005. The accumulated worldwide sales of her two albums are nearing one million, promoted mostly by word-of-mouth.

DeVotchKa
Nick Urata - Vocals, guitars, theremin, trumpet
Thomas Hagerman - Violin, accordion, piano, guitar
Shawn King - Percussion, trumpet, accordion, guitar

Based in Denver, Colorado, but with roots all over the world, DeVotchKa has quietly become one of the country's most exciting and beloved underground bands. Named by Filter Magazine as “maybe the best American band you've never heard,” and with NPR's All Things Considered listing the group's “Dearly Departed” as one of the 10 best songs of 2004, DeVotchKa's unique and seamless mix of Eastern European, South American, South Western and American folk sounds have struck a chord. With violin, accordion, trumpet, tuba, sousaphone, theremin, bouzouki, piano and percussion backing the soaring and heartbreaking vocals of Nick Urata, DeVotchKa's sound is transcendent. For this special show, DeVotchKa will be playing as a duo, spotlighting urgent and tragic vocals and classically trained violin – a departure from the room-shaking rave-ups regularly seen at the band's last two sold-out Irving Plaza performances in New York City.

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