Lhasa de Sela

Interview : version Française | American version   

   © Gabino Travassos ( Mote )

C : I noticed that the public for " La Llorona " was very diverse, mixing lovers of jazz, world music, latin music, but also lovers of electronic and even gothic music, and " chanson nouvelle " . Were you surprised yourself by this rare and rather interesting diversity ?

L :Diversity is not surprising to me. Nobody can be only one thing. We can't live on only one food. I don't congratulate myself for listening to " pop " AND " classical " AND " electronic " AND " latin " music, I listen to what I love, what inspires or nourishes me…I don't feel I'm so open minded for having more than one friend! I do these things because I'm alive !

Also, these groups all seem completely illusory to me, two " jazz fans " can be as diverse in their tastes as a " goth fan " and a " rocker " ! Diversity is not the exception, it is the rule !

If I looked out and saw only clean shaven young white folks in uniform, I might feel a little bit nervous about it, but I would know that each one of those apparently uniform people had a soul different from any other, and an inner life unique in the universe, and I would sing to that, and that's all !

C : This site mentions some artists who were an influence on your musical sensibility. Are there artists or musical movements today which particularly attract you, or collaborations you would be interested in ?

L : CAMARON DE LA ISLA. His existence is a miracle.
I very much loved the last album of Beck, Sea Change.
I love Radiohead,
And a CD from the "Éthiopiques" series called "Tezeta", of Ethiopian ballads from the 60's and 70's.
"The K&D Sessions" by the DJs Kruder et Dorfmeister.
My musical partner from "La Llorona", Yves Desrosiers, has released a beautiful, sad CD of the songs of Vladimir Vissotsky adapted into French by the singer and songwriter Bïa .
The last album of Noir Désir.
I love very much the music of Bashung but his last album still scares me a little bit.
The wonderful Turkish singer Sezen Aksu, and another Turkish singer named Selda.
The greek singer Haris Alexiou.
A wonderful singer from Venezuela called Simon Diaz, most of all the song "Tonada de luna llena".
The Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter.
The Czeck musicians Marian Varga and Vladimir Merta. I would love to try to make music with them.
And Lauryn Hill.

C : You are very close to your family, and implicate yourself frequently in their artistic projects. Painting is also a part of your artistic range, although music is for the moment the aspect of your creativity that is most covered by the media. Are all forms of creativity complementary or are they very seperate ?

L : They are complimentary I think, but not automatically. Working in the circus taught me a lot about that; it was much harder than I thought it would be to integrate singing into a circus show. I also once almost worked with a choreographer to do a show combining a concert with dance…but the project didn't happen because the constraints of the song form were too restricting for the style of the choreographer. It is definitely not easy to combine art forms well. One person who does it very well is the filmmaker Almodovar, who often has a singer, or a dance piece illustrate or just enrich his story. I love Almodovar.

In my family there is a certain pressure to be creative, a certain belief that life without creativity is wasted. In some families it's money, or reputation, or respectability, or success. In my family it's creativity. We're a bit anxious, all of us, all the time, to produce some proof of our human worth. I have a joke with one of my sisters; what did you do today ? Oh, I woke up, ran a few miles, did my breathing excercises, worked on my novel, wrote a song, did some sketches, worked on learning Russian, had a breakfast of fruit and distilled water…but now I need to really get to work !

That doesn't mean we actually DO all of those things, but we really feel we SHOULD be doing them !

C : What are your wishes for the coming year ?

L : I wish that the album we are working on will be as beautiful as it can possibly be. I wish that the U .S. will fail in its plans to make war on Iraq and the people of the world will put their collective foot down and take care of this planet so that life can continue here. I wish everything will get better and better instead of worse and worse.

C : " La Llorona " is a very intimate album, inspired by personal experience. How do you move on from this very complete world which seems to resume your experiences, to a new project ?

L : I'm glad it seems complete, but it's not ! For me, it is a chapter in a book that has infinite pages, that can be read from front to back or from back to front or from the middle. Personal experience is a great mystery ! Even the past can still be changed, depending on our interpretations of things that have happened.

C : Do you intend to tour after the release of your second album ?

L : Yes. I've been waiting so long to let these songs out, now I want to sing them !

(Interview - February 2, 2003)

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