Montreal chanteuse Lhasa honoured in Vancouver premiere of Danse Lhasa Danse

Coup-de-Coeur 2011

Danse Lhasa Dansers Roxanne Duchesne-Roy and Rocky Gagné. Credit: Jean-François Leblanc

Just over three years ago, Montreal lost one of its best husky-voiced torch singers: Lhasa de Sela. Known professionally as Lhasa, her music had a gypsy quality to it – loaded with Spanish, French and English lyrics paired with klezmer, Mexican folk and middle eastern rhythms.

After a 21-month long fight with breast cancer, 37-year old Lhasa’s gravelly, passionate voice stopped on January 1, 2010. Her sudden absence from Canada’s world music and folk circles was and is felt. During her too-short career Lhasa’s awards included a Juno, a Felix and a BBC World Music award.

Lhasa left behind her legions of fans and three albums – La Llorona, The Living Road and Lhasa.

On January 18, Vancouver Lhasa and dance fans alike will be treated to Danse Lhasa Danse courtesy of the Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC and the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. A tribute to Lhasa’s music, Danse Lhasa Danse features seven dancers, four singers, and five instrumentalists together on one stage. The evening combines concert and dance performance, alongside poignant audio clips of Lhasa herself and is a powerful tribute for the world music dynamo. 

Montreal-based choreographer Pierre-Paul Savoie collaborated with a number of visual artists, dancers, and musicians (including the members of Lhasa’s original band), to make Danse Lhasa Danse a reality. Peformed previously throughout Quebec and recently in Toronto, this will be the first time Danse Lhasa Danse comes to a West Coast stage. The work is a co-production by Savoie’s PPS Danse and Coup de Coeur francophone.

“I have personally been moved by Lhasa’s music over the years, particularly after seeing her perform live,” said Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre. “I applaud Pierre-Paul’s commitment to extending Lhasa’s luminous career trajectory posthumously through the development of Danse Lhasa Danse.”

Danse Lhasa Danse starts at 8:00 p.m., January 18. Those looking to learn a bit more about Lhasa’s life and career plus the choreography process behind the show are invited to attend a pre-show lecture at 7:15 p.m. by Savoie. The lecture is free to Danse Lhasa Danse ticket holders.

Tickets for Danse Lhasa Danse start at $36 and can be purchased by phone 1.855.985.(ARTS) 2787, or online at www.ticketmaster.ca.

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