Born in the United States from American and Mexican parents, brought up through English and Spanish, travelling during her youth around North and Central America in a converted school bus, then spending her time between Canada and France, Lhasa de Sela (1972-2010) was a true wandering artist.

Lhasa - La Llorona (1997)
Lhasa – La Llorona (1997)

“El Desierto” comes from her first album La Llorona released in 1997 to worldwide critical acclaim. At the same time, the song is emblematic of the style she perfected further in her two additional recordings: a deep and passionate voice singing original songs alluding to a wide variety of musical influences (American and Latin American folk songs, Mexican Ranchera, Eastern European gypsy music or Soul and Rock music).

“Her melodies are hypnotic”, said Canadian singer songwriter Feist in an interview with the New York Times in 2005, before adding:

And there’s something about her voice: you can tell her feet are planted on the ground, and she’s not even moving – maybe she’s just holding her arm out in front of her – and she’s just singing from the marrow of her bones.