Spin (12/98, pp.174-175) - 7 (out of 10) - "...Her music is naturally itinerant: Klezmer clarinets ride over spaghetti-Western soundscapes, pedal steel coyotes wail outside a Brecht/Weill cantina, and radiator pipes clang over Spanish sibilants that splay like Tori Amos's knees..."
Personnel: Lhasa De Sela (vocals); Yves Desrosiers (guitar, lap steel guitar, saw, lap steel bass, accordion, banjo, percussion); Mara Tremblay (violin); Duane "Nervous Norman" Larson (clarinet); Didier Dumoutier (accordion); Jean Sabourin (sousaphone); Mario Legare (bass, acoustic bass); Francois Lalonde (percussion, drums, programming).
Recorded at Chez Frank Studio, Montreal, Canada.
Who is this woman, Lhasa de Sela? This wonderful set has no liner notes re: her past, but, since the music's what matters ,let's go with that. She writes & sings--with delicacy, passion and insolence--in Spanish. The music absorbs a truly dizzying range of styles & influences: tango, klezmer, flamenco, film music, Gypsy/Rom, Tex-Mex, ECM Records-style soundscapes and Tom Waits. Waits seems to be a big influence: check out the fractured tango/waltz "De Cara A La Pared." Mournful clarinets wail, percussion sounds like thunder in the distance and Lhasa's voice--versatile, tartly seductive in a bittersweet way--draws you in. The adventurous, especially those who are into world-music fusion, should get this.