Photo: Malin Westermann
In 2019, I often listened to Radio Paradise, an internet radio channel located in California. They played “Is anything wrong” with Lhasa De Sela and I immediately became curious about this artist. I got to know her three albums “La Llorona”, “The living road” and “Lhasa”. Fantastic music and what a beautiful voice. My fascination did not diminish when I googled her and found that she died in 2010, aged 37. Lhasa’s music got a hold of me and I listened to her releases over and over again.
At the same time, my youngest daughter went through challenges in life after chemotherapy and this probably strengthened my relationship with Lhasa’s music.
I wanted to know more about her and often googled her name. One day I came across an article! Fred Goodman, former editor of Rolling Stone wrote the book “Why Lhasa De Sela Matters”. I just had to get that book and I became an even bigger fan after reading it. A fascinating, interesting and not least a sad story. Growing up, a life of travel, family life, how she created her music career and her illness.
In 2022, Spotify began reporting to its users which artists they listen to the most and how much. In my report it said that I had listened to Lhasa De Sela’s music for 197 hours in 2021. Considering that I started my journey into her music in 2019/2020, it has been quite a few hours.
In 2022 I was at a concert with a band called «Løpende utgifter» with Tom Staalsberg (poetry), Amund Maarud (guitar), Steinar Raknes (double bass) and Jarle Vespestad (drums). I immediately became a fan of this dynamic band and I really wanted them to join me on this Project. Unfortunately, Amund Maarud couldn’t find the time, but I persuaded Jarle and Steinar. I had a strong feeling that they could create the sound I was looking for.
It was a process to make a choice in relation to which songs I wanted to cover. There were so many I felt connected to. I had no doubt that the one song “Is anything wrong” stood out as the most important as it naturally carries with it an interpretation linked to Lhasa’s serious illness. Those who have read the book know what the song is about, but I’m pretty sure that there are several of Lhasa’s fans who think the same thing when it is played. We think of Lhasa’s short life and the intense love she had for life itself.
Jarle and Steinar created magic. I am so infinitely proud of what we created in the studio together with Åse Ava Lange Fredheim. Only two instruments were used. Drums and double bass. Steinar Raknes uses bow and finger play on his double bass and he creates an entire orchestra when he adds layers upon layers with his wonderful sounds. I hear church bells, a symphony orchestra and wonderful melancholy. On «Love came here» Raknes deliver a solo With his bow, that I am sure David Gilmour would have aplauded to. Raknes also sings background vocals on “Is anything wrong”.
When I listen, I feel that Lhasa would have liked this. I hope I’m not wrong.
I would love for this music to be played on the radio. Any radio station may download MP3 or WAV to play as they wish.