The Living Road

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Everyone knows that when you release your debut album, consisting of an assortment of sophisticated and worldly numbers performed in Spanish, and that album goes on to make a far bigger splash worldwide than anyone expected, the only sensible course of action is to...run away and join the circus? That's precisely what Lhasa de Sela did following the success of La Llorona: she joined with other members of her family, which always had a nomadic streak in it, and toured around Europe as part of a circus. Upon her return, she got to work on The Living Road, an album about travel, whether it be wheels upon the road, or through life itself. It's hard to say whether the experience of life on the road was the catalyst for the broadening of the writing this time out; there are songs in Spanish, French, and English this time out, but all three are languages that Lhasa was immersed in beforehand. Musically, it's a natural follow-up to La Llorona, drawing from many of the same traditional styles and blending them with more modern instrumentation into a very seamless, sophisticated, and sensual mélange, one that thankfully never tips over into the pretentious, condescending, or hokey. And then, of course, there's the real star of the show: Lhasa's voice, which is never short of gorgeous throughout. It's a fantastic follow-up release; hopefully, it won't mean another five-year wait while she hides out under the big top.

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