With a family background surprisingly similar to that of Lila Downs, Lhasa may well be the next Mexican-American chanteuse to follow in the former's footsteps.

With a family background surprisingly similar to that of Lila Downs, Lhasa may well be the next Mexican-American chanteuse to follow in the former's footsteps. Her Nettwerk America debut, "The Living Road," is a thoroughly intriguing collection of songs, almost all of which Lhasa wrote or co-authored. She sings in Spanish, English and French, and does so with a voice that possesses clarity and subtlety of expression. The opening track, "Con Toda Palabra," glides with the mystery of a tango, while the lyrics speak of love and physical intimacy. Lhasa's lyrical vocabulary is shadowy and passionate, couched in arrangements that are impeccably languorous. Observations like "I love a man/Who's afraid of me/He believes if he doesn't/ Stand guard with a knife/I'll make him my slave/For the rest of his life" ("Anywhere on This Road") are as frequent as they are splendidly incisive. This is a debut to cherish.—PVV

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