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Baker's Dozen

A Tower Of Songs: Martha Wainwright's Favourite Albums
Elizabeth Aubrey , February 8th, 2017 10:25

In a revealing Baker's Dozen interview Martha Wainwright discusses family, love, parenthood and music with Elizabeth Aubrey. Portrait by Carl Lessard


Lhasa de Sela - La Llorona
She was amazing – just an incredible singer. I met her in Montreal when I was 16-or-17-years-old. She had just arrived from Mexico and she was from a family of circus travellers. She started singing and I was just starting to sing; we were in a Montreal band together as backup singers.

She went on very quickly to make a pretty incredible, quintessential album and became quite famous in her twenties – in Europe in particular. She had this incredible voice and this incredible sadness; for us, she achieved these really incredible things. And then she got cancer when she was like 32 or something fucking crazy like that and we watched her die. She wrote an album about it and she was really a very different type of person – she was very troubled in many ways. She was the purest artist that I'd ever met.

I remember when I met her she had already had a tragic life in a way, and there was almost something about her that seemed ill-fated. Her voice was otherworldly. My mom's music is much more grounded in the personal and her personal life, whereas with Lhasa, so much of what she was singing about I didn't understand, even after her death.