Pushing for Parc Lhasa de Sela

Lhasa de Sela

On Sunday, as Pop Montreal winds down, Plants and Animals, the Barr Brothers and Arthur H., among others, will perform at Dans la parc avec Lhasa, a concert paying tribute to late singer-songwriter Lhasa de Sela. In addition to celebrating her music, the show will raise awareness of one local citizens’ group’s continued effort to rename the park at the corner of Clark and Van Horne in her honour.

“Everyone agrees we need to commemorate Lhasa de Sela in Mile End, even if her art was known much more widely than just in the neighbourhood,” says Noelle Samson, a member of the Comité des citoyens du Mile End.

That effort began in June 2011, almost a year-and-a-half after de Sela, at 37, died of breast cancer. The Comité approached Montreal’s Bureau du patrimoine, de la toponymie et de l’expertise with the idea to rename the park. While their request was acknowledged, they did not receive an answer, and at the beginning of the year they mounted their campaign again, holding two tribute concerts, circulating a petition that drew more than 800 signatures and getting local businesses and cultural institutions on board.

“We believe the demand is justified because Lhasa de Sela lived in the neighbourhood, had her band in the neighbourhood, had her recording studio in the neighbourhood and was part of the neighbourhood,” says Samson.

Samson is also proud to honour someone who integrated herself so seamlessly into the community, going so far as to purchase a home in the area. And though the Comité had hoped Sunday’s show — which takes place four days before what would have been de Sela’s 40th birthday — would be a bigger shindig inaugurating a newly renamed Lhasa de Sela Park, they feel what they call a “mini-concert” will remind people of the effort to honour the artist.

“It’s just one more way to say we’re not giving up,” Samson says. “We’re continuing. We’d like this park to be named for Lhasa de Sela.” ■

Dans la parc avec Lhasa happens at 6 p.m. on Sunday at the corner of Clark and Van Horne

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