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- Posted on Jan 5th 2011 10:30AM by Jenny Charlesworth
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"When she passed away it snowed in Montreal for four days, which is why it's called snow day," Watson tells Spinner. "The lyrics are mainly based around how snow ate up the whole city, so I guess that's what I was thinking about when I first wrote them."
The dreamy lullaby itself is actually based on a song that de Sala had been working on with Esmerine harpist Sarah Pagé before she died. It seemed fitting to Pagé and the other musicians she brought on board, including Watson, that the instrumental number be reworked as a tribute.
"Sarah and I started doing the [final] version like the 14th or 15th of December so it was kind of a last-minute thing," says Watson, who collaborated with de Sala on 2009's 'Wooden Arms,' the follow-up to his Polaris Prize-winning 'Close to Paradise.' "We thought, 'Oh, it would be nice to release it on the anniversary [of her death],' and it kind of all fell into place at the right time."
After meeting at a fundraiser close to a decade ago, de Sala and Watson become, as he puts it, "close buddies." "We helped each other other because we're kind of polar opposites. She was always well-written and well-prepared, and I was always kind of spontaneous, so we always helped each other whenever we could and were always sharing songs."
"I'm very happy that people are going to download the song and think about her," he adds.
Listeners can make a donation to Ontario's Owl Conservatory Foundation in honour of de Sala through the 'Snow Day for Lhasa' website. Watson thinks the cause is fitting for the Juno-winning multilingual musician, who was named 'Best Artist of the Americas' by the BBC's World Music Awards in 2005, in addition to earning many other accolades.
"Finding the right foundation is always an interesting challenge, trying to put yourself into her skin to see where she'd want the money... I think the Owl foundation is great because she loved owls and it was an icon that was kind of around her."
"She was an amazing singer and an amazing friend," says Watson. "It's nice to know that the memory carries on."
\Watch a 2009 Duet Between Lhasa and Patrick Watson