Totemism

This blog is dedicated to the first rate performer, singer and musician Diamanda Galás. Diamanda Galás (born August 29, 1955) is a Greek-American avant-garde composer, vocalist, pianist, performance artist and painter. Known for her expert piano as well as her distinctive, operatic voice, which has a three and a half octave range, Galás has been described as "capable of the most unnerving vocal terror". Galás often shrieks, howls, and seems to imitate glossolalia in her performances. Her works largely concentrate on the topics of suffering, despair, condemnation, injustice and isolation. She has worked with many avant-garde composers, including Iannis Xenakis, Vinko Globokar and John Zorn. Greatness exists independent of most peoples judgement or opinion. We only listen to the wise. The fools have no vote, this is not a democracy. Photos are published by the kind permission of the artist.

Angels

Kategori: Albert Ayler, Diamanda Galás, Music

Angels (Albert Ayler/Diamanda Galás)
 
This is a remarkable work. Trying to understand this instrumental and vocalise work by Ayler/Galás is a wonderful challenge, since there are no obvious points of references as it would be in a work with lyrics. Now, why is it so? Lyrics and music can be seen through each other, without their nature being changed, but with 'Angels' it is a different matter. You have to pay attention to something else. If I may suggest that the key is the gospel-like melody of the original work, we can get an idea of Diamanda's point of departure for her musical exploration. She sings the melody line in high notes with a full-bodied, steely and radiant tone. Her voice soars and rises, higher and higher as in a solemn lament. Maybe I'm wrong here, but find a spiritual quality in her singing, that connects her approach to the roots of Ayler's work. Her rendition of 'Angels' is like a straight wordless prayer, firm and steady as a rock. Sometimes the unadorned line is the most expressive. Her ability to float a line and to keep the rhythm taut is simply put, superlative.
 
Photo: Austin Young