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.

INTRAVENAL SONG by Diamanda Galás

Kategori: Allmänt, Diamanda Galás, Music, Wild Women with Steak Knives



This music is concerned with tendencies towards excessive behavior. An obsession, extremes omnipresent and encroaching upon the other, within microseconds, coalescing one moment and dissolving the next, towards an ultimate dissolution, which is the soul's own Implosion. You do not go to a hospital to inspire the recreation of your own Death onstage. You know it by heart. This need, this voracity for the extremes of consciousness I return to. An actor may simulate the desired emotive state through a skilled manipulation of external object materials, or he may use the raw materials of his own soul in a process which is the immediate, the direct experience of the emotion itself. This second concern is felt by performers who, not just professional, are Obsessional performers.

 In 1975 I decided upon the creation of a new vocal music which employs an unmatrixed production of vocal sound as the most immediate representation of thought. The primary concern is with the execution- sequentially, chordally, or contrapuntally- of different processes of severe concentration, "mental" or "sentient" states, for which vocal sound is used as the fundamental physical coordinate.

 A prechoreographed navigation through specified mental & sentient states, underscored by a subtext of personal and rather cinemato-graphic writing, determines the sonic/linguistic content/gesture. In this way, I immediately establish a contextual basis for the compositional interconnection among sonic & linguistic elements, an interconnection which, at the outset, is a part of the production of the individual materials themselves. During performance, I endeavor to move elastically through many different "states of severe concentration" or "trance states" with complete obedience to the rigor of each state, and simultaneously attend to the temporal demands of the macrostructure of the piece. . endeavors and concerns which reflect an obsession with the shared and unshared pleasures of both flagellant and flagellee.

Wild Women with Steakknives is a kind of bloodless and unmerciful brain surgery, a kinesthetic representation of the mind diffracted into an infinity of crystals... .the subtractive synthesis of mental entropy into various bands of absolute and mere schizophrenia.

Theatrically, this diffraction of the mind is made infinite through a ceaseless navigation of the following variables: physical body effort & shape; changing light series which are choreographed; vocal timbre chains; incremental change of room reverberation; manipulation of sonic spatial coordinates and trajectories through the use of four microphones sent to a triphonic sound system. With the exception of the changing light series, the performer has control over all of the above during performance. An obvious advantage of the use of multimikes is their service as a micromodel for the plastic performance space itself, also choreographed by the performer.

 About virtuosity... A vocal-timbral mapping onto this mental diffraction requires a huge repertoire of vocal sound at one's disposal as well as a completely elastic vocal ability, which enables the rapid navigation through these timbral elements. This is certainly not a new idea, but the absolute accuracy, the absolute detail I am referring to requires a virtuosity, a versatility with the instrument that has not been yet approached. The most minimal or the most maximal increment of timbral change over the smallest unit of time is required and, in many ways, resembles what is attempted in subtractive synthesis of white noise, wherein highly specified pitch/'timbre bands may be heard suddenly alone, in quick succession, or simultaneously. The question here is not one of a simplistic development of vocal virtuosity. Rather, it involves a redefinition of a most (cciurate sonic representation of thought via the most accessible, direct, and sophisticated music-making apparatus.


1Prefatory performance notes read at the conference on "The Oral Mode in Contemporary Art and Culture", Center for Music Experiment, UCSD, La Jolla, California, February 20, 1982. Perspectives of New Music,Vol. 20, No. 1/2 (Autumn, 1981 - Summer, 1982), pp. 59-65.


 Photo:Kent Strother