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Diamanda Galas


Diamanda Galás, possessor of a four octave vocal range and an urgent need to awake the morally dead or sleeping, has gleaned many epithets from those wishing to understand or decry her uniquely important body of work. "Bride of Satan", "Diva of Disease", "Black Rose of the Avant Garde" are but a few. "I'm not interested in convincing people like that that I'm not a sinner," she has said of her Right-wing, reactionary critics. "I'm very glad that they think that. I consider it a mark of absolute flattery, of absolute respect. And then I can see that the only resolution is to say, "If you think I wear the cloak of filth, then let me tell you baby, I wear it real good."

But far from advocating hedonism, Galás first rose to international prominence with her three album 'Plague Mass', originally titled 'Masque Of The Red Death' after Edgar Allen Poe's inspirational story, a requiem for those dead and dying of AIDS. Described as "the first, last and possibly only musical word of AIDS", the trilogy constituted a massive statement - part investigation, part scathing moral critique on the politics, theology and sociology of the plague mentality surrounding AIDS. Galás drew on religious texts, in particular the Old Testament, for the opening 'The Divine Punishment'; the poems of French Catholic Charles Baudelaire for the following 'The Saint Of The Pit', and finally, the gospel spirituals of black slaves powered her vision on the final 'You Must Be Certain Of The Devil', wherein Diamanda firmly indicted Middle America as the home of Satan in the form of bigotry, hypocrisy and benightedness. "The devil here is not some abstract, gothic figure," she said. "He is, in my definition, the coward, the man who is spiritually impotent, the homophobe, the wilfully blind, the deserter." If the cloak fits...
...from diamandagalas.com

. You Must Be Certain Of The Devil (1988)

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  1. Swing Low Sweet Chariot
  2. Double-Barrel Prayer
  3. Let's Not Chat About Despair
  4. Birds of Death
  5. You Must Be Certain of The Devil
  6. Let My People Go
  7. Malediction
  8. The Lord Is My Shepherd
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The Divine Punishment&Saint Of The Pit

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Saint of the Pit (1986) (Mute)
  1. La Trezičme Revient [The Thirteenth Returns]
  2. Deliver Me
  3. L'Heautontimioroumenos (1857) [Self-Tormentor]
  4. Artémis (1854)
  5. Cris D'Aveugle (1873) [Blind Man's Cry]
Divine Punishment (1986) (Mute)
  1. Deliver Me From Mine Enemies
  2. This is the law of the Plague
  3. Deliver Me From Mine Enemies
  4. We shall not accept your Quarentine
  5. Deliver Me.
  6. Yiati O Ozoe
  7. Psalm 22
  8. Free Among the Dead
  9. Psalm 88
  10. Lamentations
  11. Sono L'Antichristo
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The Litanies Of Satan (1982)

Diamanda's first recorded work was 1982's 'The Litanies Of Satan', (subsequently re-released by Mute in 1989) which incorporated a text by Charles Baudelaire in the original French. "I like Baudelaire and the Bible because they share a liturgical quality - it's the difference between merely desiring to speak and the need to speak, to unburden yourself," she explained. The use of foreign language was also important: "French is the most important for me. It's not my first language so it allows me to be committed to the sound, not the meaning. Foreign languages belong to a part of me that English can't inhabit." The record imparted a sense of impending doom, a doom which has already settled on the thoughts of the individual at the heart of her next work, 'Panoptikon'. Inspired by an 1843 design by Jeremy Bentham for a maximum-security prison, 'Panoptikon' is written from the prisoner's point of view, and becomes a shriek of horror at the prospect of imminent death and a prayer for deliverance. Jack Henry Abbot's prison writings In The Belly Of The Beast informed Galás' thinking on the hell of prison life, and she dedicated the work to him. Abbot, a virtual life-long inmate of such brutal penal institutions, had been made acause celebre by the writer Norman Mailer, after he had received Abbot's unsolicited letters as vital information for his book on Gary Gilmoure, The Executioner's Song. Mailer had Abbot's writings published as In The Belly Of The Beast, and campaigned for his release, a move that seriously backfired when, upon his first days of freedom, Abbot stabbed a New York waiter to death. The album of 'Panoptikon' came out before the incident sealed Abbot's fate, carrying the dedication. It was as much about the harrowing insight and streak of insanity that coursed through Abbot's book as it was about a more general air of paranoid claustrophobia, in Diamanda's words, a "Spiritual situation we carry inside ourselves," the behavioural and attitudinal conditioning impressed upon each individual from birth onwards.

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The Litanies of Satan (1982)

  1. The Litanies of Satan
  2. Wild Women With Steaknives
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Malediction And Prayer(1998)

Diamanda Galas - Malediction And Prayer (Asphodel) This collection of live vocal/piano offerings forms a snapshot of Diamanda Galas' ongoing tour of the same name. It also showcases her astonishingly emotive voice, which still makes the case that Galas is a somber, post-punk hybrid of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. Dark, rich and husky, her voice howls and whoops over a selection of songs made famous by Holiday, Johnny Cash, The Supremes, Willie Dixon and B.B. King as well as her own musical interpretations of writings by French poet Baudelaire, Italian filmmaker/ writer Pasolini and Salvadoran Miguel Mixco. In keeping with her reputation for ceaselessly highlighting the plight of AIDS sufferers, the songs are intense and hammer-heavy with the tick-tock of human mortality. On occasion, the sheer power of her voice welds to the ferocity of her piano playing, leaving you speechless, dumb and impossibly sad. This is the real blues: honest, uncomfortable, truthful, upsetting, passionate. Galas never lets the tension drop, never offers an emotional coffee break and, by the end, overwhelms you with the sorrow that she drags around. Beautiful songs, beautiful singing, beautiful woman.
[Asphodel, POB 51, Chelsea Sta, NYC 10113]
--Nick Johnstone

  1. Iron Lady
  2. The Thrill Is Gone
  3. My World Is Empty Without You
  4. Abel et Cain
  5. Death Letter
  6. Supplica a Mia Madre
  7. Insane Asylum
  8. Si La Muerte
  9. 25 Minutes To Go
  10. Keigome Keigome
  11. I'm Gonna Live The Life
  12. Gloomy Sunday
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Scheri X Live (1996)

'Schrei X Live/Schrei 27', was released on September 23, 1996. Based on her 1994 radio work 'Schrei 27', which consisted of several short performances over the space of 27 minutes, 'Schrei X' alternates extreme high-energy vocal work with absolute silence. The work takes place in darkness, and uses texts from Galás, Job and Thomas Aquinas. The performances are chapter of a confession which might have been induced through a chemical or mechanical manipulation of the brain. There is a high density of speech-sound over time which is often machine-like in it's velocity. The work employs the atypical speech and vocal signal processing that Diamanda has been researching since 1979.

--Schrei X Live--

  1. Do Room
  2. I-- I Am-- Dreams
  3. M Dis I
  4. O.P.M.
  5. Abasement
  6. Headbox
  7. Cunt
  8. Hepar
  9. Coitum
  10. Vein
  11. M Dis II
  12. Smell
  13. Hee Shock Die
--Schrei 27--
  1. Do Room
  2. I I
  3. M Dis I
  4. O.P.M.
  5. Headbox
  6. Cunt
  7. Hepar
  8. Vein
  9. M Dis II
  10. Smell
  11. Hee Shock Die
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The Sporting Life (1994)
  1. Skótoseme
  2. Do You Take This Man?
  3. Dark End Of The Street
  4. You're Mine
  5. Tony
  6. Devil's Rodeo
  7. The Sporting Life
  8. Baby's Insane
  9. Last Man Down
  10. Hex
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Vena Cava (1993)

In February 1992, 'Vena Cava' had its world premiere at the Kitchen in New York City. The piece explores the destruction of the mind throughout the related illnesses of clinical depression and AIDS dementia, and was created as an intimate companion piece to the large-scale 'Plague Mass', and Galás was awarded Ford Foundation and Meet the Composer grants to work on both.


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  1. (Track #1)
  2. (Track #2) 4:54
  3. (Track #3) 6:22
  4. (Track #4) 10:25
  5. (Track #5) 7:30
  6. (Track #6) 1:46
  7. (Track #7) 14:24
  8. (Track #8) 3:12
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The Singer (1992)

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  1. My Love Will Never Die
  2. Reap What You Sow
  3. Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?
  4. Gloomy Sunday
  5. Balm In Gilead/Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  6. Insane Asylum
  7. I Put A Spell On You
  8. Let My People Go
  9. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
  10. Judgement Day
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Plague Mass (1991)

  1. There Are No More Tickets to the Funeral
  2. This Is The Law of the Plague
  3. I Wake Up and I See the Face of The Devil
  4. Confessional (Give Me Sodomy or Give Me Death)
  5. How Shall Our Judgement Be Carried Out Upon the Wicked?
  6. Let Us Praise the Masters of Slow Death
  7. Consecration
  8. Sono L'Antichristo
  9. Chris D'Aveugle
  10. Let My People Go
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Masque Of The Red Death (1989)

But far from advocating hedonism, Galás first rose to international prominence with her three album 'Plague Mass', originally titled 'Masque Of The Red Death' after Edgar Allen Poe's inspirational story, a requiem for those dead and dying of AIDS. Described as "the first, last and possibly only musical word of AIDS", the trilogy constituted a massive statement - part investigation, part scathing moral critique on the politics, theology and sociology of the plague mentality surrounding AIDS. Galás drew on religious texts, in particular the Old Testament, for the opening 'The Divine Punishment'; the poems of French Catholic Charles Baudelaire for the following 'The Saint Of The Pit', and finally, the gospel spirituals of black slaves powered her vision on the final 'You Must Be Certain Of The Devil', wherein Diamanda firmly indicted Middle America as the home of Satan in the form of bigotry, hypocrisy and benightedness. "The devil here is not some abstract, gothic figure," she said. "He is, in my definition, the coward, the man who is spiritually impotent, the homophobe, the wilfully blind, the deserter." If the cloak fits...

Masque of the Red Death (1989) (Mute)

Disc 1
Divine Punishment (1986) (Mute)

1. Deliver Me From Mine Enemies 2. Free Among the Dead Saint of the Pit (1986) (Mute)


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3. La Trezičme Revient [The Thirteenth Returns]
4. Deliver Me
5. L'Heautontimioroumenos (1857) [Self-Tormentor]
6. Artémis (1854)
7. Cris D'Aveugle (1873) [Blind Man's Cry]

Disc 2

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You Must Be Certain of the Devil(1988) (Mute)
  1. Swing Low Sweet Chariot
  2. Double-Barrel Prayer
  3. Let's Not Chat About Despair
  4. Birds of Death
  5. You Must Be Certain of The Devil
  6. Let My People Go
  7. Malediction
  8. The Lord Is My Shepherd
Catalog #mute61588 CD $24.99
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