Diamanda Galas plays a rare London show on Monday : exclusive interview
Diamanda Galas is extraordinary.
Her powerful emotive music is stunningly original and dares to explore all corners of the human condition in omnipotent and stark ways. She plays rare London show this Monday June 19th at the Barbican and we urge you to be there. Tickets and more info from here.
‘Touching upon Contemporary Classical, Jazz and Metal, Galás has always defied categorisation – part performance-artist, part chanteuse – but has always guaranteed an exhilarating live experience. Tonight she sings from her two new albums, All the Way and O Death, which continue to cross genres. The former sees her apply her virtuosic vocal range to Jazz standards from the likes of Frank Sinatra and Johnny Paycheck, while O Death – recorded at the Mars Volta’s ATP in 2005 – is an apocalyptic explosion of sound using free-jazz distention and virtuosic fireworks.’
LTW : Not that we want to know what to expect from your upcoming Barbican show BUT what can we expect? Multi lingual death poems, heart rendering stark gospel, powerful piano pieces? Are you a restless creative spirit?
Diamanda Galas : I am very fortunate to have many mediums to create with. Life can be very painful and without the ability to create, it would be unbearable. We need to feel joy and we need to be able to deal with pain when it hits. Being able to exorcize, to extrovert, to throw off the little knife wounds is a talent developed over years.
LTW : Your music has a beautiful darkness – is this partly because of your Greek background – the Byzantine chants, the sense of longing in Rembetika and the stark genius of the multi talented Xenakis, the pain of lost Anatolia?
Diamanda Galas : Someone told me once that our racial group is the purple race and I laughed. But our dromoi (scales, roads) are peculiar to our particular sensibilities, our amanes are our prayers and our salvation.
We sing to the gods to be free. We must sing loudly even when we whisper, or they will not hear us.
LTW : I see you are a big fan of Jimi Hendrix – I’m fascinated by people like you and him whose music and style seem to match – an audio sartorial explosion! are you conscious of this?
Diamanda Galas : Yes, I am. You are a spear and you must go far to the next village. You must travel and you must arrive to a new village every time. It means you must develop power because if you don’t, you can’t travel. There are too many hard rocks in your way and you must be able to fly over them.
LTW : You mostly work solo – can anyone keep up with you?
Diamanda Galas : Of course. I like to make all the music myself but I will look around and try
a few other things at some point. I have never regretted the work with John Paul Jones – it was magic – and this time it will be my own band. But I have so many things to do at the moment, that that will happen when it happens.