Monday, July 27, 2009
Diamanda Galas-A Week of Noise #2
I fell in love with Diamanda Galas way back in the 80's when she performed at a nightclub I worked at and she blew us all away. I remember my initial feeling as she began her performance that I never knew music could be torn apart and put back together like this...that there were all kinds of ways to make a set of songs. She was devastatingly beautiful and it felt as if she had summonded powers I only heard of in horror movies or supernatural ghost stories.
I was never really much of a fan of opera, but through listening to Galas, I kind of eventually found a way to relate to opera.
Galas became a bit of a crossover artist with some mainstream atttention when she became an activist.
Galas got known when.... the controversial 1991 live recording of the album Plague Mass (1984 - End of the Epidemic) in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York. With it, Galás attacked the Roman Catholic Church (and society in general) for its indifference to AIDS using biblical texts. In the words of Terrorizer Magazine, "The church was made to burn with sound, not fire.". Plague Mass was a live rendition of excerpts from her Masque Of The Red Death trilogy which began as a response to and indictment of the effects of AIDS on the "silent class". After production of the trilogy's first volume began, Galás' brother, playwright Philip-Dimitri Galás, contracted HIV, which inspired the artist to redouble her efforts, resulting in the development of the aforementioned performance. During the period of these recordings, Galás had "we are all HIV+" tattooed upon her knuckles; an artistic expression of disillusionment and disgust with the ignorance and apathy surrounding the AIDS epidemic. Her brother, who died during the trilogy's final production, reportedly appreciated her efforts.