Diamanda Galás

September 20, 2006

Plague Mass

Fantastic live album of Galás performing The Plague Mass, recorded at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. It’s a culmination of efforts from her earlier albums that indict those who would sweep the AIDS epidemic under the rug and – like many of her pieces – she channels buried victims and lends them a voice.
Harrowing, to say the least.
Here’s a snip from a wikipedia article on her:

Susan McClary writes that Galás, “heralds a new moment in the history of musical representation,” after describing her thus: “Galás emerged within the post-modern performance art scene in the seventies… protesting… the treatment of victims of the Greek junta, attitudes towards victims of AIDS… Her pieces are constructed from the ululation of traditional Mediterranean keening…whispers, shrieks, and moans.”

Utilizing the Book of Revelations, Leviticus, Galás intones pronunciations on the wicked, all the while stripped to the waist and drenched in (apparently real) blood. In a Catholic Cathedral.
If you’ve ever had the fortune to see her perform live, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. Her multi-octave voice is truly stunning and she’s one of few performers I’ve seen who really undergo a frightening transformation onstage.
Difficult listening to be sure, but rewarding nontheless.

This is the law of the plague
(@320kbps – 150 megs!)


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