Friday, April 16, 2010
"Wild Women with Steak Knives" the homicidal love song of a schizophrenic woman--that was the first work I did with 5 microphones, working with different personalities and using varied vocabularies and languages... speaking in tongues. The training of vocal chords to yield a superhuman instrument, that's not about being a singer but about being a channel through which the Absolute can manifest (or a bearer of tidings of unsentimental truth, unmatrixed by mere"taste"--a word which speaks of human limitation rather than choice). I wanted to produce an immediate extroversion of sound, to deliver a pointed, focused message--like a gun...
The way I sing embodies the concept that diffraction of the personality provides essential liberation from the self, thus extroverting the insanity. And when you extrovert the insanity, you can live most of the time as a real person, yet be able to change your self and commit actions that your real self would not be capable of...
In the Greek or Middle Eastern traditions (Om Kalsoum is an example) singing is not about parlor room nuances of the personality, but a very concentrated energy, an attack energy--the transformation of the body into a weapon. It's about going beyond yourself.
When I saw Psalm 88 in the Old Testament, it was very clear to me that it had to be the first incantation in my work, "Masque of the Red Death." When I started to sing it was in a voice I'd never heard before: it wasn't my voice--people have said it sounded like a Southern Baptist on acid.
The way I use my voice requires a very athletic discipline--I have the stamina of Wagnerian opera singers. My work has an occult, shamanistic, and ritual feeling. I called what I did "intravenal song." Others called it speaking in tongues."
--Diamanda Galas, 1991