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Saturday, September 11, 2004

Diamanda Galas: Guts and Rapture 

Defixiones, Will and Testament


The sheer magnificence of her voice will transport you to another plane of consciousness. Diamanda Galas holds down the stage and channels the agony of 130,000 dead souls. This woman is more an elemental force than a human being. Defixiones, Will and Testament is dedicated to the remembrance of the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks who were slaughtered in a mass genocide by Turkish hands from 1914 to 1923. It is not about letting go, but rather opening up to the torture and pain so as never to forget it. From opera arias, to guttural, uterine wails that throb the walls, Diamanda speaks with the breath of the mute dead.

Her's is a voice vibrating, climbing the steps of history, climbing through human skin and hair into the raw feces of life. She frenetically sings, “Como puedo arrancarme los ojos?” This is the cry of a man who has witnessed twenty local women forced to dance naked, to “dance till they die.” Outside his window, he sees as they are soaked with kerosene, lit with a torch and asks, ““How can I dig out my eyes?”

Diamanda does such an exceptional job creating the voice of 130,000 people rising from the dead to tell their story, that when the house lights go up, you wont believe that it was just one woman on that stage, singing. You will want to be further assaulted by her tremendous roars, left with the maniacal shrieking of 1000 birds crashing against the sides of your skull and a new definition for beauty.

Go see her Sunday, September 12. She will be performing the songs of Screaming Jay Hawkins, Hank Williams and others.

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