Magazine article New Internationalist

Defixiones, Will and Testament, Orders from the Dead

Magazine article New Internationalist

Defixiones, Will and Testament, Orders from the Dead

Article excerpt

by Diamanda Galas (Mute STUMM 205 2CD)

[Graph Not Transcribed]

'My voice was given to me as an instrument of inspiration for my friends,' Diamanda Galas, never lost for a line, once said, 'and a tool in the torture and destruction of my enemies.' Nor is it an idle threat. In the mouth of Galas, utterances assume a dreadful weight worthy of the Greek tragedies of her ancestors.

But then her subject matter has always been tragedy - and Defixiones especially so. A massive song cycle - others include Plague Mass and La Serpenta Canta - Defixiones is her furious howl for the victims of the Armenian genocides, killed between 1914 and 1923. Though specific, it's also a work that wants us to make links to other genocides.

A Galas work is explosive, in the sense that sound expands with violent, physical emotion. …

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