Owner of the most powerful voice and provocative personality in the music business, Diamanda Galás can be scary. She can be ice cold and sinister, her scathing voice is made to dig inside our deepest, inner self, a part of ourselves we would never confess existed not even to ourselves. Black is her state of mind and her attire, a grand piano her only accompaniment, nothing else is needed. Above all that voice reaching deeply into our soul and lifting us up to the highest, vertiginous grounds, nothing is safe during a performance by Galás. I seem to remember her previous performances might have been slightly more sober as far as the lights and effects on her voice were concerned, though the extreme whiteness of her facial make up, vertiginously high shoes and infinite nails can always be relied on. She fascinates and terrorizes us as she incarnates our primordial instincts buried under centuries of indoctrination in what we consider our civil societies. But we recognize the agony, we relive the pain with every single note she plays and every single scream she utters. Intensely loved by her fans, at the Barbican on the 19th of June you really felt the sense of occasion, we, the audience have dressed up for her as she has dressed up for us and I suddenly realize that I have not seen such a beautiful audience for years, probably since her previous performance, still in London, still at the Barbican exactly 10 years ago.
My picture taken on the 19th of June is inspired by the artwork on Diamanda Galás’s latest releases: All the Way and At Saint Thomas the Apostle Harlem.
Diamanda Galás – Barbican, London 19 June 2017