By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
The uncowardly Galás takes themes of death, degradation and demoralization to heroic extremes, and is an authoritative (to say the least) spokesperson for the unspeakable. Defixiones addresses, among other things, the devastation on entire cultures as inflicted by the Turks (among others), a scenario that has been played out in Armenia and Greece, in Assyria and with the Kurds for hundreds of years. With Galás, the music is always accompanied by some kind of threat; she’s one woman you don’t mind calling a bitch, ’cause she’s like a mother dog whose coat you can admire but who will slash if you bring harm to her young. It’s fascinating to me that she has the onstage
charisma of a drag diva to the 20th power, as if it takes a woman to know what a woman really wants.
Defixiones has Galás really flexing, and the effect (a trivializing word) is goose bumps. Over electronic drones, whipping wind and her most fugging awesome left-hand piano rudeness snarking out like a tarantula, she intones, incants, rails, pleads, commands and testifies in distressed epiglottal paroxysms, agonized tongues. Listening to Defixiones, I’m reminded again of an unsettling realization that comes about when musicians or filmmakers or writers address horrific subjects, and that is, in order to persuade, on some level the art itself requires a pleasurable effect, akin to katharsis. Galás exhilarates above all because she is that very rare performer who deals articulately with horrific topicality but doesn’t skimp on the progressive requirements of new, important music.
Diamanda Galás is a very heartening presence in music and art, a bad, bad bitch who speaks for the horrors of those who can’t speak for themselves, then says, “What is truly horrible is to create work that very few people understand, or people think you’re fuckin’ nuts doing, and then feel the prescience of it.” Right on. I like this even better: “I never, never do work because I feel that people are going to relate to it. I do it because I feel that I need to do it. I have . . . the truth of my own convictions . . . I’m willing to search my soul. I expect everyone else to do the same.”