Decades of gutsy, blood-curdling performances as a pianist, vocalist, organist and performance artist have earned Diamanda Galás her widespread reputation as a havoc-wreaking provocateur, truth bearer, and musical gespenst. Born into a Greek Orthodox family in Southern California, much of her work is visibly inspired and informed by the artfulness of ritual and the archaicness of the expression of suffering.
Over the course of her career, Galás has collaborated with many notable avant-garde composers and musicians, including Iannis Xenakis and John Zorn. Galás’s influence as a pioneer of extended vocal techniques has, since early in her career, reached a wide array of audiences outside the insular experimental music world. Her music incorporates and renders traditional music heritages in new colours from her own Greek heritance to Arabic customs and American folk cultures such as blues. She has dedicated much of her work to sounding stories of the pain and despair of marginalised individuals and communities, including genocide victims, AIDS victims and the mentally ill. Most of her catalogue has dedicated itself to such stories, reworking and transforming a representation of oppression, and often ultimately transcending that representation in an expression of catharsis.
In 2010 Galás collaborated with filmmaker Davide Pepe to create the experimental sound and film work Schrei 27, an unrelenting portrait of a body suffering torture in isolation. Currently, in addition to continued touring, lecture-performances and experiments in visual art, Galás is completing a series of new recordings as well as remastered and remixed versions of earlier works to be released in 2016.