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Diamanda Galas|The Singer

The Singer

Diamanda Galas

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While the blues had always been a presence in Galas' work, The Singer was the first time she presented them on their own and she did so in a stark manner, with only herself on voice and keyboards. Her piano playing is fairly harsh and jagged, almost evoking a reined-in Cecil Taylor. But it's her vocal work that fans are interested in, and here she strikes an often awkward balance between her natural bent toward extreme stylings and the more conservative forms that the material tends to require. On several of the pieces with little in the way of melodic hooks, she speak-sings through, adding typically ornate embellishments that do little to enhance the earthiness of the matter at hand. She succeeds more often when the song has an inherently captivating theme, as on "Gloomy Sunday," where Galas' sense of drama and pathos works wonderfully. The highlight, though, is her reworking of "Let My People Go" into a thoroughly chilling hymn to the victims of AIDS. The Singer is one of the more accessible entry points into Diamanda Galas' world, if a slightly confining one that only hints at her greater gifts.
© Brian Olewnick /TiVo

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The Singer

Diamanda Galas

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1
My Love Will Never Die
00:03:55

Diamanda Galas, MainArtist - WILLIE DIXON, Composer

1992 Diamanda Galás 1992 Diamanda Galás

2
Reap What You Sow
00:03:40

Diamanda Galas, MainArtist - Michael Bloomfield, Composer

1992 Diamanda Galás 1992 Diamanda Galás

3
Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?
00:05:16

Diamanda Galas, MainArtist - Roy Acuff, Composer

1992 Diamanda Galás 1992 Diamanda Galás

4
Gloomy Sunday
00:03:01

Diamanda Galas, MainArtist - Samuel Lewis, Composer - Laszlo Javor, Composer - Rezso Seres, Composer

1992 Diamanda Galás 1992 Diamanda Galás

5
Balm in Gilead / Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
00:05:40

Traditional, Composer - Diamanda Galas, MainArtist

1992 Diamanda Galás 1992 Diamanda Galás

6
Insane Asylum
00:04:53

Diamanda Galas, MainArtist - WILLIE DIXON, Composer

1992 Diamanda Galás 1992 Diamanda Galás

7
I Put a Spell On You
00:04:29

Diamanda Galas, MainArtist - Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Composer

1992 Diamanda Galás 1992 Diamanda Galás

8
Let My People Go
00:04:59

Traditional, Composer - Diamanda Galas, MainArtist

1992 Diamanda Galás 1992 Diamanda Galás

9
See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
00:03:10

Traditional, Composer - Diamanda Galas, MainArtist

1992 Diamanda Galás 1992 Diamanda Galás

10
Judgement Day
00:07:01

Traditional, Composer - Diamanda Galas, MainArtist

1992 Diamanda Galás 1992 Diamanda Galás

Album review

While the blues had always been a presence in Galas' work, The Singer was the first time she presented them on their own and she did so in a stark manner, with only herself on voice and keyboards. Her piano playing is fairly harsh and jagged, almost evoking a reined-in Cecil Taylor. But it's her vocal work that fans are interested in, and here she strikes an often awkward balance between her natural bent toward extreme stylings and the more conservative forms that the material tends to require. On several of the pieces with little in the way of melodic hooks, she speak-sings through, adding typically ornate embellishments that do little to enhance the earthiness of the matter at hand. She succeeds more often when the song has an inherently captivating theme, as on "Gloomy Sunday," where Galas' sense of drama and pathos works wonderfully. The highlight, though, is her reworking of "Let My People Go" into a thoroughly chilling hymn to the victims of AIDS. The Singer is one of the more accessible entry points into Diamanda Galas' world, if a slightly confining one that only hints at her greater gifts.
© Brian Olewnick /TiVo

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