Diamanda Galás at the Weaving Politics Symposium in Stockholm, Sweden. 12/16-2012.

By Allan Nilsson














A truly remarkable & very intense experience.

The lecture kicked off at 10.00 AM with a screening of an a capella performance of the poem Espergesia by the Peruvian poet Cesár Vallejo (a filmed rehearsal performance at Vigeland Mausoleum in Oslo, earlier this year) & it almost kicked in my teeth.The singing-recitation of Espergesia & the cascade of sound she fires off, projects an onomapoetic Doppelgänger of the poem. A spectre vocalise of Espergesia. The VOICE. Her voice is such a glorious & omnipotent instrument. Firm as a rock from the bottom to the top & with a timbre dense as basalt. Those top notes are absolutely pristine & the lower register has an otherworldly resounding, pure quality. Ghosts can be fierce & instructive wrote Flannery O’Connor. Let us leave it at that.

Then Diamanda read her own texts, which covered a variety of topics; life, death, singing-acting, the art of criticism & much more. Her readings were brilliantly executed with a big palette of different shadings of voice, due to the topic or the theme of the text. Timing, tempi, diction & phrasing were all, the outcome of meticulous preparations & very high standards. Eloquent, to say the least. Who else but Diamanda could combine the virtuosity, adamantine wit, EMPATHY, pitch black humour & expertise on singing-music, like she did. Esto es literatura con cojones, compadres! Todos a casa y haz los deberes! Art speaks the truth, the plainer the better. Later on at the plenary, after the performance, a French intellectual quoted & referred to Diamanda, as he stated “Life is so short – we [the intellectuals] have to be quicker to get to point.” I second that, any time.

The performance closed with her composition (audio only) to the poem “Man and Woman Go through the Cancer Ward.” from 1912 by the German expressionist poet Gottfried Benn. I am convinced that Anton Webern & Dr.Benn would have felt at home in the brutal honesty of the expressionist Klangwelt, created & performed by Diamanda Galás. The emotional impact was & is enormous.

This was the fifth time I have seen her live & each performance brought something invaluable to me. This something is going to last a lifetime. Period.