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Music / Diamanda Galás

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Diamanda Galás is a deep-voiced Greek-American singer, pianist, and performance artist. She has a distinct classical Gothic style, often focusing on somewhat older songs such as "Gloomy Sunday" and "Insane Asylum." Still, despite looking very intimidating, her performances always show a sense of humor.

Let's not trope about despair...

  • Alternative Indie and Avant Garde Music: The genres she is usually associated with.
  • Careful with That Axe: The avant-garde goddess of this trope.
  • Contralto of Danger: She's a soprano according to The Other Wiki but when she's not hitting the high notes, she sounds a bit like this.
  • Cover Version: "I Put A Spell On You".
    • "The Litanies of Satan" is a vocal adaptation she did on two of Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal poems.
  • Dream Team: She's collaborated with the likes of Iannis Xenakis, Bobby Bradford, Vinko Globokar, John Zorn, and even John Paul Jones!
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  • Fag Hag: And proud!
  • Incredibly Long Note: Not so much her early days but as she grew Older and Wiser Diamanda has learned to sustain these.
  • Knuckle Tattoos: She has "We Are All HIV+" tattooed on the knuckles of one hand, in remembrance of her brother, who died from AIDS.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Her music lies near both extremes of this. Most of her bluesy works are about 1-3 or lie away from the scale, but the likes of her Litanies of Satan EP peak at a hard 11.
  • Motor Mouth: One big way she plays up her One-Woman Wail.
  • Nightmare Face: Combined with Supernatural Gold Eyes for La Serpenta Canta. Behold.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Apart from her singing, her music videos can also scare people away.
    • Her video for "Double Barrel Prayer" was banned from Much Music, and labeled by MTV as "The most offensive music video" and it's not without reason. Even without the bizarre song that accompanies it, well... a woman splashing around in blood, a woman making horrible facial expressions while pushing two microphones near her mouth (with a red cloth in the background), inexplicable video tape damage, a woman dancing passionately with a gun? Good luck trying to subsequently un-see it.
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    • "Do You Take This Man" is this and Black Comedy. Most of the video has her stalking the man she loves then subsequently torturing him in a bizarre ritual. And her trademark "two microphones" returns.
  • Omniglot: She's performed in English, Greek, French, German, Italian, and Arabic. She's also written songs in the first two.
  • One-Woman Wail: Made a career out of it.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Much of Diamanda's work is dedicated to people with AIDS, especially her 1980s "Masque Of The Red Death" cycle. This is mostly in part to her brother being diagnosed with AIDS early in the epidemic's appearance (he died in 1986, before the cycle could be completed). Her album The Singer features a picture of her hands, which are tattooed with the words "We Are All HIV+." Her album Vena Cava is told from the point of view of someone losing their mind while dying from the disease.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Averted for most material, but "The Litanies of Satan" sees her playing with this and Voice of the Legion using multiple microphones and tape recording.
  • Shout-Out: Internet reviewer Diamanda Hagan named her pseudonym after Diamanda Galás and Nina Hagen. [1]. Another character played by her is called Nina Galas.
  • Special Guest: Diamanda appeared on Erasure's album Erasure.
  • Spoken Word in Music: If she's not wailing, she does this, quite often in The Sporting Life.

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