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What is Dead Can Dance?

Attentive listeners have tried to define the music of Dead Can Dance for a long time. Is it a world music group, since it has used Arabic chants, Algonquin Indian prayers, Indian ragas, Celtic bagpipes and Haitian rhythms? Is it a New Age group, since its ethereal vocals echo those of Enya? Is it a progressive rock group, since elements from Led Zeppelin and George Harrison have turned up in its sound? Is it a classical group, since string orchestrations have played an important role? Or maybe a techno group, since the duo has used computer sampling?

All of the above, if you like.

(an excerpt from the Global Spirits: "Dead Can Dance make world music mystical",
S.Morse, Boston Globe, 12 July 1996)

In the 15 years that the group Dead Can Dance have been creating their non-conformist music, they've been making a journey of transformation and change. On one level, the duo of Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard has evolved from arty rock band to pioneers of an intellectual and otherworldly brand of soundscapes. Now on their third tour of the United States, the group has long enjoyed a fervent cult support network and yards of glowing press, but the two still remember the sting of being misunderstood and harshly criticized by the fickle music press.

In 1981, the young couple left their hometown of Melbourne, Australia, for London, where they began Dead Can Dance. The duo's first record, Dead Can Dance, emerged three years later, a mesmerizingly dark and portentous affair that did not garner many positive reviews in the British tabloids.

"Of possible interest only to undiscriminating fans of moody psychedelia" is how the album was described in The Trouser Press Record Guide. "Mostly shapeless guitar music with chanting, singing and howling." Certainly, the band's name came with some heavy baggage: in record stores Dead Can Dance usually wound up in between the Dead Kennedys and Death in June. Even today, it's obvious that the harsh treatment the band received early on still leaves scars.

Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard are the main protagonists of Dead Can Dance.

Dead Can Dance albums :

  • Dead Can Dance 1984
  • Spleen and Ideal 1986
  • Within the Realm of a Dying Sun 1987
  • The Serpent's Egg 1988
  • Aion 1990
  • Passage in Time 1991
  • Into the Labyrinth 1993
  • Toward the Within - The Film 1994
  • Spiritchaser 1996

Other projects :

AK79, Compilation 1980/1993
It'll End in Tears, This Mortal Coil 1984
Lonely is an Eyesore, 4AD Compilation 1987
Sahara Blue, Hector Zazou 1992
Angels of Perversity, Elijah's Mantle - Mark Ellis 1993
Baraka, Soundtrack with Michael Stearns 1993
All Virgos are Mad, 4AD Compilation 1994
The Mirror Pool, Lisa Gerrard 1995
Duality, Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke 1998

There are some very good websites on Internet (and better than mine!!); exemples could be:

http://www.nets.com/dcd/index.html
http://www.evo.org/html/group/deadcandance.html

 

 

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This Page was created by David Rapava
May 29, 1998. Tbilisi, Georgia

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