Lisa Gerrard: "Death cannot be stopped, but love and tolerance can be taught"
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Lisa Gerrard: "Death cannot be stopped, but love and tolerance can be taught"

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Photo: Vaughan Stedman

The owner of an unearthly voice, half of the cult Australian-British group Dead Can Dance, the author of music for many films, including the legendary «Gladiator» Lisa Gerrard on August 26, 2022 presents a new album «Exaudia». The record was created together with the composer Marcello De Francischi and is dedicated to the history of Spain in the 15th century, when Sephardic tribes were expelled from all over Europe and North Africa. Against the backdrop of the ongoing persecution of people for their uniqueness and independence, Novy Prospekt spoke with Lisa Gerrard, who has been singing about this for several decades. We are happy to share the beauty of her music with everyone who, in principle, is ready to seek and see beauty in this world.


Lisa, it’s amazing that I can ask you a few questions again after 15 years. In 2007, I was lucky to interview you when you came to St. Petersburg with a concert in support of the Silver Tree album. New album of 2022 — ‘Exaudia'. And this is a new collaboration with Marcello De Francisci. You haven’t released new works with him for a long time. Over ten years. What made the new LP possible?


Photo: Atlantic Curve

— We actually started to work on what would ultimately become ‘Exaudia' back in 2018 when Marcello proposed the idea of revisiting the track ‘Diary For The Fallen' from our ‘Departum' album and doing a more epic, dark brooding version of it.

I have been in contact with Marcello throughout all this time and in fact we co-scored a western film back in 2016 titled ‘Jane Got A Gun' starring Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton and Ewan McGregor for director Gavin O’Connor.

Photo: YouTube

We have a creative connection. So it is always interesting to work with him when I can spare the time between concerts and other projects (currently, Lisa Gerrard is preparing to continue the Dead Can Dance tour, the band has not come to Russia for ten years — ed.).

What does the title of the album mean? Are these three words, as you can read on the envelope, or one?

— This album was inspired by the history of the Sephardic tribes. We thought the title was appropriate for the overall vibe of this entire series of pieces. Originally, we wanted to title the album 'Sephardia' but the label advised against it. It is a term-word taken from old Castilian Spanish. If you look at the info windows of every video we have posted on YouTube the description is listed there.

Exaudia — a term used when a monarch grants a citizen of his kingdom an audience and, as a result, consents to a wish.

The sound of Marcello is very different from other records where Lisa Gerrard is written on the sleeve. This is your co-author who works not only with music, but also with your voice, as with an instrument, processing the original vocals. Not too bold an experiment for a voice that is valuable precisely because it is alive?

— In regards to the difference in style of this album, Marcello had always wanted to work on an epic soundtrack score as a result of never being given the opportunity to present the cinematic industry this style of compositions, vocal approach, sonic template, or overall level of production-architecture. As female composers are now beginning to be recruited to score broader, more epic projects we thought it might be a good idea.

Lisa Gerrard & Marcello De Francisci. Photo: marcellodefrancisci.com

Marcello does not process my voice at all but embellishes my vocals in the realm referred to as audio «Production». It is not ‘Too Bold' of an experiment to try new things out with my vocals, in fact, as an artist I always strive to push the envelope. I trust him. He delivered on various projects in the past like ‘Samsara' and now ‘Exaudia' (the musicians made several joint records together, including the soundtrack for the film ‘Samsara', it was released in 2012 as a continuation of Ron Fricke’s 1992 cult film «Baraka». — ed.).

The first single and video for the album ‘Exaudia‘ — ‘Until We Meet Again‘. It can be argued that it shows the beauty of a person. Light sadness. This impression was the first and remained after repeated listening. What is this work about for you? What mood would you like it to evoke?

— A lot of people have been displaced and confined to isolation due to the pandemic for the last couple of years, so the sentiment of wanting to see someone again despite whatever challenges may be presented are imprinted in this track. The title says it all. ‘Until We Meet Again'…

The first video ‘Until We Meet Again‘ from the album ‘Exaudia‘.

The second video was the track ‘When The Light Of Morning Comes‘. And it reminded me of just those films ‘Baraka‘ and ‘Samsara‘. Are these associations allowed? What is this track about for you?

— ‘When The Light Of Morning Comes' is inspired by the concept of ‘Salvation' and what happens after a dark night of soul. You can see this very idea depicted visually towards the end of the video when the ballerina starts to twirl as the light shines upon her and all these worlds open up to her…

The second video ‘When The Light Of Morning Comes' from the album ‘Exaudia‘

It is ‘When The Light Of Morning «Finally» Comes' and delivers clarity… Marcello and I worked on ‘Samsara' together so some of the footage he found was homage to the fans that know our work through this film. The producer for ‘Baraka' & ‘Samsara' Mark Magidson watched the video and commented it was lovely. We are grateful to have his blessings.

Covers of the soundtracks for the films ‘Baraka' and ‘Samsara'. Photo: discogs.com

In general, the album ‘Exaudia‘ turned out to be the way it was intended, or was this work revealed in the process of creation in some other way? If it’s not a secret, how did your work with Marcello begin?

— On this particular album Marcello sent me all the tracks and I sang on them. He had a very clear vision of the entire concept of the album musically and visually from a visceral standpoint. You can see on the credits that he designed the album cover, directed and edited the videos as well by using countless footage clips from a multitude of cinematographers he recruited.

From the description of the video clips:

«We gratefully acknowledge all the filmmakers whose contributions are featured in these videos. We respect such principles in creativity. As a result, we work well together.» The musicians thank many of their co-authors for the video materials that were used in the clips: Ron Lach, Mikhail Nilov, Cottonbro, Engin Akyurt, Roman Odintsov, Instagrapher, Cesar A. Ramirez, Andreia Luis, Anastasia Shuraeva, Rodnae Productions, Anna Nekrashevich, Koolshooters, Deeana Creates, Pavel Danilyuk, Jill Burrow, Johannes Plenio, Martin Sanchez, Saphan Korwong, Arthouse Studio, Timo Volz, Mart Production, Tima Miroshnichenko, Ruvim Miksanskiy, Yaroslav Shuraev, R Bude, Andreu Marques, Steve B, Jacob Lundvall, Ruslan Khmelevsky, Pixabay & Pexels.

He really knows my voice-work, celebrates it, and once I provide vocals to his themes he will literally rewrite the track if need be to support my vision from a compositional standpoint.

Because I have been labeled as a singer for so long in my career, a lot of people do not understand that my vocals are actual musical compositions onto themselves. Marcello gets and respects this in my creativity… We work well together as a result.

How many tracks didn’t make it onto the record? What fate awaits these records?

— We had considered doing a new version of ‘The Secret Language of Angels' from ‘Departum', just like we revisited ‘Diary For The Fallen' but we did not have any more time. It is on the backburner however…

Just as ‘Departum' was coming out, I asked Alan Wilder (Depeche Mode participant 1982-1995, Recoil) who he would like to work with in the studio on new records, he immediately said your name. Would you be interested in recording with Alan? He is a very deep specialist in electronic music, which is far from stereotypes.

— Thank you for sharing this with me. The fun and exciting thing for me and other artists is to cross-pollinate and discover the abstracts in each other’s invisible messages. To answer your question, I work with those that in some way have found a connection in the abstract.

I’m so excited the Alan has mentioned, this… Hi Alan if you’re out there and can see this I would dearly love for us to collaborate.

Alan Wilder in 2007. Photo: recoil.co.uk


In 2022, the genius of electronic music, with whom you gave us a whole series of records, Klaus Schulze, passed away… How do you remember Klaus?

— Here is our Sweet Champion. Our hearts ache. Why do we die? Close your eyes and imagine being dead. It’s not possible… Is this because we don’t actually die. I stood in the presence of this living sweet, crazy, beautiful genius while we took as on a journey through atmosphere’s transcendent. He boldly painted his visions invisible with enchanted brushes that embraced uncharted soul shapes. At the end of each concert, he would drop his musical bomb with terrifying confidence shaking the dust off the rafters of mediocrity. The speakers would flutter and rupture into everlasting capsule of silence a pause, a gate, a pathway forwards. He is and will be forever…

Can fans count on the publication of unknown recordings of you and him?

— I don’t know.

Klaus Schulze and Lisa Gerrard, November 13, 2008, Warsaw, Poland

Given that DCD continues to tour, do we look forward to continuing to collaborate with your DCD colleagues? Are new recordings with DCD possible?

— And I don’t know this…

Your passion for cinema seems to have passed? Or does the collaboration with the big screen continue? Asking as a fan of the Whale Rider movie and music to it. An amazing record of an amazing film. I recently purchased vinyl. Already only from the hands.

— Passion has never left and is always there. The right films have to knock on your door, I suppose. Whale Rider was special. I loved Nikis commitment (New Zealand film director, screenwriter, producer Niki Caro, author of the film Whale Rider — ed.). She slept on my couch in the studio while I was writing. She instinctively would wake up to instruct me what to do.

‘Gladiator‘ soundtrack remains one of your most famous works. Ridley Scott was going to direct a sequel. Will you take part in the continuation of this cult story?

— At this stage I have not been invited (there is no available information on the extent of the project yet, except that Spencer Treat Clark, who starred in the original 2000 film as the future Roman emperor Lucius Verus, will play in the film — ed.)

Lisa Gerrard Hans Zimmer — Now We Are Free. The official video clip for the title track for the film ‘Gladiator‘

In your luggage there are several collaborations with musicians who are connected with the territories of Slavic culture. This is the BooCheeMish album and other recordings from The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices. These are works with the Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner. You have been to Russia several times. Performed in Kyiv. Would you be interested in doing something musical in the context of the culture of the Eastern Slavs — Ukraine, Belarus, Russia? In the list of authors of your new clips, I saw a lot of recognizable names!

— I agree, my family history is English, Irish, German, Spanish, and Jew. So I’m not sure if it is a cultural connection… But I have always magnetized townwards the Eastern Blocks creatives there is a string up of the ice burg brooding depth.


Zbigniew Preisner, Lisa Gerrard, Dominik Wania — Melodies Of My Youth (2019). Photo: preisner.com


You recorded records dedicated to the tragedy of the Holocaust. Now in Europe again for many years terrible things are happening. Ukraine. A lot of beautiful music will be written about this in the future. Is it important to speak out about such things here and now?

— My heart is broken to see this ignorance and disrespect for innocent people… I don’t take interest in politics, I just care about people and animals, what has and is happening is an appalling disrespect for the innocent journey that we are on…

How can death be stopped?

— Death can never be stopped. But love and tolerance can be taught and fomented.

Can war cancel culture? What do you think about the so-called «cancellation of Russian culture» because of the war in Ukraine?

— I support unconditional love on all fronts. I am not a political figure but choose to bring beauty into this world through my work.

Photo: lisagerrard.com

In 2007, in St. Petersburg, you said that when you sing, you hear whales on the other side of the Earth. Who do you hear today from those who are not around, but whom you can’t help but think about?

— When I sing I know that it’s the trickle that becomes the flood of sensibility… It’s the only thing I have to offer.

Whom, if not Lisa Gerrard, can I ask about faith in the future of mankind? Are people able to learn to live in harmony with nature so that the planet does not lose balance, which life gives not only to humans?

— You are giving me way too much credit to ask such existential questions. Every sentient being on this Earth has his own personal truth. Let’s leave it at that…

In this sense, the release of the new album just shows how you can act. I understand that the vinyl record is made from recycled materials, which could become ordinary garbage? Who came up with this?

— I refrain from the thought that our fans would ultimately purchase and throw our vinyl records out as garbage as you so put it. The fans want vinyl. And we strive to provide them with them in the way that we can.

Of course, vinyl is the best format. I bought a copy for my collection. I meant that on the ‘Exaudia‘ pre-order page it says «Recycled Vinyl». What dream or hope warms your soul when fatigue and frustration accumulate from the difficult moments of our reality?

— When moments like that arrive, I find refuge in my work and create music that can uplift those who will listen.

In autumn, you will come to the Baltic countries. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia. What would you say to those who will come to these concerts?

— Welcome.

What are you dreaming about right now?

— I live in my dreams.

Photo: Vaughan Stedman

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Information from Novy Prospekt:

Lisa Gerrard was born in Melbourne on April 12, 1961 in an Anglo-Irish family of British immigrants who came to Australia in search of work. The singer grew up in the Praran region, which was mostly inhabited by immigrants from the Mediterranean and the Middle East. From childhood, young Gerrard listened to the chants of local women who did laundry on the banks of the river. In 1980, Gerrard made her debut as a member of the post-punk band ‘Microfilm', which released the only 7-inch vinyl single with two tracks featuring the future star. Since 1981, Lisa has become a permanent member of Brendan Perry’s ‘Dead Can Dance', which originally worked in Melbourne and at first played music close to post-punk and gothic rock with ethnic elements. In Australia, DCD had little success at an early stage and the musicians decided to try their luck in the UK. In 1982, the group moved to London. According to legend, the musicians had to do the most ordinary work in order to be able to live in the British capital, until they were lucky enough to meet the founder of the now cult indie label 4AD Ivo Watts-Russell and sign a contract. After that, DCD went on a joint tour with the Cocteau Twins. In 1984, the self-titled debut album ‘Dead Can Dance' was released, which consists of the group’s early recordings. Over the next 14 years, the group recorded six studio albums, which are considered classics of indie music with ethnic motives. Gerrard’s vocals and Perry’s gift for songwriting have made DCD one of 4AD's most successful bands and an internationally recognized group of listeners.

In 1995, the singer’s first solo album, ‘The Mirror Pool', was released. In 1998, ‘Dead Can Dance' disbanded while recording a new album. The musicians took up solo careers. Gerrard has become a highly sought after vocalist and songwriter in the film world, recording numerous soundtracks (see discography below). As an independent musician, Lisa became world-famous for the soundtrack to Ridley Scott’s ‘Gladiator' (2000), where the singer worked with Hans Zimmer. The soundtrack was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe in 2001. In 2005, the group unexpectedly announced a reunion and went on a world tour, including visiting St. Petersburg. In 2007, Gerrard presented her solo album ‘Silver Tree' in St. Petersburg. In 2012, the eighth album ‘Anastasis' was released, in support of which the group again visited St. Petersburg. Currently, ‘Dead Can Dance' is preparing for a new series of concerts in Europe (schedule on the official website). The group does not plan to come to Russia.

Gerrard rarely sings songs in the usual sense of the term. Usually there are no lyrics in her compositions. She uses her voice as a complete musical instrument. At the same time, she herself plays various ethnic instruments. Lisa Gerrard is the mother of two daughters who were born in marriage to designer Jacek Tuszewski. Gerrard lives with his family on his own farm near the town of Moe in southeastern Australia. There she records her vocals in her own studio.

On August 26, 2022, Lisa Gerrard’s new album ‘Exaudia' was released co-authored with Marcello De Francisci.


Discography of Lisa Gerrard as part of ‘Dead Can Dance'

1. Dead Can Dance (1984)

2. Garden Of The Arcane Delights (1984)

3. Spleen And Ideal (1985)

4. Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun (1987)

5. The Serpent’s Egg (1988)

6. Aion (1990)

7. A Passage in Time — Compilation (1991)

8. Into The Labyrinth (1993)

9. Toward The Within (1994)

10. Spiritchaser (1996)

11. Wake — Compilation (2003)

12. DCD 2005 — Live Series (2005)

13. Anastasis (2012)

14. In Concert (2013)

15. Dionysus (2018)

Official site deadcandance.com

Solo discography of Lisa Gerrard:

1. The Mirror Pool (1995)

2. Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke — Duality (1998)

3. Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke — The Insider (Music From The Motion Picture) (1999)

4. Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard — Gladiator (Music From The Motion Picture) (2000)

5. Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard — Gladiator (More Music From The Motion Picture) (2001)

6. Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke — Ali (2001)

7. Whale Rider — Original Soundtrack (2003)

8. Christopher Gordon / Lisa Gerrard — Salem’s Lot (Original Television Soundtrack) (2004)

9. Lisa Gerrard & Patrick Cassidy — Immortal Memory (2004)

10. Lisa Gerrard & Jeff Rona — A Thousand Roads (Original Soundtrack To The Film) (2005)

11. The Silver Tree (2007)

12. Rheingold (Live At The Loreley) — Lisa Gerrard

13. Klaus Schulze feat. Lisa Gerrard — Rheingold (Live At The Loreley) (2008)

14. Klaus Schulze feat. Lisa Gerrard — Farscape (2008)

15. Michael Edwards & Lisa Gerrard — Ichi (Original Sound Tracks From The Motion Picture) ‎(2008)

16. Balibo (Music From The Motion Picture) (2009)

17. Lisa Gerrard With Klaus Schulze — Come Quietly (2009)

18. The Black Opal (2009)

19. Klaus Schulze Feat. Lisa Gerrard — Dziękuję Bardzo — Vielen Dank ‎(2009)

20. Klaus Schulze Feat. Lisa Gerrard — Hommage A Polska (2009)

21. Klaus Schulze Feat. Lisa Gerrard — Dziękuję Bardzo — Warsaw 25 Years Later (2009)

22. Cye Wood And Lisa Gerrard — The Trail Of Genghis Khan (2010)

23. Lisa Gerrard & Marcello De Francisci — Departum (2010)

24. Lisa Gerrard & Marcello De Francisci — In/Sight (Music From The Motion Picture) (2011)

25. Lisa Gerrard With Marcello De Francisci — Oranges And Sunshine ‎(2011)

26. Michael Stearns, Lisa Gerrard And Marcello De Francisci — Samsara (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2012)

27. Zbigniew Preisner featuring Lisa Gerrard and Archie Buchanan — Diaries Of Hope (2013)

28. Klaus Schulze & Lisa Gerrard — Big In Europe Vol. 1 Warsaw (2013)

29. Hans Zimmer, Lorne Balfe And Lisa Gerrard — The Bible (The Original Score Soundtrack To The Epic Mini Series) ‎(CD, Album) (2013)

30. Twilight Kingdom (2014)

31. Klaus Schulze & Lisa Gerrard — Big In Europe Vol. 2 — Amsterdam (2014)

32. Lisa Gerrard, Michael Allen — Wyld’s Call (Armello Original Soundtrack) ‎(2015)

33. Lisa Gerrard & Marcello De Francisci — Jane Got A Gun (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2016)

34. Lisa Gerrard and James Orr — 2:22 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) ‎(2017)

35. Lisa Gerrard and James Orr — Secret Bridesmaids' Business (Music from the Original TV Series) (2017)

36. Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares & Lisa Gerrard — BooCheeMish (2018)

37. Lisa Gerrard & David Kuckhermann — Hiraeth (2018)

38. Zbigniew Preisner, Lisa Gerrard, Dominik Wania — Melodies Of My Youth (2019)

39. The Mystery Of The Bulgarian Voices Featuring Lisa Gerrard — Shandai Ya / Stanka (2020)

40. Górecki, Lisa Gerrard, Genesis Orchestra, Yordan Kamdzhalov — Symphony No. 3: Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs (2020)

41. Lisa Gerrard & Jules Maxwell — Burn (2021)

42. Mark St. John Ellis with Lisa Gerrard — This Empty Vessel ‎(2021)

43. Lisa Gerrard and James Orr — West Of Sunshine (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2022)

44. Lisa Gerrard, Marcello De Francisci — Exaudia ‎(2022)

Individual recordings of Lisa Gerrard have been used in many films, not all of which have been officially released.

Official site lisagerrard.com


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