Diamanda Galas: The Litanies of Satan

The Litanies of Satan is the debut album by American avant-garde artist Diamanda Galás, released in the UK  by Y Records in 1982; it was released in the USA in 1989.

The text for “The Litanies of Satan” is taken from a section of Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire. According to the album notes the work “devotes itself to the emeraldine perversity of the life struggle in Hell.”

I have nothing but admiration for Diamanda Galas and her ferocious commitment to using her art to speak up for victims, whether that be victims of the Aids crisis, political injustice or war crimes. She is utterly unique and uncompromising in her presentation of her work. The energy and passion of it is indisputable.

I have been listening to her work for the past couple of weeks and considering her artistic courage and absolute refusal to produce within the narrow parameters of what is so wearyingly expected of women. She is bold and brave.

I found her work deeply upsetting and a difficult listen. I don’t know if I can go back to it. I am pleased to have heard it and to have spent some time with it but It has disturbed me greatly. Perhaps that is a good thing.