Dead Can Dance

Dead Can Dance is a band of Australian origin, which combines influences from very different ethnic musical styles to his own style.


The music of Dead Can Dance processed elements of rock, neo-classical, medieval music and world music, preferably from eastern European and Arab cultures. The instrumentation of the songs includes, among other African percussion, Australian didgeridoo, Asian string instruments, guitars and European electronic tone generator. The vocal cast contrasts Brendan Perry's soft, deep voice with Lisa Gerrard's bright, onomatopoetischem singing. Gerrard not usually sings in a real-world language, but formed with her ​​voice intuitive, the music untermalende sounds. Perry sings in English, most mysterious and poetic acting texts.

Biography and musical development


Gerrard alto and baritone Perry, both Anglo -Irish descent, met in 1980 in Melbourne, Australia. Both appeared as a musician on in pubs. The multi-ethnic environment in the district of East Prahran, where they both lived began to influence their musical style. Together, the two musicians worked casually in a Lebanese restaurant to earn money for a move to London. 1981 founded Brendan Perry, Lisa Gerrard, Paul Erikson, and Simon Monroe Dead Can Dance. The driving force was Perry, who pursued the concept of an artist collective with changing musicians. Since the musicians but could not permanently satisfy his demands, the group on Perry and Gerrard reduced. Gerrard had initially not interested to work in a fixed formation, but frequently supported Perry and his group, they on the Chinese Yangqin with instrumental accompaniment and preferably the background vocals contributed. The first joint piece in which Gerrard sang the lead vocal, was the impromptu Frontier, which, however, already anticipating all the style elements of the group: the non- lyrical, phonetic vocals from Gerrard, atmospheric electronic sound structures associated with acoustic instruments, even here the yangqin.

Moving to London

1982 attracted both frustrated by the Australian music scene, to London. Perry hoped there to a record deal. In the early years, however, the musicians lived once unemployment assistance. During this time they recorded several demo tapes to force the desired recording contract. After two years they met with Ivo Watts - Russell, who had three years earlier a small independent label called 4AD. Watts - Russell was one of the demos in hand, where he was particularly impressed by the piece Frontier immediately. But lack of money the label, it took a while to a collaboration came about. In November 1983, the group one of the Peel Sessions recorded at the BBC. In March 1984, appeared, with the help of various guest musicians, the first album, Dead Can Dance, the style is based on the post-punk and gothic rock sound of the early 1980s and the essential elements of Ethereal, such as verhallene guitar sounds, and world music anticipated. The name of the work is to symbolize the to - life - awakening of dead or forgotten objects and is an allusion to the use of medieval instruments. The cover adorned with a ritual mask from New Guinea, which was to represent visually the title: The mask was initially part of a tree that was to inanimate matter. However, the skill of the manufacturer gave the mask their own vitality for the ritual use. This transformation of animacy in lifelessness and lifelessness in animacy should embody the core of their music experience. The recording of the album proved to be difficult, since Perry and Gerrard were not satisfied with the modest technical music recording facilities in the small eight-track studio. With the sound of their first phonogram both could never get used therefore.

After they had contributed two pieces to the first album of the 4AD - musicians This Mortal Coil, Dead Can Dance took on in the same year the 12 " EP Garden of the Arcane Delights. Just one year later, with Spleen and Ideal, the second album, which reached a No. 2 ranking in the British independent charts. The album, whose title borrows from the first part of Fleurs du Mal of the French symbolists Charles Baudelaire, was produced by John Rivers, who could be the tonal requirements of the duo meet. The album marked, with the exception of titles such as Avatar and The Cardinal Sin, the move away from electric guitars and the move to acoustic instruments such as cello, timpani and trumpets.

Within the Realm of a Dying Sun

Dead Can Dance in 1986 went on an extensive tour and released a year later their third album Within the Realm of a Dying Sun, a landmark for neo-classical work, in which Perry and Gerrard divided up the song according to the two sides of the album. The plate was again produced by Rivers, with Perry even now mitübernahm producer responsibility. This influence Perry's approach is clearly reflected in a warmer, more organic sound production. Perry wanted to finally turn away from classic rock models. He dealt increasingly with classical music, which interested him especially the Baroque with its contrapuntal structures. The two musicians decided to work in the future only with classical instruments that should be but now accompanied by samplers and computers. The new influences were implemented in 1988 appearing fourth release The Serpent 's Egg. The hypnotic atmosphere of this recording showed the cinematic potential of the compositions. It was therefore no coincidence that the film industry began to be interested in their work. That same year, Gerrard and Perry wrote the soundtrack to the film El niño Agustí Villaronga de la luna ( Moon Child ), in which Gerrard had her acting debut.


1990 saw the first tour of the United States. That same year, Dead Can Dance released their fifth album with the style similar to Plato's philosophical concept title Aion, which reflects more interest in Renaissance music than any other recordings. It contains Gregorian chant and traditional songs medieval instruments such as hurdy-gurdy and bagpipe. Aion also attests to a vocal development of the two vocalists. In 1991 he was a first retrospective entitled A Passage in Time, which also contained two new tracks (Bird and Spirit ). The compilation can now also be the musical development become clear that builds on each other, without having to repeat stylistically.

Into the Labyrinth

In September 1993, Into the Labyrinth, the stronger than before combined electronic elements with world music appeared. That same year, Perry and Gerrard contributed new and old pieces in to the U.S. film Baraka and took two pieces with the ambient Hector Zazou on Nestor (Sahara Blue ). The live album Toward the Within, which appeared a year later and was included on the U.S. tour contained, mainly previously unreleased tracks.

Solo, Spiritchaser and separation

1995 Perry began on a solo album to work, which should be finished until four years later ( Eye of the Hunter, 1999). Even Gerrard began working on a solo album, which was, however, published in the same year at 4AD (Mirror pool). While Perry more oriented toward folk music and acoustic guitar, the album Gerrard consisted mainly of orchestral pieces, including a version of Handel's Largo from Xerxes. Mirror pool contained pieces that had been created in time with Dead Can Dance, but not used.

On the album released in 1996, Dead Can Dance Spiritchaser is moving more in the direction of Afro-Caribbean music. It dominated rhythmic structures, performed by up to ten percussion players. Perry was the musical mastermind even at this last album together. He developed the musical vision and structured joint work.

On 9 December 1998 they separated for any reason whatsoever, the band was dissolved. The only comment for the separation comes from Lisa Gerrard. On your site a long time was under the title The Dead Can Dance Statement of the sentence: " When fear comes to where love shoulderstand be, it 's time to move on".

Gerrard then also began with various collaborations ( for example with Pieter Bourke, Patrick Cassidy, Denez Prigent, Ennio Morricone or Klaus Schulze ) and launched a Golden Globe and two nominations -winning career as a film music composer ( for example Gladiator with Hans Zimmer, The Insider and Ali with Pieter Bourke, Whale Rider ). Perry now lives in Ireland ( Cavan Eire) is the head of a samba school ( Quivvy School of Samba) and are occasional percussion workshops in the old Dead Can Dance Studio ( Quivvy Church). In addition, he published more music - albeit at great distances - which he himself writes in the home studio, play, record and produce.

Reunification, Anastasis

2003 was published album with Wake a "Best Of", in addition to recordings of John Peel session with The Lotus Eaters also the last common piece of Dead Can Dance ceased should actually be part of a new album.

In the spring and autumn of 2005 was surprisingly a common European and North American tour, rather than as Dead Can Dance, when with Saffron, Yamyinar, The Love that Can not Be, Crescent, Minus Sanctus and Hymn for the Fallen also new songs by both composers were played. There were rumors about a reunion. After this very successful tour Lisa has also in several interviews, that it was a one-off action in joint appearances, and there would be no new joint publications as Dead Can Dance. You and Brendan Perry would have to be very musically apart over the years and the differences had become irreconcilable.

On 12 May 2011, however, Brendan Perry announced in its official forum that for the coming winter to record a new album was scheduled to be released until summer 2012. Then the end of 2012 to be followed by a detailed, two-month world tour.

Since September 2011, an EP called can Live Happenings - Part 1 can be downloaded for free from the band's homepage.

Beginning of August 2012 appeared with Anastasis ( Greek, resurrection ') after 16 years break, the first joint album as Dead Can Dance. It rose in Germany directly into the top 10 charts. Musically, however, the work builds rather to Brendan Perry's second solo album Ark of which was published in 2010 with eleven years of distance on the first album, because the last joint publication Spiritchaser (1996). In the instrumentation synthesizer outweigh modulated with strings and brass. Instrumentation and rhythm are kept homogeneous. The singing of the eight tracks changes per song between Perry and Gerrard. The interspersed world music elements refer to Near and Far East, and North Africa. The reviews were from predominant behavior. The sound was described as "from cover to cover styled meditation sound ", which let miss any innovation. There conquer the " high-gloss aesthetic of blockbuster soundtracks ." The Chicago Tribune ruled the album was less bold and daring as their best works in many ways.