"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are" Anais Nin

Lisa Gerarrd – Heavenly Voices 1

Lisa Gerrard


Lisa Gerrard (born April 12, 1961) is an Australian musician, singer and composer who rose to prominence as part of the music group Dead Can Dance with former music partner Brendan Perry.

Her career began in 1981 and she has been involved in a wide range of projects. Gerrard received a Golden Globe award and an Academy Award nomination for the score for the 2000 film Gladiator on which she collaborated with Hans Zimmer. She also sings and is an instrumentalist for much of her work, most prolifically using the Yangqin (a Chinese hammered dulcimer).

Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke “Sacrifice”

Sanvean (I am your shadow) – vocals  from the album: The Mirror Pool

The Host Of Seraphim

Early life

Born April 12, 1961 in Melbourne, Lisa Gerrard grew up in the multi-ethnic suburb of Prahran with her Irish immigrant parents, where she was exposed to Greek, Persian, Turkish, Italian, Irish and Arabic cultures. Her upbringing in this diverse suburb had a large influence on her music, particularly on later Dead Can Dance albums and in her solo and collaborative work.


Dead Can Dance

Dead Can Dance originally formed as a quartet in 1981 in Melbourne, but in 1982 moved to London with members Brendan Perry, Lisa Gerrard and bass player Paul Erikson. Shortly after coming to England Erikson flew back to Australia, leaving the band as a duo. Dead Can Dance recorded eight albums on the 4AD Records recording label beginning with the 1984 LP, Dead Can Dance. The band split in 1998, but reunited in 2005 for a world tour.

Solo and collaborative career

In 1995 she recorded and released her first solo album, titled The Mirror Pool. After the release of this album, she continued to work with Dead Can Dance, releasing their final album, Spiritchaser, in 1996. Following this, in 1998 she recorded Duality in collaboration with Pieter Bourke. This would mark an extensive collaboration together for a number of film scores, including The Insider and Ali. Gerrard begin a new collaboration with Patrick Cassidy in 2004, marked by the release of Immortal Memory. Again, this collaboration was furthered in film work, including Salem’s Lot.

In 2006, Sanctuary, a documentary about the life and work of Lisa Gerrard, was recorded and was released in September 2006. It is the work of multi-skilled producer / director Clive Collier and features extensive interviews with Lisa Gerrard and various people who have collaborated and worked with her in the past including Michael Mann, Russell Crowe, Hans Zimmer and Niki Caro. It will be released on DVD by Milan Entertainment on April 24, 2007.

In the same year, Lisa Gerrard released her second solo album, titled The Silver Tree. This album was markedly different from her previous work and was also her first album released outside of 4AD. The album was first released on iTunes, with a wider physical release planned at a future date. The album was nominated for the Australian Music Prize for 2006. It is currently shortlisted as one out of nine of the best Australian albums. In 2007, a retrospective album, entitled The Best of Lisa Gerrard, was released covering her career in Dead Can Dance, solo work and film work. A total of 15 songs were compiled.

A world tour was undertaken in 2007 beginning in April in Melbourne, Australia. This tour marked the first time Lisa Gerrard has toured in Australia, with a performance in three cities. This tour was followed by performances in Europe and North America. More performances took place in Europe and Russia from October 30th to November 22nd 2007.[1]

In November 2007, Lisa Gerrard collaborated with German electronic musician Klaus Schulze on the double-album Farscape. The album was released July 27th, 2008 and followed with a European tour.

Vocal style

Lisa Gerrard is considered a contralto vocalist.[2] Her vocals have been variously described as rich, jaw-dropping, unique, deep, dark and mournful.[3] [4] [5] Her range spans from contralto to mezzo-soprano on such songs as “The Host of Seraphim”, “Elegy” and “Space Weaver”. [6] [7] On the other songs “Sanvean” and “Sacrifice,” Gerrard performs in the deep contralto range.[8][9]

Gerrard sings many songs in a language of her own invention, which she has developed since age twelve. She thinks of it as “speaking to God.”[10]

Film career

Lisa Gerrard’s first experience in composing music for a film came with the 1989 Spanish film El Niño de la Luna, directed by Agustín Villaronga. The film score was composed by Dead Can Dance and the film featured Lisa Gerrard in her first acting role. El Niño de la Luna describes the story of a young orphan with special powers, David, escaping an institution with the help of a fellow institute inmate, Georgina, played by Lisa Gerrard. Gerrard participated in a number of scores but came to fame as a film composer after recording The Insider in 1999, with Pieter Bourke, and Gladiator in 2000, with Hans Zimmer. In 2005 she collaborated with Ennio Morricone for Fateless followed by On an Ocean for the Henry Poole is Here score, with Jeff Rona. Lisa (along with Dead Can Dance) also did a number of contributions to the soundtrack of Baraka, a visual journey showcasing mankind’s impact on our planet.

She was also invited by Denez Prigent to collaborate with him on his piece “Gortoz a ran – J’attends” (meaning “I await”). A piece that was later used in the soundtrack of Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down.


Dead Can Dance


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