Friday, January 16, 2004

ARAMAIC POP MUSIC: The Boston Globe reports on Australian singer Lisa Gerrard's newest album. Excerpt:

Gerrard's voice is otherworldly, and she often sings in unfamiliar languages -- some indigenous, some antiquated, some invented. In the mid-1990s, the writer/director Michael Mann asked her to write music for the film "Heat," and against all odds the uncompromising Gerrard has become a sought-after soundtrack composer, working on "The Insider," "Ali," and "Whale Rider,"among others, and receiving an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe for her score to "Gladiator."

Gerrard's new album, written and performed with the Irish classical composer Patrick Cassidy, comes out Tuesday. "Immortal Memory" grew out of "the desire to bring things from the ancient world into the contemporary world," Gerrard says on the phone from a London hotel."We've got a 6,000-year-old poem on the album, and it still resonates with the same compassion and beauty."

Gerrard spent long hours learning the phonetics of Gaelic -- in which she sings the first words, according to legend, uttered by a mortal in Ireland -- and Aramaic, so that she might perform the Lord's Prayer in the language Jesus spoke. It wasn't until they had finished recording that she and Cassidy realized that the album was a cohesive, thematic whole.

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