Issued in 2007 on the 4AD label, THE BEST OF LISA GERRARD collects many of the finest tracks by the former Dead Can Dance vocalist/multi-instrumentalist. While the compilation includes a few tracks by that revered act, most notably the mystical "Yulunga (Spirit Dance)," a song that showcases Gerrard's striking voice, it primarily focuses on her solo work and film compositions, which both draw from music across the globe. On these pieces, Gerrard often collaborates with fellow Australian native Pieter Bourke, as on the passionate "Swans" and the expansive "Sacrifice," the latter from the INSIDER score. Although this anthology is a mere fraction of Gerrard's recorded output, it does serve as an excellent introduction to her impressive catalogue.
Scarcely three decades old, the enduring appeal of novelist Stephen King's horror oeuvre has already begun to foster remakes of the films and TV productions already based on his most popular works. This cable TV redux of King's 1975 tale of a small hamlet beset by vampires features an ominous, brooding orchestral and choral score that's a winning collaboration between newcomer Christopher Gordon and former Dead Can Dance mainstay cum film scorer Lisa Gerrard. The gothic seasoning she imparted to her previous collaborations with Hans Zimmer (most notably Gladiator) comes to the forefront on this score's haunting title aria (composed by Gerrard and partner Patrick Cassidy) and tracks like "Bloody Pirates" and "Free in Spirit." But it's the music of newcomer Gordon (Master and Commander) whose sheer scale and ambition belie the small screen format it was written for at nearly every turn.
Immortal Memory is a collaboration between vocalist Lisa Gerrard and Irish composer Patrick Cassidy. Billed as a cycle of life and death and rebirth, Immortal Memory is better described as an orphaned film score. Cassidy's warm arrangements allow the former Dead Can Dance singer to step out of the dark medieval world that she's called home for nearly 20 years – though there is much of that world within these castle walls – and focus on the simplicity of love, faith, and loss with a grace that's bereft of the icy perfection of her previous work. Gerrard, whose voice has aged like the finest oak, displays an almost supernatural mastery of the material. Her effortless contralto wraps itself around the ten Gaelic, Latin, and Aramaic spirituals like an evening prayer, making each stunning entrance the equivalent of audio comfort food.
One listen to Lisa Gerrard's The Silver Tree (originally available only digitally, then as an Australia-only import, and finally, as a U.S. release) is enough to convince anybody – who isn't already convinced – that there's a very specific reason she has been courted by directors to compose soundtracks. There are 13 tracks here full of wispy ambient soundscapes, on top of which the former Dead Can Dance vocalist places her almost otherworldly gift of a voice. Sung nearly as prayers or meditative mantras, Gerrard employs monosyllabic glimpses of other languages – and occasionally English – to create her own tapestry of dreams. Some may be tempted to call this "new age" music, but it's so much more melancholy than much of what passes for that trash, and it's nearly sacred in its approach to articulation, creating the feeling in places ("Come Tenderness," "The Sea Whisperer," and "Abwoon," to name a few) that she is actually singing inside a cathedral. In other places, such as "Wandering Star" and "Serenity," her voice offers a drone approach that is as subtle – yet powerful – as her instrumentation.
This ex-Dead Can Dance member imparts her own mixture of the ethereal, the worldly, the emotionally abstract, and the purely beautiful to all of her projects. She's been universally recognized and acclaimed for her body of work: she received a Golden Globe and was Oscar-nominated for the "Gladiator" soundtrack. She has also worked on such high profile movies as "Ali" and "The Insider". This release is a soundtrack for the New Zealand indie film "Whale Rider", already the biggest grossing film in New Zealand ever. Gerrard's music, combined with the motion picture, provides an experience of profound power and spiritual enlightenment.
After the success of Gladiator, it wasn't unusual to see director Ridley Scott turn to Hans Zimmer again for the score to Black Hawk Down, his fierce adaptation of Mark Bowden's account of the tragic 1993 American military intervention in Somalia. What was more surprising was the schedule Scott imposed on the German-born composer: 15 days to write, arrange, and record the film's nearly two hours of music. The results of Zimmer's miraculous two-week musical campaign not only belie those constraints; they instantly take their place alongside The Thin Red Line as some of the most compelling music he's produced. The gambit here is simple–portray the combatants as two warring tribes, with their native musics locked in a tense dance for domination.
Lisa Gerrard is an Australian musician, singer and composer who rose to prominence as part of the music group Dead Can Dance with music partner Brendan Perry. Since her career began in 1981, Gerrard has been involved in a wide range of projects. She received a Golden Globe Award for the music score to the film Gladiator, on which she collaborated with Hans Zimmer on such songs as "Now We Are Free." Gerrard released her third solo album, The Black Opal, in October 2009. The album included collaboration with Michael Edwards, Patrick Cassidy, Pieter Bourke and James Orr and was the first release to come from Gerrard Records.