Since their inception in Melbourne in 1981, Dead Can Dance have been informed by folk traditions from all over Europe, not just solely in terms of instrumentation, but also by secular, religious and spiritual practices.
The story to their forthcoming album Dionysus took shape as Brendan Perry became fascinated by long established spring and harvest festivals that had their origins in Dionysian religious practices throughout Europe. The presence of the religion was suppressed during the ideological control of Christianity and Islam since the Roman Empire, and so the influence that Dionysus still had on these festivals would continue to manifest itself albeit in a more censored form.
Dead Can Dance’s latest album brings to the fore the rites and rituals that today continue to be informed by the Greek god, with the album’s seven movements representing different facets of the Dionysus myth and his cult.
The musical form of Dionysus is that of an oratorio, which has informed spiritual and secular pieces of music as far back as the early 16th century.
ACT I - Sea Borne announces Dionysus’ arrival from the east by ship. This movement is crucial to understanding Dionysus as an outsider god - ‘the god that comes’ - central to Ancient Greek city religions that affiliate him with the protection of those who do not belong to conventional society, and anything which escapes human reason.
ACT II - Liberator of Minds, with Dionysus being known as ‘he who lends men’s minds wings’, the album’s second movement conveys the use of hallucinogens and mind-expanding drugs that are associated with him as well as breaking free from the constraints of social norms within society.
Plan Your Evening
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Wang Theatre has housed the performing arts since opening in 1925, developing from a movie “cathedral” and home to vaudeville musicals and big bands, to today’s role as an impressive venue for world-class theatre, music, Broadway, and dance.