I was just freestyling a playlist at work today, and landed upon these two by veteran 4AD artists Dead Can Dance. The duo of Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard have been around since ’81, originally formed in Australia and relocated to London. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, you might recognize Gerard’s vocals from a few film soundtracks, like “Gladiator,” which she won a Golden Globe, and “The Insider.”
Dead Can Dance tend to fall comfortably in the world music category. But I find that geographical genre is just one factor in their sound. Time and era also play a significant role, particularly drawing inspiration and influence from traditional African rhythms, Gregorian chants, Gaelic folk, and Middle Eastern melodies. There’s also a soft bit of contemporary rock in there, but ever so subtly that it probably goes unnoticed.
“I Can See Now” and “American Dreaming” are traditionally performed together, as the former seamlessly segues into the latter. This time out, Brendan sings on both of them, his voice upfront, clear and powerful. And an acoustic guitar propels the rhythm, rooted somewhere in Americana folklore, always upbeat and euphoric.
Here’s both tracks from the 1994 live album “Toward the Within.”
“I Can See Now / American Dreaming” from Dead Can Dance’s 1994 seminal live album “Toward the Within.”