Rescued From The Fire: Zola Jesus on Diamanda Galas

An ongoing series in which we ask artists the record they’d risk life and limb to save from a burning inferno

In the event of a house fire, I would save the record "Litanies of Satan" by Diamanda Galas. This record I found in a local record shop in Madison, Wisconsin called Good Style. It was pretty much the most unexpected find I could have ever found in Madison, let alone anywhere in the world. The record itself has played an immense role in helping me overcome my tainted relationship with my voice after a debilitating 10 years of vocal training.

The Litanies of Satan - Diamanda Galas

When I discovered Diamanda, she showed me the other side of the voice, and that it doesn't have to fit a certain mold or even be used to recite 18th century operas. By that time I was already so frustrated with my voice not being what I wanted it to be, I would scream just to damage it, to unlearn my studies. But Diamanda made me realize what you could do with that training, or with even no training at all. Also that record in particular is such an unsettling one. She's not even in the room, yet has this force over you and the needle. It's completely awe-inspiring.

By Nika Roza Danilova on September 8, 2011

On a different note