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Brendan Perry


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About Brendan Perry

Dead Can Dance released a total of nine albums including a live concert video album over a period of sixteen years to considerable public and critical acclaim. It was whilst writing what was to become their ninth studio album that it was mutually decided that Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard would end their musical collaboration as Dead Can Dance in order to pursue separate solo careers.

In 1997 Brendan scored the music for the film 'Sunset Heights' by the director Colm Villa. Set in the near future in Derry City, Ireland, it tells the story of two rival gangs and the people who become caught up in the ensuing violence.

Although Eye Of The Hunter was released in October 1999, Brendan began work on the album while Dead Can Dance were still active – the idea was inspired, in part, by his incredible solo performance during 4AD's 13 Year Itch celebrations at the ICA in 1993. Boasting lush production sensibilities and a boundary-defying spirit, Eye Of The Hunter offered an immediate familiarity to fans of Dead Can Dance's unique sound world. But there were difference in the manner the music was made, and also how it was presented.

Though Dead Can Dance employed vocals, the duo's goal was to express emotions beyond language. Their recording process was also open to improvisation, Brendan and Lisa letting the music lead them to its destination. In contrast, Eye Of The Hunter's vignettes were written – crafted – using a more traditional singer / songwriter process. The music, centered around Brendan's thoughtful and restrained guitar playing, provided a backdrop for his deep, gentle vocals. And while much of Dead Can Dance's work eluded categorisation, Brendan embraced it, making a folk record in the truest sense: these songs – each one its own story but each also contributing to an overall theme – were rooted in his life experiences.

Eye Of The Hunter was recorded at Brendan's Quivvy Church studio in County Cavan in Ireland. It's a relatively isolated setting – one which allows its owner space to pursue his interests, which range from music to astronomy and archery to arboriculture.

Dead Can Dance's music often suggested a search for meaning and sense in the world, and Brendan has taken up a similar journey. But instead of looking at the external world, he has decided to explore the inner world of his own private universe.

"People have multiple personalities which are always evolving," he says. "This record deals with the different facets of my own personality."

Eye Of The Hunter's deeply personal songs explore the theme of loss – both of life and love – but they are not bereft of hope. 'Saturday's Child,' which opens the record, poignantly describes the changing relationship between Brendan and his father after the latter suffered two debilitating strokes. 'Sloth' deals with time lost to anger, addiction and inertia, preventing us from achieving our true potential. 'The Captive Heart' deals with the attempt to keep love afloat over a long distance. A cover of Tim Buckley's 'Must Have Been Blind' features one of the record's more extravagant arrangements, with layers of pedal steel supporting Brendan's soaring vocals. An emotional centrepiece is the haunting, autobiographical 'Voyage of Bran'. Brendan Perry toured Europe and North America in support of Eye Of The Hunter.

Brendan's passion for percussion began to take root in the latter part of the 90's in the form of private workshops teaching Afrocuban and West African Manding percussion styles at Quivvy Church to international visitors. This in turn culminated in the creation of a community based Samba School, The Salamanders, which he set up to encourage local interest and involvement in Afro-Brasilian and Batucada rhythmic traditions.

In April 2003 he oversaw the creation of an international Samba festival in Belturbet, combining Capoeira and dance workshops, musical performance and cinema which helped to cement Belturbet's reputation as a centre for the arts in County Cavan.

In 2005 Brendan and Lisa briefly reformed Dead Can Dance for a final farewell world tour, headlining at The Hollywood Bowl and Radio City, New York, accompanied by a 40 piece chamber orchestra conducted by Jeff Rona. Two new songs were written especially for this tour, 'Babylon' an indictment of the US political war machine and 'Crescent' a life affirming ode to nature and the human spirit. Studio versions of these songs appear on Brendan's new album Ark which is due to be released in mid 2010.