Lisa Gerrard sings in what some christians might call 'tongues'. She sings in her own language - it's that simple!
Lisa Gerrard uses "her own" language.
Lisa Gerrard's lyrics in "Now We Are Free" have no language known to man. She uses her own "language" or glosalalia, similar to what young children use to talk or sing or what some pentecostal groups use to pray. At least this is how LG has described her process in many interviews. She has said she makes up the words as she goes along. Sort of like Jazz vocalists when they scat sing. My impression is that she finds doing this doesn't hamper the listener's ability to add their own experience with the song itself - words get in the way, kind of like now, for example.
I verified this in Lisa Gerrard's homepage.
Her stuff gets a tad repetitive after awhile for some (I myself find it absolutely beautiful, but then I'm a crazy Enya fan) you might recall her stuff in the sound tracks of a few movies - namely "the gladiator'....she from Melbourne originally - imagine her as a 'pub act'....but that's how she started out.
She's not a christian in case anyone wants to know...She borrows her sound from a wide range of ideas..including the arabic styles - yep Muslim culture.
Check it out ...it might intrigue you. I don't think she's singing in the same tongues as the revivalists/penties...but even the Revivalists weren't as weird as some other church groups who encourage singing in tongues. Of course to sing in the spirit (in Chartdoctor's view) would be to sing in tongues as if that's the only way to spiritually sing.
I think its a bloody good example of how the 'act' can be done by anyone who trains themselves in this very unsupernatural and extremely over-rated gift(?)
"The words are in my own internal language, and mean more than I could ever explain,"
The phonemes one uses when one sings, regardless of their meaning, alter the musical shading and tone quality of one's voice. We have to put our tongues in different positions, tighten or loosen different parts of our throats, change the shape of the inside of our mouth, close or open our lips, etc. For example, if I am singing "feet" my voice is going to sound very different than if I am singing "wow" at the same pitch and volume. As a violinist, I can tell you that the angle at which the bow touches the string, the pressure of the violinist's fingers, even the angle at which the instrument faces (or doesn't face) the audience are all used for different musical effects.
Well, a singer's instrument is her body. When she's singing predetermined words, she is limited in how she can alter the timbre and tone quality of her words. For example, she might want the bell-like clarity that can be achieved when producing an "oh" sound, but she if she's singing the word "please," she's just going to have to attempt the best she can with that vowel sound, despite the fact that it's a high, tense, front vowel. On the other hand, if she's not singing predetermined words, but rather shaping the sound the way an instrumentalist does, she's free to sing "oh" went she wants a more clear, open sound, or "ee" if she wants a more constrained, higher tension vowel sound. If she wants an emphatic, staccato sound, she can put in "t" sounds or "p" sounds.