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Title: Jarboe  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Swans (band), Michael Gira, Alternative Tentacles, List of one-word stage names, Lustmord, Trevor Brown, Steven Severin, Paz Lenchantin, Attila Csihar, Jesu
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Background information
Birth name Jarboe La Salle Devereaux[1]
Also known as The Living Jarboe
Origin New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Genres Vocal, experimental, industrial, psychedelic folk, art rock, blues
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, keyboard, organ
Years active 1984–present
Labels Atavistic, Touch and Go Records, Revolver, Alternative Tentacles, Caroline, Neurot Recordings, The End Records, Season Of Mist
Associated acts Swans, Neurosis, Jesu, World of Skin

Jarboe (also known as Jane Jarboe, and the Living Jarboe) is an American singer-songwriter and keyboardist who came to prominence when she joined the New York City band Swans 1985. Having played the organ since childhood and had years of professional vocal training, she, with founder Michael Gira, were the two constant members of Swans until the group broke up in 1998.

Although she was absent from the group's lineup when the band reformed in 2010, she contributed background vocals and voice collage for the band's 2012 album, The Seer.[2] She has released numerous solo albums and collaborations, many of which have been self-published. She also co-composed the soundtrack of a horror game titled The Path.

Life and career

Though Jarboe has kept many details of her life private, she has divulged bits of information in interviews over the years. She was raised in New Orleans,[3] and as a child learned to play a Hammond organ[4] and studied opera at the insistence of her father, who hoped for her to have a career as a singer.[4] She has described her father, an employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, as "the ultimate law-enforcement man".[5]

Jarboe describes herself as "obsessed" with Swans since hearing their first album, Filth (1983).[5] She came into contact with Michael Gira and attended the band's practice sessions before, after several auditions, joining as a vocalist and keyboardist and debuting on Greed (1986). Prior to Swans, Jarboe's musical background had consisted of training as a jazz and choral vocalist.[6]

I had to unlearn proper singing technique and pronunciation. There is a tremendous difference between the vernacular of jazz and choral work and the way Michael Gira molded me. I think Michael Gira is the one who made me a ‘rock’ singer. He told me, ‘Drop your g’s.’ It’s not ‘going into,’ it’s ‘gonna go.’ ‘Drop your consonants and relax.’ He said to me, ‘You’re an American, sing like an American.’ He really ripped into my singing style and changed it around for me.[6]

Between 1985 and 1996, she worked as a vocalist and keyboardist in the band, appearing on albums including Children of God (1987), The Burning World (1989), and Soundtracks for the Blind (1996). Jarboe's inclusion in the band marked a departure from their previous noise rock sound to a more melodic industrial and even folk rock sound.[4] She also collaborated with frontman Gira, forming their side project, The World of Skin in 1987, releasing several albums and singles.

Jarboe left Swans in 1997 as the band broke up, and she embarked on a solo career, releasing various experimental records (many of which she has self-released and distributed over the internet)[3] including Sacrificial Cake (1991) and Anhedoniac (1998). She has continued to self-release solo albums, and, despite not returning to the group, recorded vocals for two tracks on the re-formed Swans' album, The Seer (2012).



Main article: Swans discography


  • Walls Cassette (1984, Public Domain Records)
  • Thirteen Masks (1991, SKY Records)
    • reissued in 2004
  • Red CD single (1991, Jarboe Records 75066)
  • Beautiful People Ltd with Lary Seven (1993, Sub Rosa Records 061)
    • reissued in 2004
  • Warm Liquid Event CD single (1993, Sub Rosa Records 064)
  • Sacrificial Cake (1995, Alternative Tentacles 167)
  • Anhedoniac (1998, self-released)
    • reissued in 2004
  • Disburden Disciple (2000)
  • Dissected (2002, self-released)
  • Process (2004, self-released)
  • A Mystery of Faith: Unreleased Pieces - Swans + World of Skin (2004)
  • The Men Album CD (2005, Atavistic Records 167)
  • The Conduit CD (2005, Atavistic Records 175)
  • Mahakali CD (2008, The End Records, Season Of Mist)
  • Durga CD (2009, self-released)
  • Alchemic CD (2010, Twilight Records)
  • Indemnity CD (2011, self-released)
  • A Symphony For Shiva Cassette (2013, Destructive Industries)


  • Skin - Blood, Women, Roses (1987)
  • Skin - Shame, Humility, Revenge (1987)
  • Skin - Girl Come Out (1987)
  • World of Skin (1988)
  • World of Skin - Ten Songs from Another World (1991)
  • Ignis Fatuus: Futility Goddess; Cache Toi/Encomium (1998)
  • Two Small Bodies : Soundtrack
  • Karma: Trance (1998)
  • Backworld: Isles of the Blest; Anthems from the Pleasure Park, (1999)
  • C17H19NO3: 1692/2092 Soundtrack
  • PBK - Life-Sense Revoked, (1996)
  • H.I.A.: Thunder Perfect Mind (Gallery Installation, ICA, London)
  • The Body Lovers : Number One Of Three, (1998)
  • Pfrenz-C: Dopamine Quest, (1999)
  • Jarboe/Telecognac - Over CD (2000, Crouton Records 007)
  • Thread - In Sweet Sorrow/Abnormal Love (2000)
  • Steven Severin - The Woman in the Dunes (2000)
  • Neotropic : La Prochaine Fois, (2001)
  • Karma : God Is Mine, (2002)
  • Blackmouth, (2000)
  • Blackmouth: Blackness Bleeding remixes (2000)
  • A Perfect Circle - Thirteenth Step (2003, Virgin Records)
    • (selected vocal embellishments on two tracks)
  • Neurosis & Jarboe - Neurosis & Jarboe (2003, Neurot Recordings)
  • Meridiem : A Pleasant Fiction (2004)
  • Kirlian Camera : Invisible Front. 2005 (2004)
  • Larsen : Krzykognia DVD (2003)
  • Nic Le Ban + Joshua Fraser : The Conduit (2005)
  • Nic Le Ban : Knight Of Swords / The Beggar (2005)
  • Cedric Victor : The End (2006)
  • The Sweet Meat Love And Holy Cult (in progress as of 2007)
  • Byla & Jarboe : "Viscera" (2007, Translation Loss Records)
  • Jesu : "Lifeline (Words/Vocals on "Storm Comin' On")" (2007)
  • Puscifer : "V" Is for Vagina
    • (Background vocal samples on "Trekka")
  • Dark Consort : with Cedric Victor (2008)
  • J2 CD (2008, The End Records ) with Justin K. Broadrick
  • Alchemic Heart CD (2011, Important Records ) with Vampillia

Compilation appearances

  • Nine Underground (1984)
  • Dry Lungs I and Dry Lungs II ( 1985, 1986)
  • Insane Music for Insane People (1986)
  • Mighty Risen Plea, (1990)
  • Serious Statements and Silly Symphonies ( 1991)
  • Shrine (1993)
  • Auron 1 : Musical Tomorrows (1993)
  • Alphabet City (1993)
  • A Far Cry, Featuring Women in Independent Music (1995)
  • Theme: Desire (1995)
  • We Hate You : A Small Tribute to Throbbing Gristle (1997)
  • The Carnival Within: A Tribute to Dead Can Dance (1998)
  • What Is Eternal (1998)
  • What's the Word, Vol. 1 (1999)
  • Pixies Fuckin' Die! (LifeLike Records, 1999)
    • Track 12 - Jarboe and The Trepaners - "Tame"
  • Summon Room (1999)
  • The Unaccompanied Voice (2000)
  • Zann (2000)
  • Apocalypse Always (2002)
  • VA Neurot Recordings 1, (2004)
  • Tribute to Dead Can Dance : The Lotus Eaters (2004)
  • Electronic Thisturbance (2004)
  • Rising Sun/Nuclear Free Future (2005)
  • Durtro /Medecins Sans Frontieres (2005)
  • Desert Dawn/Track 6 by Voids (Burial In The Sky) Featuring Jarboe (2013)

Guest appearances


External links

  • Jarboe's official site
  • Interview with Jarboe
  • Exhibition featuring Jarboe and Nic Le Ban
  • Discography
  • Jarboe interview (march 1996) for QRD
  • Jarboe interview (september 1999) for QRD
  • Website of The Path, a horror game with soundtrack by Jarboe
  • Jarboe Interview (Part 1) on
  • Jarboe Interview (Part 2) on

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