Lorelei e Durga McBroom: “We tell you our Pink Floyd”

Lorelei e Durga McBroom insieme a Rachel Fury in tour con i Pink Floyd nel 1989: a sinistra a Venezia e a destra a Mosca


Lorelei and Durga McBroom got amazing voices that have led them to sing with all the sacred monsters of music, but probably in the collective memories they are mostly remembered for having been for several years the backing vocals of Pink Floyd (Lorelei in 1987 and 1989, Durga from 1987 onwards, in addition to having participated in the albums Delicate Sound of Thunder, The Division Bell, Pulse and The Endless River).
Many people still have in their eyes the incredible images of the concert of July 15th, 1989 in Piazza San Marco, Venice. Well, in that historic evening they were there, on stage with David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright.
We met them in the occasion of a concert with 3D (Davide Devito, Davide Repele and Davide Pezzin) at the Jazz by the pool festival in Abano Terme, where they were able to show off all their vocal skills in a setlist that varied among jazz, swing, funk and fusion, with a final in which they gave the audience an unforgettable performance of The Great Gig in The Sky.
With Lorelei and Durga we had a long chat about their collaboration with Pink Floyd, the memories related to their concerts and about the works on the band’s last album, The Endless River.
Enjoy the reading!

How did your collaboration with Pink Floyd start?

Lorelei: I was working with the producer of their videos, he contacted me and said “Pink Floyd are coming to the United States and want to add some singers. Can you help me? Do you want to do it?” I said “Of course I want!”. Durga was in New York with me, working on an album I was recording, plus I have met another girl few weeks before that, who was a singer and I said “Here we go”. I gave him a picture of the three girls and a recording of Durga and I, Pink Floyd listened to that and they said “Yes, you got the job”. And they flew us to Atlanta and told us which songs they wanted us to learn, taken from A Momentary Lapse of Reason album. When David Gilmour came out with his guitar to review we didn’t know how he looked like, we didn’t realize what was going on until obviously he started to play the music. Then he asked us “Do you want to sing in the show tonight?” and we said “Yes!”. The rest is history.
Durga: Because we were supposed to watch the show the first night and then record the next couple of months but he said “You sound great. Do you want to start now?” and we didn’t want to look stupid saying “no, we’re not ready” so we said “Ok” and we were so excited.
Lorelei: The opportunity to sing with Pink Floyd was a big deal for both of us because we knew the music. Dark Side of The Moon  had a big effect on me when I was growing up because it came out when I was a teenager and I loved it, so it seemed to be in heaven.

It’s strange, because sometimes you think that before a tour like this there are months of rehearsals with all the band, but you went there once and David asked you to play with them the same night.

Lorelei: It was very quick, we didn’t have a lot of rehearsals, just one with the band and then the show.
Durga: And that was our first tour. Before that I played in rooms with maybe three or four hundred people and then we walked directly in front of 15.000 people.
Lorelei: And that was a small show for them, compared to the one here in Venice and with the average of the tour, which was about 70.000 people every night.

Since you mentioned it and we’re near Venice I have to ask you which are your memories of that concert.

Lorelei: Oh God, so many beautiful memories. Of the show I remember a funny thing for me and was the cameraman that was very close to my face. I was pretending he wasn’t there because he was really bothering me. Imagine you’re singing and there’s somebody right here in your face, but I played it as well. This was kinda funny. Apart from this, to see the people was beautiful.
Durga: Normally everyone in the audience has the amazing show, but that time the band had something amazing to see too, because in front of the stage there were all those gondolas and little boats with candles and lights and then Piazza San Marco with 350.000 people hanging on the buildings, everywhere you could see. It was so beautiful. And for us as well, the sound going across the water was really nice. I remember hearing myself singing The Great Gig In The Sky that night was really nice because I could here the voice going across the water and it was really beautiful.
Lorelei: And then I loved at the end of Great Gig there were the lasers fading and they waited forever just to see that beautiful light and the clouds looking all over the people. It was gorgeous.

I’ve read in another interview that you are willing to collaborate with Roger Waters.

Durga: Of course I want. Are you kidding?

You know that among the most of Pink Floyd fans there is always a sort of fight between David’s fans and Roger’s fans for who’s the best, who’s more “Floydian” and so on.

Durga: Oh, I’ve never heard about that. It’s only been 30 years (laughs).

What you like most about Roger?

Durga and Lorelei: Lyrics. Absolutely great lyrics.

I always say when I get into these “fights” between fans that Pink Floyd are like a chair with four legs and if you take off one of them it’s not the same and the chair can’t stand anymore.

Durga: Totally agree. Look at the persons, at the human beings: you have two parents. If you remove one parent, that’s half of the genes, you would not be the same person, you would be a clone.
Lorelei: Also keep in mind that Roger has more to do with the foundation of Pink Floyd because he was there before David. David came in later and took on this role because Syd couldn’t continue and I think that if he had only been a solo artist he may have had a completely different career. He’s very talented, there’s no question about it, but the political structure, the emotional hooks that Roger putted in Pink Floyd’s music I think came from him. And there’s another part that people don’t consider very much, which is Richard Wright: he had a huge impact that people take for granted, they don’t realize how much his keyboards and addition into Roger’s writing affected the music.
Durga: And Nick too. I mean, people think Nick is a really simple drummer and I always tell them “Oh, you think so? Try to play exactly like him” and they can’t do it. He has a feel because he comes from a jazz background that a lot of rockers don’t have and it makes what he plays very very unique. He just played on a song on my new Blue Pearl album and it’s so Nick. It’s amazing the way he fits the song, I’m really happy with it.

Durga, you are also on The Endless River, the last Pink Floyd album. There aren’t so many “behind the scenes” details about that, maybe because it’s mainly taken from older sessions.

Durga: No no no no no no. Wrong! It’s not just older stuff. Some of the original parts started from older ideas but it has gone through so many changes and so much development since then. Youth, which was my partner in my band Blue Pearl, came on as co-producer and breathed new life into the project so it really changed and grew a lot from where it started. Only a little tiny bit of The Division Bell’s jam sessions is on The Endless river. A lot more that is taken is a tribute to Richard Wright, from things that he did and adding to that, like the part I did. I came to meet with Youth about the Blue Pearl album, we were recording some songs and he said “Can you keep a secret? I’m co-producing a new Pink Floyd album and nobody knows this. I told David you were coming in and he was not sure because it was supposed to be completely instrumental”, and then he said “whatever, you’re here, so why not? Let’s just record some stuff. We’ll play for him and see what happens”. I sang on three songs, he loved everything I did and one of the songs became Louder Than Words. Can I tell you something? It’s one of the only Pink Floyd’s album I actually listen to because we never performed it. I’ve heard everything else so many times and, on top of that, when I travel to work with other tribute bands they always think it’s a great idea, when they pick me up at the airport or at the train station, the first thing in the car is putting on Pink Floyd and they think it’s like the only thing I want to listen to. I don’t know anybody in the band that listens to Pink Floyd music for fun anymore, because we hear it for work all the time, but The Endless River is the only exception.

I would like to know from you a good memory and a bad one about working and touring with Pink Floyd.

Lorelei: I don’t have bad memories. My experience was very positive. I loved Russia, we played in Moscow and that was my favourite, because the people were so hungry for the music. They didn’t have money, there was still the Soviet Union and they were just so emotional, it made all of us cry. When we sang Money they threw money at the stage. It was just spectacular to know that we made the people so happy because that’s what we do it for. You’ve seen the famous picture of us with the Russian hats. It was so beautiful.
Durga: And even more not just the people. By the end of the show the KGB and the Russian Army, that were doing security, were crying and throwing their hats on the stage. That was pretty intense.
Lorelei: I would say that part of the reason that Pink Floyd was an even more positive experience is because they don’t have their pictures on the album covers, so they were hard to recognize. When I toured with the Rolling Stones they had the hell out every hotel and we had to leave always from the back, so it’s a completely different mentality. I think that with Pink Floyd was much more humble and easier as they take it like normal people. David is a naturally shy person. Nick is very funny.
Durga: Nick is one of the funniest persons ever. He could be a stand-up comedian. I’m serious. He’s hilarious and so funny and really really a sweet man.

I think it’s difficult to be shy and play in front of thousand people.

Lorelei: Oh, there’s a lot of people like that. Michael Jackson was one of them. I met Michael at the Grammys, he was very very shy. I mean, he was afraid of people. I turned around and he was standing behind me. I’ve been performing with everybody and I said “Hi, you know you’re wonderful, bla bla bla” then all these other people started coming, Whitney Houston was there and Michael said “Whitney, please get me out of here”, and she took him. But his later performance made us cry, he did Man In The Mirror and he started jumping up and leaning on his knees. He was afraid of dealing with people because sometimes people are weird.
Durga: When you meet people and you say “Hi, I’m Durga” and they start crying, it’s strange. I had a guy that used to send me e-mails where he was sending photographs of breakfast, like pancakes, and he said “look Durga, I made you pancakes”. But I can only imagine somebody like Michael. I mean, you get obsessive fans, they want to consume you, they want to be so close to you that they wonder like to kill you and bath in your blood. I’m serious, so I don’t blame him for being afraid of people.

And something like this already happened with John Lennon. I think that maybe sometimes people demand something from you.

: Especially with social media now people think “oh, we’re great friends”. I don’t even know how you look like ‘cause your profile picture is a dog. And they come in like “Hi, don’t you know who I am?”.
Lorelei: They see into our lives so they feel like a part of it. That’s a part of celebrity that can be difficult, but on the other side you meet a lot of great people and we get paid to do what we enjoy.


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