King Cannibal and the Headhunter

King Cannibal and the Headhunter

king cannibal

Some years ago I was delighted and privileged to work with the talented and extreme vocaliser Vilbjorg Broch. Having played together at first in a casual way we quickly realised there was a meeting of minds that could be further explored and so the band (which was in fact just the two of us) was formed. King Cannibal and the Headhunter, the band name took its genesis from some very old texts we had discovered from ancient Egypt relating the mythology of the cannibal god Unas although some parts were not for the faint hearted……

excerpt from The Cannibal Hymn

The Pleiads are struck dumb by the sight of Unas

Who rises towards the sky, transfigured like a god,

Who lives off his father and eats his mother.

He is the bull of the sky; his heart lives off the divine beings;

He devours their intestines, when their bodies are charged with magic.

It is he who passes judgement, when the elders are slaughtered.

He is Lord over all meals.

He ties the sling with which he catches his prey,

He prepares the meal himself.

It is he who eats men and lives off the gods.

He has servants who execute his orders.

Skullgrabber catches them for him, like bulls with a lasso.

Headerect watches them for him and brings them to him;

Willow-croucher binds them

And tears their intestines from their bodies,

Winepresser slaughters them

And cooks a meal for him in his evening pots.

Unas swallows their magic powers

He relishes their glory.

It’s dark and intense but as musicians it challenged us to match that intensity. This piece was rendered using the full spectrum of the human voice from a nostalgic whisper to a full bloodied shriek. Augmented by a simple acoustic cello, all horsehair and wood, scratching and lamenting in the background.

The band expanded it’s vocabulary. Poems from the north, the myth of Odin, Indian cremation stories, and the music grew into a bestiary of sounds… the Turkish saz, old radios and a primitive DJ sampler.

In sharp contrast to the archaic texts we had been using we were surprised to find a very modern piece of writing which complemented the ancient repertoire. The great East German dramatist and poet, Heiner Müller, wrote the work ‘HamletMachine’ in 1977 which had it’s world premier two years later. It is based very approximately on Hamlet but consists of a series of monologues and doesn’t bother too much with plot or narrative direction. Hamletmachine has become the most well known and widely performed of all his works. Müller himself included the piece as a play within a play as part of his seven hour production of Shakespeare’s original work. King Cannibal and the Headhunter selected the monologue of Ophelia, a brilliant piece of writing which illuminated the dark inner world of Ophelia herself, something which Shakespeare does not really expose to the light in his own play.

Here is the King Cannibal version of Ophelia.

Vilbjorg Broch: Voice

Makmed the Miller: Electric Guitar, loops and samples.

(German original text and English translation below)

OPHELIA: Ich bin Ophelia. Die der Fluß nicht behalten hat. Die Frau am Strick Die Frau mit den aufgeschnittenen Pulsadern Die Frau mit der Überdosis AUF DEN LIPPEN SCHNEE Die Frau
mit dem Kopf im Gasherd. Gestern habe ich aufgehört mich zu töten. Ich bin allein mit meinen Brüsten meinen Schenkeln meinem Schoß. Ich zertrümmre die Werkzeuge meiner Gefangenschaft, den Stuhl den Tisch das Bett. Ich zerstöre das Schlachtfeld das mein Heim war. Ich reiße die Türen auf, damit der Wind herein kann und der Schrei der Welt. Ich zerschlage das Fenster. Mit meinen blutigen Händen zerreiße ich die Fotografien der Männer die ich geliebt habe und die mich
gebraucht haben auf dem Bett auf dem Tisch auf den Stuhl auf dem Boden. Ich lege Feuer an mein Gefängnis. Ich werfe meine Kleider in das Feuer. Ich grabe die Uhr aus meiner Brust die mein Herz war. Ich gehe auf die Straße, gekleidet in meinem Blut.

OPHELIA Willst Du mein Herz essen, Hamlet. Lacht.
HAMLET Hände vorm Gesicht: Ich will eine Frau sein.
Hamlet zieht Ophelias Kleider an, Ophelia schminkt ihm eine Hurenmaske, Claudius, jetzt Hamlets Vater, lacht ohne Laut, Ophelia wirft Hamlet eine Kußhand zu und tritt mit Claudius / Hamlets Vater zurück in den Sarg. Hamlet in Hurenpose. Ein Engel, das Gesicht im Nacken: Horaton. Tanzt mit Hamlet.
STIMME(N) aus dem Sarg: Was du getötet hast sollst du auch lieben.

Tiefsee. Ophelia im Rollstuhl. Frische Trümmer Leichen und Leichenteile treiben vorbei.

während zwei Männer im Arztkittel sie und den Rollstuhl von unten nach oben in Mullbinden schnüren:
Hier spricht Elektra. Im Herzen der Finsternis. Unter der Sonne der Folter. An die Metropolen der Welt. Im Namen der Opfer. Ich stoße allen Samen aus, den ich empfangen habe. Ich
verwandle die Milch meiner Brüste in tödliches Gift. Ich nehme die Welt zurück, die ich geboren habe. Ich ersticke die Welt, die ich geboren habe, zwischen meinen Schenkeln. Ich begrabe sie in meiner Scham. Nieder mit dem Glück der Unterwerfung. Es lebe der Haß, die Verachtung, der Aufstand, der Tod. Wenn sie mit Fleischermessern durch eure Schlafzimmer geht, werdet ihr die Wahrheit wissen.
Männer ab. Ophelia bleibt auf der Bühne, reglos in der weißen Verpackung.

English translation

I am Ophelia.

She who the river could not hold. The woman on the gallows The woman

with the slashed arteries The woman with the overdose ON THE LIPS SNOW The

woman with the head in the gas-oven. Yesterday I stopped killing myself. I am alone with my breasts my thighs my lap. I rip apart the instruments of my imprisonment, the Stool the Table the Bed. I destroy the battlefield that was my Home.

I tear the doors off their hinges to let the wind and the cry of the World inside. I smash the Window.

With my bleeding hands I tear the photographs of the men who I loved and who used me

on the Bed on the Table on the Chair on the Floor. I set fire to my prison. I throw my clothes into the fire. I dig the clock which was my heart, out of my breast. I go onto the street,clothed in my blood.

OPHELIA Do you still want to eat my heart, Hamlet.



Head in his hands:

I want to be a woman.

Hamlet puts on

Ophelia’s clothes,

Ophelia paints a whore’s mask on him,

Claudius, now

Hamlet’s father, laughs soundlessly,

Ophelia offers Hamlet her hand to be kissed and

steps with

Claudius/Hamlet Father back into the coffin.

Hamlet in pose of a whore. An

angel, the face in the back of the neck:

Horatio. Dances with Hamlet.

VOICE(S) from the coffin:

What you killed you should also love


Deep sea.


in wheelchair. Fish wreckage corpses and body-parts stream past.


While two men in doctor’s smocks wrap her from top to bottom in white bandages.

Here speaks Electra.

In the Heart of Darkness.

Under the Sun of Torture.

To the Metropolises of the World.

In the Names of the Victims. I expel all the

semen which I have received. I transform the milk of my breasts into deadlypoison. I suffocate the world which I gave birth to, between my thighs. I bury it in my crotch. Down with the joy of oppression. Long live hate, loathing, rebellion, death.

When she walks through your bedroom with butcher’s knives, you’ll know the truth.


About makmedthemiller

multidiscipline artist
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