Leila Bela's 'Angra Manyu' takes noise to new heights
By Dixie Ann Dalton, The Daily Cougar

Leila Bela, a senior theater major at the University of Houston, is working on her 63-track debut CD, Angra Manyu, an improve project-that consists of spontaneously written songs.

The songs range from five seconds to three minutes in length, and the entire album is approximately 75 minutes long.

It was originally 180 songs and I narrowed it down," Leila said. "It was all just happening, and it really needed to come out! I broke every rule in the record business."

The album's intensity may distract listeners, especially those who are not familiar with "noise" music, from Leila's intentions.

"This album is designed to blow your eardrums. I can get my voice very high pitched, " Leila said.

Angra Manyu is also a concept album that tells a story. The first song is an introduction, beginning with the words, "Once upon a time... ."

The track "M" consists of cello and violins and was recorded in 2002.

Leila played one violin, and the other instruments were performed by two other UH students. Several of the songs feature Leila singing opera-style.

Her cat, Loralie, was also featured during two of the tracks. " The funny thing is that she stopped when I stopped. She's definitely talented."

The only track with a guitar, " Listreuxe Grackle Inc.," consists of throat noise, as well as many instruments including Persian drums , chimes, spoons, forks and knives.

Leila has had some great accomplishments at UH. She was admitted to Edward Albee's play-wright class in 2001 and was also accepted into Sir Peter Hall's Shakespeare class the same year.

The aspiring thespian played Natalia in Three Sisters in 2001 and Lady Nijo in Top Girls in 2002.

Leila has been writing articles for periodicals and magazines since she was a teenager. Her first piece of work was a Nine Inch Nails article for the Public News. "They were playing at the Vatican that night and Trent Reznor approached me and was nice enough to give me an interview. He invited my friends and I to the very first Lollapalooza," Leila said.

She started working on her musical interests last year with plans to start a record label that would cater to avant-garde Christian musicians.

"My music is meant to make you think, freak out, and wake you up a little. It's a combination of world music and noise."

All of the instruments played on the CD are unplugged, or as Leila says, "organic."

Throughout her songs. Leila chants in, Iranian, Aramaic and English.

"Jesus is my ultimate hero, and my first idol. Gandhi is my second," she said.