Updated Friday,9June2023-23:52

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  • Sónar Festival Journey to the back of Björk's mind
  • Exhibition Surrealism as an object of desire: from Dalí to Björk
  • Film When Björk was a witch

"I'm Björk, Björk Gudmonsdortir... Gundesmortir... Gustinmondir... I have this peculiar surname because I am Icelandic... Half Lappish, half Eskimo... half Mongolian," began Joaquín Reyes in one of the most memorable celebrities of Muchachada Nui, more than a decade ago. "I composed a different personality," the parody continued. "Come on, I'm basically half merilota and I do what I want. My head goes away and I do things as they come to me, to the gornú".

Björk Gudmundsdottir effectively does whatever she wants. She dressed like a swan and walked an egg on the red carpet at the Oscars, ate a sweater on the set of Dancing in the Dark as a protest against Lars von Trier's tyranny, sewed pearls into her body in the Pagan Poetry video and, well, has dressed like an alien for 30 years. In the endless caricature of each of her activities, even a British magazine (Homes and Antiques) chose her as the most eccentric person in the world in 2006.

This worldwide fame as a strange character proves one important thing: that in addition to being peculiar, Björk is immensely known. And that's the most extraordinary thing about this 57-year-old who is not just a pop singer, but an artist: she has maintained a successful career since her debut, in 1993, being rigorously strict in her ambition to make popular songs as an elevated creative form, with the capacity for depth and cultural resonance that we attribute to masterpieces of writing. figurative art, cinema or theater. Björk is, of all pop musicians, the best and most beautiful example of art.

And the maximum expression of his artistic conception of music is the Cornucopia tour, which will arrive at the WiZink Center in Madrid on September 4, after 48 concerts since it began in 2019. This show between the music concert, the theatrical assembly and the artistic performance takes care of every detail as if it were an ambitious opera, with the participation of an army of collaborators in music, scenography, costumes, lighting, projections ...

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Björk's spell and Arctic Monkeys' thunder, two ways of understanding music and life

  • Editor: PABLO GIL São Paulo

Björk's spell and Arctic Monkeys' thunder, two ways of understanding music and life


Doa Barney, daughter of Björk and Matthew Barney, an ode to extravagance and creativity

  • Writing: JAVIER BLÁNQUEZ Barcelona

Doa Barney, daughter of Björk and Matthew Barney, an ode to extravagance and creativity

A stage inspired by the bulbous forms of the fungi kingdom and the cosmos, between the tiny and the immensity, embraces Björk and her musicians: the Icelandic choir Hamrahlid, formed by 50 singers, a flute septet, an electronic producer, percussions, two pipe organs like those of a cathedral, a xylophone-synthesizer, an aluphone, a piezoelectric violin, A harp whose steel strings interact with magnetic fields and various custom-made instruments such as a set of four joined flutes that can only be played by four people at the same time. On stage there is also a reverb chamber and all this is wrapped by a curtain of threads on which digital projections are played. The costumes are designed by Olivier Rousteing, creative director of the Balmain house, and the stage direction is by the film director Lucrecia Martel.

The interview proposal came with two conditions: it had to be by email and the answers had to be reproduced in full. In return, we propose a small game: start with three questions equal to those I asked her in 2001 for the book Pop after the end of pop (Rockdelux) to see how Björk has changed in these more than 20 years, which is little:

He often differentiates musicians between cowards and brave. Why do you place so much importance on courage when creating or performing music? I think this may be one of those times when my humor doesn't translate... Hmmm... But obviously there are different kinds of bravery... Courage not to conform, courage to have the discipline to practice with your instrument many hours a day, courage not to rely on the comfort of home or family when carrying out projects, and on the contrary: courage to support you in family and friends when carrying out projects ... What I'm trying to say is that it's pretty abstract. But it's something I feel when I hear a musician who stagnate, or leans on genres, or workaholism or other crutches. What I try, as a way of thanking the musicians who have not fallen into those traps, is to stay away from them also to feed someone in turn.

[He said in 2001: "I led a very happy kind of life in Iceland, everything was wonderful. And in that life there were things that fed me, that made me feel alive: some books, movies and music. They were works created by people who had sacrificed a lot of things to be able to give that to others. I felt that I would be deceiving people if I stayed the rest of my life quietly there, without taking any risks and settling for enjoying the risks that others had acquired. When I left Iceland at the age of 27 with my son it was a huge sacrifice. I need a little courage for this, really."]

Björk during a concert in Tokyo last March. Santiago FelipeGettyShe is often described as an avant-garde artist. Do you consider yourself an avant-garde artist?Hmm... It's a trick word, I don't think anyone puts this label on voluntarily... I suppose avant-garde means something like "close to" or "ahead of," or some kind of proximity to a center... but the center of what? I think all musicians would like to think that their work is the center and not what is "close to" or on the periphery of anything... But there is no center, there are as many centers as musicians and listeners... The few moments when you feel like you've made good music you feel right at home.

[In 2001 she said, "I don't see myself as an avant-garde artist. It's a bit weird, avant-garde... I think that in general people have more eccentric tastes than they confess. In my opinion everyone is eccentric. I like individuality more than avant-garde. Avant-garde sounds too programmed to me, and I've never tried to be weird. We all have little quirks and some carry them very well and are open with them. Well, I think I'm more open than average about those quirks."]

His albums can be interpreted to some extent as diaries, in them he distills many thoughts and personal experiences. Is it necessary to put the heart into the songs? I don't think it's necessary... I believe that all music has the right to exist, with or without a heart.

[He said in 2001: "There are several places where I can't document how I feel; They are diffuse, and I like that they are. It's something I can't control. Sometimes, if something amazing happens to me, I need to tell a friend. Other times, however, I need to write a song. In those cases I don't tell anyone else. But I always put my heart into the songs, of course."]

One of the recurring adjectives to describe her as an artist is "unique", in the sense of incomparable. Is it a deliberate quality, is it important to you? I think it's a blind spot, something about me that I can't see from the outside... He takes care of every detail of his concerts so that they become a total artistic action, something that I think reaches its best example in the Cornucopia tour: does the concert work as an ephemeral work of art that only lasts an hour and a half and then fades away? Thank you. It's a great compliment. I thank you. Obviously, I've been going to concerts since I was a kid and I love the interaction of sound with the listener and what it provokes in the ears, heart and soul combined at that moment. It can be something magical and transformative. Obviously, all musicians aspire to it: sometimes we succeed, and often we don't... But I love the format of the concert, it's one of my favorite things. Cornucopia is her most theatrical show, reminiscent of her on-and-off work as an actress, which she recently reprised in The Man from the North. Has it been a frustration for you not to develop your work as an actress more? The few times I tried acting I found it very boring and not as immersive and satisfying as being in the middle of a song. I always felt a bit like a fish out of water. Speaking of the expression in Cornucopia, the good thing about the concert is that you can juxtapose the songs with an emotional structure in their order, and that brings out the interpreter in me. It is a part of the musicality that both violinists and pianists have, the performative aspect... But it's without language and, in many ways, it's a celebration to finally be free of words in a world of sound. He has always been attracted to technology. Do you think Artificial Intelligence is a new tool for musicians or a threat? Have you tried working with her? I believe that, like most tools, the bad thing is not the tool itself, but what is done with it. Every time man invents something new, the moral question arises of how it can be used for good or evil, and there is no answer that is black or white. It doesn't matter if it's fire, the phone, the Internet or artificial intelligence. The same riddle always arises: it is not the tool, but what is done with it.Do you consider your albums independent of each other or do they form a continuous work that maintains relationships and connections?Hmm... Both... There is both a chronological order and some little stories that repeat themselves through the albums between songs, such as Pagan Poetry and Losss, Arisen My Senses and Ovule, Isobel and Bachelorette. I'm always working on something, but slowly and surely. Now it is too early to describe it. Nature is one of the great themes of his music and one of his great concerns. What message do you think is important to convey today about climate change? That it's not too late. Act now. Spend more time outdoors. After 40 years of writing songs and making music, what do you think are your greatest strengths and weaknesses as a creator? My enthusiasm. He uses his lyrics to explore his feelings and identity. How do you work on them? My lyrics go through various levels of exposure, although it probably doesn't seem like it because they're pretty straightforward. I dedicate a lot of time to them and try to find the moment when they shine, between the veil and the exposure, in an expression that I hope will be universal.

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