Archive for the ‘Icelandic’ Category

Violently Happy

October 31, 2007


Once upon a time, an angel found herself on an island located somewhere in the northern Atlantic ocean. Realizing she could not escape earth’s gravity (or perhaps she didn’t want to), she decided to have some fun while she was here. So she communed with the earth, adopted the local customs, and decided to be an artist. Although she has made the best of it, she often finds herself in a state of melancholy. This is painfully obvious when you look into her eyes, or listen closely to her voice, or watch her interact with humans. 

The artist we know as Bjork is simply amazing. She can take her voice to the height of heights and then bring it to a whisper effortlessly. She has complete control of her voice, and often uses it to make sounds no human is capable of making. She uses it as an instrument to be experimented with. Mastering musical convention, she abandoned it to create something completely unique. She continues to outpace trends, and in doing so creates them instead. She is, in fact, the best female vocalist of all time (my humble opinion, of course). 

One thing I love about her is the way she incorporates traditional Icelandic melodies and instruments into her songs. This is evident in the first clip embedded in this post. Here she takes a pop melody and weaves it into traditional Icelandic arrangements and vocal style. This is typical for Bjork; in fact, in many cases one can’t even understand what she is singing because she transitions effortlessly between the two languages…and sometimes she just makes up her own. 

Bjork’s popularity is an example of how narrow-minded American audiences can be sometimes. While we hail Brittney Spears, Bjork goes relatively unnoticed. Yet, in virtually every other country she is a megastar and is consistently asked to perform for royalty worldwide. She sells out arenas worldwide and has performed at the previous Olympics. She was even offered her own island by the government of Iceland. In America, she was laughed at for wearing a swan dress to the Grammys.  

Bjork is not easily digested. She is an artist in the true sense of the word, but while she has enjoyed major success in pop music, theatre, and visual arts, she remains just an angel to me.  The first video is a very short clip of Bjork in Iceland. The second clip is a photo montage that exposes the essence of Bjork. Enjoy.