AAC-M4A download link: - https://www.mediafire.com/file/onzdlhk5fgjuhkn/ - Björk - Live @ The Shed, The McCourt, Manhattan, New York, USA, NY,
Monday, May, 6th (06-05-2019) [Dress Rehearsal] [FULL]
00. Intro (Hamrahlid Choir) (bird sounds and soundscapes) *
01. Ísland, farsælda frón / Vísur vatnsenda-rósu / Sonnets/Unrealities XI / Cosmogony / Maríukvæði (sung by the hamrahlid choir before the show started) *
02. Family * (intro)
03. The Gate *
04. Utopia *
05. Arisen My Senses *
06. Show Me Forgiveness * (first time performed since 2006)
07. Venus As A Boy * (first time performed since 2011)
08. Claimstaker *
09. Isobel *
10. Blissing Me * (with serpentwithfeet)
11. Intermission * (flute solo)
12. Body Memory * (live debut)
13. Hidden Place * (first time performed since 2013)
14. Mouth's Cradle *
15. Features Creatures *
16. Courtship *
17. Pagan Poetry * (partial intro)
18. Losss *
19. Sue Me *
20. Tabula Rasa *
21. Intermission * (a message by swedish environmental activist greta thunberg)
22. Future Forever * (live debut)
23. Notget *
Bjork‘s “most elaborately staged concert to date,” the multi-night series “Cornucopia”, debuted on Monday night (5/6) for its preview/dress rehersal at Hudson Yard’s new art space, The Shed. Icelandic children’s choir Hamrahlid Choir began the evening with a 20 minute performance before Bjork took the stage, backed at times by Viibra, her “utopian flute septet.”
Rock NYC was there for night one, and writes:
Visually “Cornucopia” can’t be improved upon right this minute. In glowing pinks and greens and musicians decked as a new hybrid humans, it is all flutes, fauns and fauna and Bjork MCs the proceedings in an eggshell bottom and a mask that covers her nose. The sound emerges from everywhere, sometimes from behind you, the drums sometimes thunder like rain,sometimes, as in the introduction to “Blissing Me,” water being poured is another effect. “Blissing Me” featured an appearance by serpentwithfeet and was a soulful sidetrack and an evening highlight. So was a stunning “Isobel” and a surprise “Venus As A Boy”. The music was arranged so as to sound it was coming from someplace else entirely, and the effect was as much Edenic as Utopian.
Monday night’s setlist, which you can see below, pulled mostly from her 2017 album Utopia (including the live debut of “Body Memory” and “Future Forever”), but it also included a few older songs (with new arrangements), like Medúlla track “Show Me Forgiveness” (performed for the first time since 2006), Debut track “Venus as a Boy” (performed for the first time since 2011), and Vespertine track “Hidden Place” (performed for the first time since 2013)
The fascinating design behind Björk’s otherworldly reverb chamber, on tour now
Fans with tickets to the star’s Cornucopia tour will see her perform inside a cathedral-like chamber, carefully designed to replicate her memories of childhood.
By Mark Wilson3 minute Read
Before Björk was Björk, she was a young girl from Iceland who would sing on long walks down wooded paths and in new rooms she’d discover in churches and houses. Four decades later, she’s one of the most renowned artists in the world. When she sings today, things are a bit different: There are thousands of people in the audience now, and her voice is amplified by speakers instead of reverberation.
So before her latest tour, Björk reached out to the architecture and design firm Arup–known for the building the concrete shells of the Sydney Opera House, among other high-profile projects–to re-create the same sensation of her early years singing in churches and empty rooms. The firm would eventually design a special room for the star’s current tour–one where, after putting down her mic, she could walk in and sing like she was inside an empty chapel, even during a crowded live performance. (Yes, there are mics inside this room, too, but shhh. Let’s not spoil the magic.)
Björk first described her childhood to Arup’s acoustic designer Shane Myrbeck over a Skype call–from the intimate experiences discovering her own voice, to what it was like to sing next inside one of Iceland’s famous singing sculptures.
“She wanted to capture those moments live on stage,” says Myrbeck. “That became the design brief.” Björk mused that she wanted three to five rooms to sing inside on stage–or maybe the entire set might be an architectural installation. In the end, they chose just one: An octagonal room with a tall domed roof, inspired by the natural resonance of cathedrals. Sound bounces left to right, but also works its way above her head where it can create the sensation of resonance.
The cathedral-like design itself wasn’t immediately obvious to Arup’s team, but Björk had planted the approach subliminally during their Skype. “It was a lot of the language she was using. She was using words like ‘sanctuary’ and ‘private contemplative moment,'” Myrbeck recounts. “As you’re in the throes of design, you end up with a project vocabulary for things. This became the ‘chamber’ or ‘chapel’ pretty quickly based upon those conversations.”
Resonance is the result of a space’s geometric volume. In other words, it’s all that empty space that makes it sound like a voice is . . . echoing through an empty space. It’s not an easy effect to naturally re-create on stage, but Arup knew there was precedent for tiny spaces that sounded big. There were the stone rooms Björk had visited in Iceland–but there were also old recording studios, like Capital Studios in Los Angeles.
“Before the tech existed to create reverb in digital processing, they had these reverb chambers in the basement,” Myrbeck says. “They’d send the [music tracks] to the basement and record that reverb.”
Using advanced sound modeling software, Arup modeled possible designs for Björk’s onstage room, so the firm could virtually test how different building materials would affect the sound, from concrete and glass to various composites. Because Björk regularly tours, the room had to be built out of practical materials that could be disassembled, moved, and reassembled easily, which took stone materials out of the running. Eventually, they landed on a mix of glass, plywood, and a fiber-reinforced composite plaster; onstage, projection-mapped light shows are cast onto its facade.
To test each potential design, Björk gave the team at Arup a clean audio track of herself singing, along with a version of that same track with reverb, as it appears on her album. Arup engineers ran the track through the system again and again, trying to duplicate her album sound through this simulated space. Eventually, they even set up a live, digital model in London that Björk could test before it was built.
Björk is currently performing through June 1 at New York’s Hudson Yards for her Cornucopia tour. She sings a few songs completely inside the chamber, while both her and her instrumentalists float inside and out now and again through the show. While this small cathedral was created with so much advanced technology, it’s ultimately just what Björk ordered: A quiet place to sing like she’s all alone.
Björk’s Cornucopia Is the Wildest Visual Display in a Concert That I’ve Ever Seen
By Craig Jenkins
It’s a breathtaking display of what Björk and her band are capable of, and what magic is possible inside the Shed at NYC’s Hudson Yards.
Depending on whom you ask, New York City’s Hudson Yards — a ten-year development push to rehabilitate the garish commuter rail yard along lower Manhattan’s western edge — is either a cornerstone for the art and commerce of the “City of Tomorrow” or a playground for the elite aided by funds originally earmarked for communities in greater need. The Shed, the yard’s signature arts center, hopes to unite these groups in celebration of their differences. It is, like the yard’s more lurid attractions, a peculiar marriage of tech and architecture. The space transforms to meet the needs of the performance: a six-story movable shell allows the building to swallow the plaza outside in both indoor and partially open-air settings, and seating arrangements inside are changeable, so that it is possible to visit the building more than once and enjoy a different room each time.
The Shed’s opening season aims to make great use of the building’s versatility. Soundtrack of America, the inaugural showcase, paid homage to black singers, rappers, producers, choirs, and marching bands. Other attractions included a lecture by Boots Riley, director of the acclaimed Sorry to Bother You and leader of the radical rap collective the Coup. This month, legendary minimalist composer Steve Reich joined painter Gerhard Richter and composer Arvo Pärt for a unique audiovisual experience. The Shed’s hottest ticket is Cornucopia, a concert series by the inimitable Icelandic singer, songwriter, and producer Björk and an evolution of the stage show for her 2017 studio album Utopia. It’s a breathtaking display of what Björk and her band are capable of, and what magic is possible inside the Shed’s McCourt space.
Like the otherworldly videos for Utopia and its precursor, Vulnicura — see: “Notget,” “The Gate,” and the new “Tabula Rasa” — Cornucopia chips away at the viewer’s sense of time and setting. During the early set highlight “Blissing Me,” you start to forget that you’re in a multimillion-dollar temperature-controlled room in downtown Manhattan. You begin to feel as though you’ve been transported elsewhere, shrunken down to the size of a caterpillar and treated to a festival put on by local wood nymphs. The stage gives the appearance of an outgrowth of oyster mushrooms, one for the singer and her harp player, Katie Buckley; another for drummer and percussionist, Manu Delago; a third for the storied Icelandic producer Bergur Þórisson; and a fourth for the flute septet, Viibra. A screen behind the flutes pumps in visuals, sometimes mined from the music videos and sometimes not, while complementary videos are displayed on either side of the band and projected on a series of translucent curtains at the front of the stage.
Eleven players beating out intricate grooves surrounded on every side by polymorphous, alien scenes of nature is a freight train for the senses. Full immersion in a busy world of plant and insect life is the ideal setting to visit a body of work whose sounds, visuals, and ideas seem to suggest some powerful elder god in an act of terraforming. What sets Björk records apart from their peers is the inventive interplay between electronic and acoustic sounds. “Pagan Poetry,” from the Grammy-nominated Vespertine, wears its music-box melody and hissing, programmed drums so comfortably that the line starts to blur. Utopia opener “Arisen My Senses” pairs bird calls, harp notes, and blissed-out synths seamlessly enough to demolish questions about genre. Simply put, Björk makes Björk music. It’s fitting for a catalogue that doesn’t much sound like anything else to generate a live show that doesn’t look like anything else.
Cornucopia’s sights are a heady extension of a heavy record, but the human element gives it power. Manu Delago is a wonder through the night, knocking out tricky drum patterns on an array of instruments, including a standard electronic kit, Native American water drums, and the Hang, a Swiss invention similar in sound to a steel drum. The flute septet doubles as a dance troupe, buzzing around the stage like sprites, and elsewhere, surrounding the singer as they play a circle flute, which combines four rounded woodwind instruments into a loop. Björk’s mercurial vocal and unique words guide the ship. Aided by the Icelandic Hamrahlíð Choir, she nails every soaring note with passion and unnerving precision, and makes dancing to the confounding time signatures of her productions seem easy as she lands playful gestures on beat, all of this in a dress that forbids easy movement. Most of her wardrobe comes care of Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing; the last outfit for the evening, designed by Iris Van Herpen, transforms the singer into a swarm of butterflies.
In the end, Cornucopia sends the crowd back into the night with a chilling call for greater environmental stewardship from 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg (“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes”); a warning from Björk about the necessity of global climate-change pledges like the Paris Agreement; and a dream of a future where technology and nature can commune as one. For 100 minutes, Cornucopia helps the audience to imagine that world. It is one of the most incredible displays of lights and sounds ever to grace a stage in the city. The Shed won’t erase every qualm New Yorkers have had about the future of Hudson Yards, but a state-of-the-art space in Manhattan for groundbreaking cultural events is a good start. https://www.vulture.com/
'spectacular !! 'her most elaborate stage concert yet , ! ... beautiful'
björk, @ viibraflutes - cornucopia’s flute septet “the whole show is a lot about females supporting each other. we would have flute fridays and rehearse and brunch all day. the arrangements are like flute folk music for the future.” - björk . https://www.instagram.com/bjork/
3 hrs ·
i am very excited to announce that i will be part of The Shed's opening season in manhattan next spring. this winter i will prepare my most elaborate stage concert yet, where the acoustic and digital will shake hands, encouraged by a bespoke team of collaborators.
warmth, björk - https://www.facebook.com/bjork
it is with great pleasure i announce the addition of the incredible lucrecia martel to our team . i have admired her work for a long time and cannot believe my blessing to have her here to complete this utopian world of ours in the shed . she will be directing cornucopia and it is with a warm embrace we welcome her with all her fertilities , intelligence , humour and grace .
27 April at 10:47 ·
i am so delighted to share with you the poster for my new york shows this may : looking forward to seeing you !! warmth , björk
Yesterday at 02:49 ·
i am sooo o o o o o sublimely grateful for my 18 months of work with the incredibly talented Tobias Gremmler for cornucopia . it has been a journey through abstract descriptions of tiny sections of songs , details and nuances , skypes and texts and resting restless in the ambiguity of that meeting point between a song and a moving image . i would like to share one song , hope you like it . thank you !! warmth björk
2 hrs ·
in preparation for the next performance, we wanted to share with you some of the instruments that are included in the cornucopia performance …
14 hrs ·
“ i have a reverb chamber on stage , i feel often when i warm up my voice, and my head starts resonating, that sonically inside our skull we have our own personal chapel, and in that way, the shape of my new reverb chamber, the ceiling in it is of that nature”
Arup’s acoustic designers created the reverberation chamber for Cornucopia . Working iteratively with Björk and her creative team, Arup developed a form that achieves a lush and enveloping natural reverberation for the touring production .
Yesterday at 18:00 ·
i'm overwhelmed by all the amazing responses , thanks to those who came and listened ... excited to be bringing this to mexico in august , warmth , thank you new york - see you soon mexico city ! - https://www.facebook.com/bjork
The eagerly anticipated, theatrically advantaged first preview of Björk”s “Cornocopia” opened-at The McCourt Theatre at The Shed today at 7pm (well 720).
Last year Björk toured Europe in support of her album Utopia, today she expanded the concept of the album into a thrilling, astonishingly beautiful musical and visual illustration of a world where people and nature cross pollinate in matriarchal society. Imagine “Avatar” as a plant based human mash up.
To call the staging stunning is an understatement, it is like reality overlaid on to virtual reality and the sound, a 50 member choir sang for the first twenty minutes of glorious harmony veering between chorale and Björkrale, and the main instrument all night was the flute, making real a world of sound like no other.
The last time we saw Björk here, in 2015, she was performing the superior to just about everything heartbroken Vulnicura, but visually “Cornucopia” can’t be improved upon right this minute. In glowing pinks and greens and musicians decked as a new hybrid humans, it is all flutes, fauns and fauna and Bjork MCs the proceedings in an eggshell bottom and a mask that covers her nose. The sound emerges from everywhere, sometimes from behind you, the drums sometimes thunder like rain,sometimes, as in the introduction to “Blissing Me,” water being poured is another effect. “Blissing Me” featured an appearance by serpentwithfeet and was a soulful sidetrack and an evening highlight. So was a stunning “Isobel” and a surprise “Venus As A Boy”. The music was arranged so as to sound it was coming from someplace else entirely, and the effect was as much Edenic as Utopian. Utopian suggest a political place, but “Cornucopia” exists in world without politics: it is, in many ways, a place of the mind as well as the spirit, and, like “Biophilia” it is about NATURE AND TECHNOLOGY, only the technology is what you are seeing and hearing. Björk: “often, in all things theatrical, they are made to look good and then later fixed to sound good. but i wanted to try to start from what sounds good and collaborated with an acoustician on a reverb chamber which will be on stage . and it was so inspiring when the shapes started appearing, even though they were miniatures compared to temples and cathedrals, they aligned with the aesthetic language that sound inspires.”
I can’t say if Bjork’s voice sounded warmer or clearer because of the reverb chamber. I can say it sounded warm and clear and confident enough to be joined by the 50 members of the Hamrahlið Choir and the Vibra Flute Septet.
So musically, it wasn’t as good as Vulnicura but that doesn’t make it less than great. Visually, though it slows down a little towards the middle and becomes closer to a normal concert, I have still seen nothing like it before.
I will probably write a full review in a couple of days, for now, it is the best show in town.
This month, Björk is presenting a new stage show called “Cornucopia” at The Shed, a new arts venue located in New York City’s Hudson Yards neighborhood. The first “preview” performance took place on Monday night.
In the lead-up to last night’s premiere, Björk described the production as her “most elaborate stage concert yet, where the acoustic and digital will shake hands, encouraged by a bespoke team of collaborators.” She’s accompanied on stage by Viibra, a seven-piece female Icelandic flute ensemble, as well as by a harpist, a percussionist, and a full 50-member choir.
(Buy: Tickets to Björk’s “Cornucopia”)
The result, according to Rock NYC, is a “thrilling, astonishingly beautiful musical and visual illustration of a world where people and nature cross pollinate in matriarchal society. Imagine Avatar as a plant based human mash up.” Rock NYC’s review continues:
“In glowing pinks and greens and musicians decked as a new hybrid humans, it is all flutes, fauns and fauna and Bjork MCs the proceedings in an eggshell bottom and a mask that covers her nose. The sound emerges from everywhere, sometimes from behind you, the drums sometimes thunder like rain, sometimes, as in the introduction to ‘Blissing Me’, water being poured is another effect.”
As for the 19-song setlist, it included the live debuts of “Body Memory” and “Future Forever” from Björk’s latest album, Utopia. She also dusted off the Medúlla track “Show Me Forgiveness” for the first time since 2006. The Debut track “Venus as a Boy” and the Vespertine song “Hidden Place” were both performed live for the first time in over the decade.
Björk will be holding eight performances of her latest staged concert, “Cornucopia,” in New York City over the next month. RÚV reports that the Icelandic government has provided ISK 5 million [$41,196; €36,745] for the Hamrahlið Choir to travel to new York City and take part in the series.
Cornucopia will be performed at The Shed, a new arts and theater space in New York City. Per the description on the website, it is a collaboration between Björk and “a team of digital and theatrical collaborators, including award-winning filmmaker, screenwriter, and director Lucrecia Martel.” The performance will include “live musical arrangements, digital technology, and stunning visuals.” Björk has called Cornucopia is her “finest and most complex concert since getting started.”
The first performance will be held on Monday and the final on June 1. Each performance will have an audience of 1,200 people; all performances have sold out. Joining Björk at each of these performances will be a dozens of Icelandic musicians, such as the Vibra Flute Septet, and 50 members of the Hamrahlið Choir. The exact nature of the concert has been kept quite secret: no one from RÚV, for instance, was allowed to take photos during a recent Hamrahlið rehearsal for the upcoming event.
Björk announced Monday that she will debut a new concert production called Cornucopia in the spring of 2019 at new New York arts venue the Shed.
“This winter I will prepare my most elaborate stage concert yet, where the acoustic and digital will shake hands, encouraged by a bespoke team of collaborators,” the singer tweeted of Cornucopia, which marks Björk’s “first-ever production created with theatrical collaborators,” the Shed CEO Alex Poots said in a statement (via Variety).
Details about Cornucopia‘s music – whether it features new songs or draw from her recent releases like 2017’s Utopia – as well as the performances’ dates will be announced in the near future. The Shed did reveal that Tony Award-winning Harry Potter and the Cursed Child director John Tiffany would oversee the production.
For Cornucopia, Viibra, a seven-piece, all-female Icelandic flute ensemble, will join Björk onstage along with harpist Katie Buckley, “electronics” player Bergur Þórisson and percussionist Manu Delgado; all seven members of Viibra, Buckley and Þórisson each appeared on Utopia.
“Media artist Tobias Gremmler will imagine the digital visual design in an environment created by stage designer Chloe Lamford,” the Shed added of the production, which will stage on the venue’s biggest space, the McCourt.
climate change state of emergency 2019 - http://gudmundsdottirbjork.blogspot.co.uk/
How Björk Brought Her Sci-Fi, Feminist Fairy Tale to Life
Björk calls her latest live spectacle, “Cornucopia,” digital theater, or a sci-fi pop concert.
By Melena Ryzik
May, 8th 2019
“A baby albino giraffe.” This is what flutes sound like, according to Björk. (That’s a real, and largely mute, creature, by the way.)
There are seven flute players, all women, in Björk’s latest live extravaganza, “Cornucopia.” She mentioned the giraffes as a way to translate her sonic vision to her collaborators. “Like, they’re kind of furry and they’re kind of clean,” she said of the animals, “but they’re not as clean as you think, because they’re actually giraffes.”
“If that makes any sense,” she added.
As an iconoclastic artist — a punk-turned-pop-turned-experimental singer, multimedia visionary, misfit-fashion darling, and proto-futurist with a lasting fixation on the melding of nature and technology — Björk, 53, is used to explaining her leaps of imagination. Somehow, coming in her lilting voice, it works. The flute, for example, was her childhood instrument, but she rebelled against classical composers and learned contemporary, atonal work — the furrier-sounding stuff.
“Cornucopia,” a major commission from the Shed, the new arts venue at Hudson Yards on the West Side of Manhattan, is characteristically ambitious — billed as Björk’s “most elaborate staged concert to date.” Opening Thursday, it includes a 50-member Icelandic young people’s choir, a custom-made reverb chamber, mesmerizing video projections, carefully positioned 360-degree sound and multiple bespoke instruments, some used for mere moments.
Björk calls it digital theater, or a sci-fi pop concert. But it is also a way to get into her head. Which, at the moment, is focused on a feminine, feminist, hopeful alternative future; the show is based around the music of her last album, “Utopia.”
“It’s like a fairy tale, I guess,” she said, “or like very purposely ecstatic, and kind of caustic.”
She was speaking over dinner last week during a break from rehearsals, dressed in a long pleated cloak in bifurcated marigold and purple florals, over a matching gloved jumpsuit; a glove dangled at her wrist while she ate. We sat in a space overlooking the theater and for no apparent reason — except, of course, that I was dining with Björk — the lights in the room grew progressively dimmer, until we were discussing hope and utopia and womanhood in pitch blackness. (It felt just right.)
Alex Poots, the Shed’s artistic director, commissioned “Cornucopia,” and sat back while Björk developed it over the last few years. “She has a prodigal approach to creativity,” he said. “There’s this combination of real rigor and punk brought together, that creates this explosion of creativity, because it never becomes staid or safe. There’s always this yearning to reinvent.”
He had hoped that Björk would be one of the Shed’s first commissioned artists. “I would’ve been really upset if we hadn’t seemed relevant to her,” he said. He first presented her in 2011, when he lured her to the Manchester International Festival, where he was previously artistic director, with her conceptual-minded production for her album “Biophilia.” It spawned a long-running children’s educational project, and became a turning point in her career; she has hardly done a traditional tour since.
“Martha Rosler,” the feminist artist, “talks about the future flying in under the radar,” Poots said. “And certain artists like Björk are very tuned to keeping their eyes wide open all over. She’s someone who opens up questions rather than gives a lot of answers and instructions.”
“Utopia,” released in 2017, was Björk’s return to optimism, enthusiasm and romantic possibility — her “Tinder album,” as she has sometimes jokingly called it. Made in collaboration with the Venezuelan D.J. Arca, it was suffused with birdsong, loose melodies and the female flutists, all Icelandic musicians, who followed her to the Shed. The album was a response to “Vulnicura,” the bleak 2015 record she made after the end of her decade-long relationship with the artist Matthew Barney, the father of her teenage daughter.
“‘Vulnicura’ for me was basically really, really sad,” she said. “Just, like, winter in Iceland, rocks on the ground, no plants — you know, the melody was literally lying on the floor. It didn’t ever make big leaps.”
Her visualization for “Utopia,” by contrast, was like a 3-D scan of fireworks, exploding over a (symbolic) lush island in the sky. Musically, she and Arca “talked a lot about it, and we wanted the synths to sound like flutes and the flutes to sound like birds and the birds to sound like synths,” Björk said. “Nothing holding it down.”
Lucrecia Martel, a celebrated Argentine filmmaker who is making her New York and theatrical debut directing “Cornucopia,” was tasked with staging Björk’s vision. Asked about the giraffe-flute metaphor, Martel laughed. “Many of her explanations are of that style,” she said, through a translator. “And sometimes it’s a little bit hard to understand what that actually means.”
Still, she followed Björk’s lead. Björk did the musical arrangements, and Martel added what she called materiality and physicality, by, say, projecting video (by Tobias Gremmler) onto curtains instead of screens, creating transparency and the ability for performers to modify the visuals by touch. Sometimes, Björk presented ideas, particularly about wardrobe or dramaturgy, that made her fear “this is a disaster,” Martel said. “And when I see everything together, it is incredible.”
Collaborators include Björk regulars like James Merry, her co-creative director, who made intricate golden masks by hand for Björk and other musicians. The costumes are mostly by Olivier Rousteing of Balmain. (The show, with performances through June 1, is sold out.)
Björk has been the boss almost since she began recording. She still has the same manager, Derek Birkett, she chose as a punk teenager in Iceland, and has only signed with major labels as distributors. “I never had anyone, not even Derek, nobody I have to play the album for and say, ‘Oh, I don’t like song three,’” she said.
She stepped off the standard, grueling pop tour cycle after “Biophilia,” she said, “because I just didn’t believe it anymore. Also, I had a family.” She adapted her career to suit her needs. “If I want to pretend I’m a matriarch I might as well, you know, walk the walk,” she said.
Seven flutists who played on Björk’s last album, “Utopia,” are part of the Shed show.
The lifestyle suited her, but it had a professional cost. “I’m lucky because I was from the generation that I could actually buy myself a house, because I sold CDs in the ’90s,” she said. “I got a couple of houses and a cabin in the mountains. I’m O.K. But I probably haven’t made a penny in the last, I don’t know, 20 years. It just all goes back into my work — and I like it that way.”
That her last two albums have been far outside the pop-radio firmament does not seem to trouble her. Only once in her career, when she was living in London in the ’90s, has she felt, she said, like an A-list celebrity. “I was invited to all the hot parties,” she said, “and I just did it, had a laugh and thought it was amazing. And then I just woke up one morning and I was like, O.K., I’m done — like, the music is terrible, conversations are awful. I’m done.”
She moved to Spain and wrote “Homogenic,” with the realization that she was not the kind of musician who could be in the spotlight and still be creative. “I have to go in the shadow, in the corner, and have no one watch me,” she said.
In “Cornucopia,” her introversion is represented by the reverb chamber, a booth on the side of the stage with minimal amplification that’s meant to recreate the effect of her singing alone on long, rural walks, as she did growing up. In a preview on Monday, she sometimes disappeared from view when she stepped inside. “I’m scared,” she said with an expletive, of showcasing her vocals in such a raw way.
But there’s a lot to distract: two eight-meter-long organ pipes that resemble cannons are suspended in midair. They were specially made in Iceland and are used on only one song, “Body Memory.” Björk also sings from inside a Hula-Hoop-size circular flute, as four women play it.
“The whole show is a lot about females supporting each other,” she said. The flutists have been coming to her cabin in Iceland for years. “We would have flute Fridays and rehearse and brunch all day,” she said, describing her arrangements for them as “flute folk music for the future.”
The most direct appeal to the future comes from Greta Thunberg, the teenage Swedish climate activist, who delivers a video message toward the end of the show. Like Thunberg, Björk’s daughter has been participating in climate strikes on Fridays. Her generation, Björk wrote in an email, “is extremely aware of the power of activism and I’m very proud of them.” (Björk also has a 32-year-old son and became a grandmother earlier this year.) The lyrics on “Utopia,” she wrote, “are about proposing to come up with a more compassionate way to interact with nature. Hopefully to start from a female point of view will help.”
That is what Björk, who has been rooted in Iceland for the last year, has lately surrounded herself with. During our dark dinner, she said she was happy, and in love.
Romantic love? I asked in an email later. Or the spark that comes with creative connection from partners like Arca?
“Perhaps all of the above,” she wrote back. “‘Cornucopia’ is probably as expansive as I will get … an effort to find an equilibrium between all areas. And a way for love to be present.”
Through June 1 at the Shed, Manhattan; theshed.org. Sold out.
About the Hamrahlid choir
THE HAMRAHLÍÐ CHOIR has been at the forefront of Icelandic musical life for four
decades. Founded in 1967 by its present conductor, Þorgerður Ingólfsdóttir, it was among
the first college choirs in Iceland, and has maintained its leading position ever since. The
choir, made up of students at Hamrahlíð College in Reykjavík, is an educational institution
in its own right. More than 2,000 Icelandic teenagers have come into contact with
classical music through the Hamrahlíð choral experience. Many of these have had no prior
musical training, but through diligent practice they have gone on to participate in musicmaking of the highest quality, from new Icelandic compositions to the choral masterworks of Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart.
The Hamrahlíð Choir has been a breeding ground for many of Iceland’s leading singers,
instrumentalists, and composers. Among the many musicians who are former members
of the choir are singer/songwriter Björk Guðmundsdóttir, composer Haukur Tómasson
(Nordic Council Music Prize 2004) and bass Kristinn Sigmundsson. In 1982, a choir
made up of former students at Hamrahlíð College was founded and immediately established itself as one of Iceland’s leading choral ensembles.
Although the Hamrahlíð Choir is primarily devoted to musical education, it has from the
very beginning been dedicated to giving performances of the highest quality. The choir
sings with a pure, flexible, well-blended sound, and it performs with exuberance and a
youthful sense of discovery. Critics throughout the world have praised its accurate intonation, clear diction, and the high level of enthusiasm and commitment that are among the hallmarks of the choir’s music-making.
Throughout its history, the choir has collaborated closely with Icelandic composers. Over
90 works have been composed especially for the choir, including works by virtually all of
Iceland’s leading composers. Apart from its close association with native composers, the
choir has collaborated with foreign artists such as Arvo Pärt, John Cage, and Vagn Holmboe in the first Icelandic performances of their works. Arvo Pärt was so impressed with the choir’s performance of his Te Deum in 1998 that he composed a choral work dedicated to Þorgerður Ingólfsdóttir, …which was the son of…, which was premièred in 2000.
With its dedication, passion, and spirit, the Hamrahlíð Choir has touched audiences
around the world. The Choir has travelled to 23 countries and has performed at many
of the world’s leading choral festivals to great acclaim, introducing audiences around the
world to the rich legacy of Icelandic choral music. The choir has participated in festivals
in Europe, North America, and Asia, and collaborated with renowned conductors
such as Tõnu Kaljuste, Osmo Vänskä, Lukas Foss, Laszlo Heltay, Robert King, Timothy Brown, Gustav Sjökvist, Willi Gohl, Hansruedi Willisegger, Johan Dujick, Petri Sakari,
and Thomas Adés. The choir has been a member of the European Federation of Young
Choirs since 1978, and is one of the founding members of the International Federation
for Choral Music.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hamrahlid_Choir - https://hamrahlidarkorarnir.wordpress.com/about-the-hamrahlid-choir/
björk.updates FLAC/AAC-M4A/MP3 download links:
audio courtesy of instagram member björk.updates, + youtube users optimistic13, + s. sibony, videos by d. denicola and d.a. vera,
https://www.instagram.com/bjork.updates/ + https://www.youtube.com/user/TheDarknessandwonder + my name isobel page, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCg-8YalL6ocVuTHEDhDIOoA
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