1965 - November 21st
The birth of Björk!
- Mother: Hildur Rúna Hauksdóttir
- Father: Guðmundur Gunnarsson
last name Guðmundsdóttir literally means Gudmundsdaughter; all in ancient Icelandic
tradition of having dad's first name as your last name and adding whether you are the son
or daughter! Everybody in Iceland is on a first-name basis and are even listed by their
first name in the telephone catalogue!
Her family has nowadays extended to:
- Stepfather: Sævar Árnason
- 3 sisters: one named Inga Hrönn, others unknown
- 3 brothers: one named Árnar, others unknown
- Grandparents: Gunnar, Godrun, Haukur & Hallfridur
- Son: Sindri Eldon Þórsson
Previous known relationships:
- Exhusband: Þór Eldon Jónsson - Sugarcubes member
- Óskar Jónasson - video director for the Sugarcubes
- Dominic Thrupp (a.k.a. Dom T)- DJ
- Stéphane Sednaoui - music video director
- Adrian Thaws (a.k.a. Tricky) - DJ
- Goldie - jungle musician
- Howie Bernstein - DJ
was born musical. Getting goosepimples from
songs at the age of one and knowing the whole set
of songs from Sound Of Music by heart at the age
of two, that laid the ground for a long relationship
with the wonders of music.
Björk attends, at the age of five, to the
local music school Barnamúsíkskóli
Reykjavíkur - a school she would be
dedicating her next ten years to, and
besides singing, learning to play the
piano and the flute.
has appeared on national radio singing "I Love
To Love", which lead her to a record deal and Björk,
with the help of stepdad Sævar, releases her very first
Formats: LP and cassette
depicts Björk sitting as an Arab princess cross-legged
on an oriental carpet, surrounded by objects from far
away and mystical, bountiful countries!
The songs were a mixture of covers translated into Icelandic,
like the Beatles hit "Fool On The Hill" ('Alfur Út Úr
Hól') and Stevie Wonder's song "Your Kiss Is
Sweet" ('Búkolla'), but it also
contained some songs written specifically for the album, like the title song
"Arabadrengurinn" ('The Arab Boy') written by stepdad Sævar, and one
instrumental flute-tribute to Icelandic painter Jóhannes Kjarval written by none other
than 11-yearold Björk herself!
album went platinum and she was offered the chance to do a second album, but that sort of
fame didn't bring her any joy, with her just being a child and having the other children
either kissing up to her or teasing her, so she turned them down.
the money she earned she bought herself a piano and started composing new songs of her
a girl who knew what she wanted and often went her own way, Björk thrived on the new
trend from across the sea - PUNK!
an all-girl band in the spirit of the Sex Pistols, under the title "Spit and
Snot"; Björk - with orange hair and shaved-off eyebrows - took the position
as drummer and rebelling against cute sissy feminist girls who don't have the guts to DO
things. After a while, the quite limited range punk offered bored Björk and she moved on
to join the next band sensation to offer her the next thrill.
was the next step - a jazz fusion group Björk and her friends Ásgeir Sæmundsson and
Thorvaldur Thorvalsson that lasted a garage-recorded cassette and a TV appearance.
Her next step, the collaboration JAM 80,
lasted even shorter. One gig and nobody remembers what they sounded like. But Björk
continued to experiment, and there was no rest between the sampling of popcorn-machines
and granddad's snoring!
graduated from music school at the age of 15, being the only student to have followed
through all the 10 years of education.
and then there was Tappi Tíkarrass!
pure punk pop which, according to the bassist's dad "fit like a cork in a bitch's
ass!" - and that's exactly what the name Tappi Tíkarrass means - or more precisely
"Cork the bitch's ass".
2 albums and appearing in a couple of
films, most famous the Icelandic documentary "Rokk Í
with 2 songs, Björk also became the cover girl of the video. Tappi later on played allot
alongside two other bands, Purrkurr Pillnikk and Þeyr. A noticeable member of Purrkurr
Pillnikk was singer / trumpeter Einar Örn Benediktsson.
time, Björk had met Þór Eldon and fallen in love for the very first time!
Also, when Björk was 17, she and her friend Didda,
the poet, decided to get a matching pair of tattoo's on their left arms. They chose a
1000-year-old rune compass consisting of specific runes, 'so that I always know where I'm
going. It means I will never get lost in fog, and I never have!", Björk says.
They went to the only tattoo parlor in Iceland and had
the same thing done. "It was a bit of a ritual
experience", she said.
Later on she had another tattoo done; "A spidery design behind the ear which is a
symbol I made for KUKL."
Tíkarrass has just about explored every possibility of the band and disbanded - with
Björk already moving on by playing the keyboard and singing in bar room coverband Cactus
for two summers, as well as being part of a world record attempt of longest live gig with
Stigrim, and later on doing backing vocals and drumming for Rokka Rokka Drum.
discovers a very special book that she has said changed her life. It is, of course,
Batailles "Story Of The Eye", a book about teenagers on a mission, about sex,
passions, perversions, murder, eyeballs, testicles and eggs! It is a very intense story,
and if you have the passion and the stomach for it, you can read the transcribed book here.
An Icelandic DJ was going to go off the air, and wanted to do so with a
bang, so he gathered the cutting-edge Icelandic artists to play live on his very last
show. They were Einar Örn and Einar Melax from Purrkurr Pillnikk, Gulli Óttarson, Siggi
Baldursson and Birgir Morgensen from Þeyr and Björk. After writing songs and
rehearsing for two weeks they performed under the name KUKL,
which means 'sorcery' or 'witchcraft' in medieval Icelandic.
The band hit it off so good that they decided to stick to that group! They
played some sort of dark Goth, but Björk has described it as: "Hardcore existential
punk jazz...energy music!" In KUKL, Björk started to take the shape we see her in
today, in her ways of expressing herself musically - her trademark way of
singing, with all the howls and shrieks we know her by.
After a while they got signed on the crass label under
the management Derek Birkett, and started to go allot overseas, reaching a bigger crowd.
One of their more notable wellknown fans was David Bowie!
KUKL releases two albums, first 'The
Eye' - title referring to Björk's old favorite book 'Story Of The Eye', and
later the same year they also recorded 'Holidays In Europe (The Naughty Nought)'
although it wasn't released until the year after.
They were only released on vinyl records, but they
re-released in 1997 in CD format - to everyone's delight, since the original vinyl's have
become a hard-to-find and expensive collectors items!
released a little book of poems to get some cash
to pay the rent. It's called "Um Úrnat frá
Björk" and it was released in about 100 copies, all handcoloured by Björk herself!
The title means "About Úrnat by Björk", with Úrnat being a papu-ish word for
holiday, or the likes of that. The book is now a rare collectors item, and if you don't
care to spend $600, here's an online
version to our delight!
discovered she was pregnant with Þór's child.
She, being a mere teenager herself, considered not keeping it, even though
she was ecstatic by the doctor's message - but she let her female intuition rule and
decided to keep it after all.
was no hinder for KUKL though. Björk carried on as usual, and being 7 months pregnant,
playing live on the television with her big and healthy stomach sticking out was enough to
give an old lady a heart-attack! She survived and sued Björk, basing her case on that
it was ugly to be pregnant!
Björk claims that if you think such a natural and
beautiful thing is ugly, you have only yourself to blame for getting a heart-attack.
ultimately became very intense, so they decided to just break the band up. Björk carried
on recording some music with Gulli though, under the name The Elgar Sisters,
the name taken after a classical
British composer. They recorded 11 songs for an album, but they were put on
hold to await the next major development for Björk.
few of the songs were released under Björk's solo career; Glóra, Siðasta Ég and
the age of 19, Björk gave birth to a wonderful child; a boy to be named Sindri,
on June 8 of 1986.
The name is based on the Norse mythology blacksmith
who made Thor's hammer, and it means "when two hot irons meet" and also
"sparkle around the sun". They had bought a small apartment and even gotten
married. Icelandic ways have it that people often do all that at a much younger age, so it
was no big fuss.
Thor and Einar stood in the front of a new organization that was formed. The
name Smekkleysa ('tasteless', or officially translated; 'Bad
Taste') was given to it based on Picasso's aphorism "The worst enemy of
creativity is good taste".
Bad Taste seemed to become good taste when doing a
prank painting of Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev over a map of Iceland. They did it just as
they though everyone would hate it, but they seemed to love it, selling over 5000 copies
in a week!
after Sindri was born, Björk got her first acting role in the Brothers Grim based movie
"The Juniper Tree", a black & white English-speaking movie
about two sisters
who possess witchcraft. Björk plays the younger
sister Margit, who is the good witch. They have to flee because their mother has been
burnt on the stake, and they suspect they can be next. They encounter a family on their
journey, where the mother has died and the older sister Katla gets interested in the
father of the house. But his son isn't as charmed, and with the help of Margit's powers
they talk with his dead mother.
The older sister thinks he is a bit too much in the way and pushes him off a
cliff, but he comes back in the shape of a raven, and Margit exposes her dirty deed, which
makes the father furious, and so on...
and Þór had now agreed to split up as a couple, but remain as friends and bandmates,
since Iceland is a fairly small place and you are BOUND to bump into eachother a lot
started dating Óskar Jónasson and Þór got together with Magga Órnolfsdóttir, the
keyboardist of the group Reptile and soon-to-be keybordist of Björk's next band, the
Sugarcubes! A few later he had a baby with Magga aswell.
Later on, Bad Taste developed a pop group consisting
of Björk, Siggi Baldursson, Einar Örn and Einar Melax from KUKL, with Þór Eldon, Bragi
Ólafsson and Purrkurr Pillnikk's old guitarist Fridrik Erlingson. They had to have a name
of course, but after idea after idea had been tossed aside, Einar exclaimed that they
should call themselves the silliest thing they could think of.
then there was The Sugarcubes.
'Sykurmolarnir', in their native tongue. Although their first unofficial gig was performed
under the name Þukl. They are said to have dated the birth of the band at the same time
as Sindri's birth, at 2.50 p.m on June
8th of 1986. Their official gig was rewarded with some studio time, and so
they recorded their first hit, 'Ammæli' (Birthday). They released an English version on
the British new label One Little Indian in 1987.
took, on the side of singing, up her acting career
again - this time in an Icelandic TV play by Matthias
Johannesen called Glerbrot ('Broken
glass'), playing a troubled teenager fighting for freedom from a couple of perverted nuns!
a few shows, Fridrik dropped out of the Sugarcubes, and Einar Melax took the place of
keyboardist leaving Þór as the sole guitarist.
Sugarcubes got popular soon and signed onto the American scene via the Warner imprint
'Elektra' and after a few singles they released their debut album. The title was conceived
when a broke poet friend in Iceland exclaimed, when given a cup of coffee and a cigarette;
'Life's Too Good!"
Such a mixture
of pop and rock! 10 wonderfully warped tracks that hit the spot! Angry songs, sad songs,
sexy songs or just plain happy and silly songs!
like 'Fucking In Rhythm And Sorrow', 'Blue Eyed Pop', 'Motorcrash' and 'Mama' adorned the
cover art (released in 6 different neon colours!) designed by Me Company. The Sugarcubes - silly and playful, now
did what KUKL, who were really making a stand, tried to do - it put Icelandic on the
They toured the world allot, and of course
allot happened on their journeys! One incident in Belgium is quite interesting - Björk
was out with the band, just clubbing and somehow
some tacky photos of the interior of the club that was hanging in the lobby
struck her as hilarious, and when leaping towards
them with glee, she missed to note that there was a guard dog in a cage
which she frightened with her
sudden appearance - so it bit her in the
foot! This frightened Björk of course, so she instinctually tried to kick it, which
caused her to get dragged away by the bouncers and kicked out of the club. Björk started
running back to the entrance door, but one of the bouncers opened it right in her face,
knocking her back and busting her lip! She had stitches and a tetanus shot, but the bump
is still very visible in some pictures!
a while the Sugarcubes once again switched keyboardist, this time to Þór's girlfriend
Magga Örnolfsdóttir - "stolen" from the band Reptile.
The Sugarcubes had now become really famous, and when
entering the studio once again they felt like they had made a real sell out, and decided
to make the next album as unpredictable as possible. They wanted to replicate the 'live'
feeling of their songs, which became difficult in a studio with such talents. And on top
of that, not being able to agree on which songs to include or even which final mixes to
use - they quickly exceeded their budget and ran overdue.
the first single 'Regina' was presented to
the world, and now Björk was as brand
new as the sound. Short, short hair and stream- lined space-age tights and
dresses, with plastic and silver and glitter being the favorites.
After a Monster tour, they released their second album
with the title "Here Today, Tomorrow, Next Week!" - a quote
inspired of Mr. Toad of Kenneth Grahame's famous children's book 'The Wind In The
'The poetry of motion! The real way to travel! The only way to travel! Here
today - in next week tomorrow! Villages skipped, towns and cities jumped - always somebody
else's horizon!' (The Wind In The Willows)
album was a bubbling and boiling kettle of 13 songs, some sweet, some bitter. This was not
like 'Life's Too Good' at all, which was what they aimed at - but the critics weren't as
convinced of the glory of this album, so they came down pretty hard on it - putting most
of the blame on Einar's noising about! The album sold poorly, but the live shows were
always fully seated.
The next few years, Bad Taste
was running a bit slow, but when Björk got the question from a couple of old friends and
jazz musicians to sing for them live when they were gonna be on the radio. Björk had been
itching to do this since 1987, when she had sung some jazzy gibberish with the trio on one
occasion, so she leaped on it and Bad Taste was keen on releasing it on an album aswell.
The old friends were Gudmundur Steingrimsson (aka 'Papa Jazz')
and his Tríó Gudmundur Ingólfssonar, and together with Björk they did
a totally spontaneous album; 2 days, all live - no double takes. The songs were old
Icelandic tunes made famous by old Icelandic singers and a couple of standards such as 'Oh
Mein Papa' (in Icelandic), 'Ruby Baby' and 'Can't Help Loving That Man Of Mine'.
Gling-Gló instantly sold platinum, just like
her old 1977 album had done! There were a few live tapes, since they played some gigs in
Iceland, but after Gudmundur died of cancer in 1992 Björk said, "No way. Never
home in Iceland again, life went on. Björk planned to form a speed metal band called Scud
and a duet with Sinead O´Connor but wound up singing for Current 93, Bless and two tracks
for Sódóma Reykjavík, Óskar Jónassons first movie. The songs were the local fifties
standard 'O Borg Min Borg' with the KK Band and a techno track called 'Takk'
with DJ Þórhallur.
on she met a British fella who was the first musician Björk knew who liked to improvise
music on computers - something that thrilled Björk, who now was a bit bored with the
drum-bass-guitars setup of the Sugarcubes. The band the British guy was in was of course
also demoed two of her own
songs for 808 State member Graham Massey in 1990 - Aeroplane and the Anchor
Song, and she met up with them in the studio in Manchester. After taking a walkabout with
her headphones full of 808 State she returned with two new tracks; 'Ooops' and 'Qmart' -
both of them ended up on
the 808 State 1991 album EX:EL. She also admitted that she had
some new music of her own, but that would have to be put on hold for the new album the
Sugarcubes were planning.
had offered the Sugarcubes one of her songs named 'Murder for two', but they rejected it
because they couldn't fit music to the lyrics. Björk later on released it as her first
solo single under the name 'Human Behaviour'!
a while she also met jazz harpist Corky Hale, a tough old lady who could stroke the harp
moving Björk to tears. They wanted to do something together, but Björks own music didn't
quite bridge the generation-gap
between them so they settled on Björk's favourite, Chet Baker's old songs,
like 'Like Someone In Love', 'My Funny Valentine' and 'I Fall In Love Too Easily' and such
- with only the songs 'Like Someone In Love' and 'I Remember You' being properly released
by Björk later on.
Björk met DJ Dom Thrupp on a trip to Disneyland, and as her relationship with
Óskar was sort of drifting away, with them both being busy on their own in separate parts
of the world, Björk sort of drifted slowly into love with him after a while.
two singles released in 1990 and 1991, the third Sugarcubes album was also released! It
was the most happy-poppy collection of songs! The title of this album was sort of a
sarcastic tribute to the way some
Japanese people think American is pretty posh and therefor make up phrases
they think sound very American, like "Enjoy A Refreshing Time", "Can't Beat
The Feeling" or "Stick Around For Joy"! So they gave all the album songs
such names, and called the album 'Stick Around For Joy'.
delicious weren't these songs?
From the slightly manic obsession of 'Gold'
and the ode to the nature of the human body in the journey called 'Walkabout'
to the totally bizarre 'Chihuahua' and passionate hymn to doing two
things at once in 'Lucky Night'!
Needless to say, the critics were as ecstatic as can
be expected of this sort of purest form of pop. Even Einar made sense to them now, even
though he STILL was just Einar and always had been!
the same year they also put out a cd called 'It's-It!' with remixes of
some songs from their previous albums, with mixes by the likes of Justin Robertson, Tony
Humphries and Graham Massey, but someone said that that was probably more of a marketing
plot than a Sugarcubes thing.
The Sugarcubes once again started touring, but this
was to be their very last tour together, now supporting U2. Their very final gig was to
take place November 17 in New York at the Limelight club. At the very end of the show,
Einar is said to have shouted to the audience; "Thank you! We were the
IT WAS LIKE GOING TO SOMEONE ELSES HOUSE FOR A PARTY. YOU HAVE A GREAT
TIME, HAVE A FEW DRINKS AND A LAUGH, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY IT'S NOT YOUR HOME. YOUR'E
A GUEST. - Björk
was time to go home.
reported that she would release her debut solo album entitled "Björk's Affairs"
came home to Iceland with intentions of starting her very very own first album there, but
somehow, "this small Island hasn't got room for Björk's great ambitions". But
where could she go?
ofcourse! Great for business, although not so nice for pleasure - being the daughter of
open vast landscapes and lava flowing through her veins! But what don't you
sacrifice for the art?
packed her suitcase and took Sindri along to England. After all, Dom was British, so
things would probably work out best there. First settling in Belzie Park to be near green
areas, then later on in Little Venice to be near water and boats like at home.
Björk had some demo tapes ready for Derek Birkett,
and made it clear from the start that she only did this to please herself, so she wouldn't
commercialize it - which he, to her surprise, accepted!
when she played him a demo of "Violently Happy", he had admitted to hate it, and
But it was Björk's call to keep it if she wanted to.
saw it natural to work with other artists - even though the songs were her own, this
wasn't an ego trip. She much preferred the intimacy of collaborating one-on-one. Doing it
all on yourself, she compared to musical masturbation. It's nicer to do it with someone
else, more satisfying.
introduced Björk to Nellee Hooper, who would turn out to help Björk produce her album.
Original intent was that each track would have a different producer, though, but they hit
it off real good.
was sick of bands, sick of the marriage between bass, drums (and especially) guitars, she
wanted hardcore techno, while Nellee wanted a softer and more sophisticated approach. But
with him being of such high standard, it pushed Björk to write five times better songs
and lyrics thanks to him being there - even though she did it all on her own after all.
Their relationship birthed 'Big Time Sensuality', but
the first single to hit the humans was 'Human Behaviour' - a meditation on humanity's
oddness, portrayed on the big screen by French animator Michel Gondry - having a giant
teddybear avenge on the human race and deliciously chomping up Björk in the end.
abandoned 'Björk's Affairs' for the more statement-making title 'Debut'
- to celebrate that it was her first self-made album with her own songs and without any
adorned the cover in monochrome colours, just-
got-out-of-bed hair and an equally fuzzy sweater in
prayer-like pose, two glistening jeweled tears beneath her eyes and fingertips dipped in
gold - as the sole protector and guardian of her new album, an extra nudge that 'this is
mine' and 'I am responsible for this album' - all so brilliantly captured by photographer
released 5 singles off Debut:
Venus As A Boy
Big Time Sensuality
it came to performing Debut live - her first solo gig was at the show 'Later with Jools
Holland', where she - lacking a proper band yet - was backed up by British dance act
a while she settled on a group of six, mostly immigrant, musicians to be her supporting
Ike Leo from St Kitts Island in the Caribbean (bass)
Leila Arab from Iran (keyboards)
Guy Sigsworth from Britain (keyboards & programming)
Dan Lipman from Britain (Sax, flute, tambourine)
Tansay Omar from Turkey (drums)
Talvin Singh from India (tablas and percussion)
became popular in the press, and now the plague of the pixie comments began for real.
more with Sednaoui, they came closer to eachother as Björk and Dom was drifting apart -
and finally they took their working relationship one step further.
Doing a live video, loads of live gigs (one in
Iceland being entered by a parachuting Björk!) and interviews, an Unplugged
session for MTV (with the cut-out track of Björk and Corky Hale performing 'My
Funny Valentine' missing from the final video) and even modeling clothes for Gaultier
(as later also seen in the movie 'Pret-A-Porter'!) - Debut was a major hit!
there's no rest for the restless, and Björk started working on her next album. Having
split with Sednaoui, Björk wrote a song about it, called 'Possibly Maybe',
a journey through the seven stages of a relationship, from the first crush to the crushing
break-up. Never being single since 16, Björk was a bit scared, but soon got into another
working relationship gone intimate as she met Adrian Thaws, also known as 'Tricky'.
The working relationship produced, after an escapade to Icelands nature an
hot springs, two songs - 'Enjoy' and 'Headphones'. The relationship, though, was always an
uncertain factor - Björk reports later that she never really knew if they were dating or
came to record her next mission, and together with Nellee, Marius de Vries and Howie B she
packed her trunks and headed for Bahamas. She had to record half the record outside the
UK, in order to register her newly formed company Björk Overseas Ltd., having changed the name from "Bapsi" Ltd (which was said
to have been Björk's childhood nickname) - but Björk didn't mind at all - she took the
chance to record it outdoors, on the beach at midnight and in bat-filled caves!
felt free to record however she wanted, and felt that she needed to be more direct about
the music, with no complications - and thus she recorded 'Possibly Maybe'
in the nude!
'It is hard because you are very concerned that everyone is looking at you',
The new album was supposed to be released when they
got home from their exotic journey, but in the last minute Björk panicked about the album
being too soft and electronic so she re-recorded it, adding trumpets, saxophones,
harpsichords, a symphony orchestra and a brass band - changing the form of 'Cover Me' and
'I Miss You' (which had existed for many years with other lyrics and the gibberish title
'Gail Biffen') and got in touch with a man named Eumir Deodato to score
the strings for the tracks 'Isobel', 'Hyper-Ballad' and 'You've Been Flirting Again'.
Björk called her new album 'Post' because the songs were
like letters from London home to Iceland.
'Like I have a love affair with someone, and it goes horribly wrong, and I
go; "Dear Iceland, Possibly Maybe".', Björk explained. But the word 'Post' was
also chosen due to it's international value.
cover picture was supposed to be from a photo shoot where Björk was surrounded by silver
balls, but Björk scrapped that and went for something more pink and poppy!
time around Björk released 7 singles:
Army Of Me
It's Oh So Quiet
I Miss You
album brought success with another set of touring, live acts with both Skunk Anansie and
PJ Harvey, collaborations, a whole bunch of music videos - moths, polarbears and cartoon
Björks going berserk!
It even brought a lawsuit - the few seconds of ambient
noise in the beginning of Possibly Maybe was a sample by Scanner (A.k.a. Robin Rimbaud)
and even though he thought that all noises were free to humans, his publishing company
begged to differ and made claims for a royalty fee. They later dropped their charges,
feeling that they weren't supported in the matter by their own artist.
on, Björk once got a nasty flu and lost her voice, but regained it only to discover she
had lost 3 octaves of her singing range and she was diagnosed with throat nodules, but it
really was a question of pushing yourself over the limits of what your body can handle -
which led her on her monk tip - not even talking for a while, which was a thrill in
finished a fleeting romance with Tricky, Björk was now seen with Jungle DJ Goldie and
later shyly revealed a relationship that, according to Björk, was 'the best thing yet'.
Björk was rumored to a lot of things, but a couple of things that really did happen was
of Björk's cover of 'You Only Live Twice' for a
compilation of Bond covers David Arnold (who did Play Dead with Björk) was composing.
Apparently Björk wasn't satisfied with it, and had phoned the studio the day after the
recording, asking them to throw it away, but someone must have saved a copy, because it's
now available on the Internet!
Björk was both baffled, thrilled and flattered when hearing that it had
surfaced against all odds.
Björk, being fond of extremes, also took part of the
forty minute piece 'Pierrot Lunaire' by Shönberg with conductor Kent Negano and the Opera
orchestra of Lyon. It's a talking-singing performance which required three months of
rehearsals. This appearance was never officially released and all recording devices were
strictly banned from the building, but someone in the audience managed to sneak in a tape
on, Björk finally got to tour Asia - and she brought Sindri along. On the stage in Hong
Kong, she was surprised on stage (to the extent
of dropping her microphone) by Goldie, presenting her with the 1996 BRIT award for 'best
international female artist'.
Later on that tour she got another, not so pleasant surprise. Björk headed
from Hong Kong to Thailand, making it clear to the reporters that she wanted to be left
alone until she could hold a proper press conference and photoshoot a little later. Having
denied all offers of interviews, Björk also worried about Sindri, since he was old enough
to be approached by the press now, and she was very protective of his privacy.
on the airport, all her requests of being left alone were completely ignored and she was
drowned in a flood of reporters and camera crews, including one of cable station IBC's
show 'Fast Forward' - who claimed they had been promised an interview.
to get away, Björk grimaced and turned her head down while pushing Sindri on a luggage
trolley, all while 'Fast Forward's reporter Julie Kaufman beamed "Welcome to
Bangkok!" towards Sindri when Björk, without warning, jumped her, dragged her to the
floor and thumped her head against the concrete floor about 5 times - the security guards
seemed helpless but managed to drag off Björk (who almost escaped for a rematch!) who
entered the bus where Sindri was waiting.
Later on, Björk apologized, and Julie decided not to
sue her but reported to feeling sorry for her for having so much anger inside. Rumors have
it that Julie was offered to make commercials for hairspray tough enough to hold against
ANY raging mad artists attack - but that she rejected that offer.
Her family had noticed the strain on Björk - being
able to read her body language (Her father says that she rubs her nose a lot when upset or
nervous) and it took her a month to calm down when she returned home to Iceland for her
The stress of a grand tour and her throat problems
finally made her explode. Even Iceland was starstruck with Björk, which left her with no
sanctuary at all - no place to take a break from stardom and just hang out and relax.
released an album of remixes from Post, called 'Telegram',
an adventurous mixture of different sounds - from vocoded rage in Possibly Maybe to a
fluttering and beautiful string Hyper-Ballad by the Brodsky Quartet and a minimalist
thundery techno mix of Headphones by Finnish DJ Mika Vainio.
Speaking of exploding - while Björk
was in Miami, a 24-year old crazed Björk fanatic was so upset about her relationship with
a black man that he manically filmed himself while creating an acid mailbomb in a
hollowed- out book and mailing it to Björk's home in London, then shaving his head,
painting his body and to the sound of 'I Remember You' playing in the background, blowing
his head off with a pistol.
Spookily enough the fan, named Ricardo
Lopez, lived mere blocks away from where Björk was in Miami during that time! The police
found his body in his apartment which was a shrine to Björk, plastered with pictures of
her on the walls - and they managed to get ahold of the
package before it had
reached Björk to "send her to hell" like Ricardo intended, as he said on the
tape - and prevented the death or horrible defiguration of either Björk or her precious
course Björk was horribly upset by this whole incident, feeling both threatened and
guilty, and she even sent Ricardos parents flowers as a condoleance for the loss of their
son. She thinks that there had to be much more things wrong in his life than just reacting
to her dating a black man (whom she ironically enough just had broken up with).
now didn't feel comfortable in London. Having split up with Goldie aswell, this time was
too chaotic - she had to leave, so she fled with her son and workmates to Spain to record
her next album.
Björk loved Spain and her little studio in El
Madroñal, the freedom there let her take hour-long walkabouts just to realize it was
true, she could stand by the ocean and see other continents when she woke up.
process of recording the songs was filmed and first shown in 1998 on BBC under the name
'The Southbank Show : Björk Special', and also later on Bravo channel as 'Bravo : Björk
Special'; a huge hit amongst Björk fans; an unique peek into Björk's studio and history
as told by herself! Delicious!
During Björk's second year of
performing at the Tibetan freedom festival arranged by the Beastie Boys, Björk took the
chance to premiere a bunch of songs that were to be on the album to come. She proudly
presented them as "Techno Prayer", "State of Emergency",
"Hunter" and "Pluto".
September 1997 Björk released her third album, entitled by the style of the songs with a
word she didn't even knew existed for real: Homogenic.
The word chosen to symbolize the unity and thread of
minimalism in the songs, actually does mean exactly that; songs so
similar they could be one. Beats, strings and Björk's voice. While Debut was songs she
gathered upon herself though her life and Post was about breaking free and taking a step
towards the present; Homogenic was absolutely right now. Tainted by her daily life, the
songs were more vulnerable and darker than before, a taste of what she just had gone
The cover photo, shot by Alexander
McQueen and manipulated in the computer, depicts Björk as a icy-cold futuristic
multinational being; clothes and lips of a geisha, hair like a sombrero and golden rings
that stretches her neck to inhuman length like of some African tribe; all with an element
of a supernatural being,
with lenses that makes her eyes look inhuman and steel-like (which Björk
was really nervous about wearing).
time around, 5 singles are released:
- Alarm Call
- All Is Full Of Love
lots of singles and music videos were released, now two video tapes were also released;
one compilation of all Björk's music videos up until Hunter, called Volumen,
and one concert video recorded at Shepherd's Bush Empire in London in
February 1997 in front of an all-fanclub members audience - a Post tour video like 'Vessel'
was a Debut tour video.
After a year of promoting the album on television in various shows and
touring the world with the intimate crew of an Icelandic string-octet and engineer Mark
Bell of LFO, Björk is relaxing back home in Iceland.
Björk and her
home in Iceland;
in Iceland, taking some time off, but still in business! Björk offered her musical skills
director Lars von Trier - famous for movies such as "Breaking The
Waves" and "The Idiots".
The next masterpiece was to be a musical, and Björk agreed to write all the
songs for it. Lars wouldn't settle
for that though, and performed the miracle of talking Björk into playing
the star role in the movie aswell,
with the argument that anyone else would do her songs
The movie is a musical, a comedy and a tragedy all in one - a
Czech halfblind woman moves to America - the promised land - and works overtime in a
factory to earn enough money to save her son from going blind aswell. A sad fate, but her
spirits are always up high because she has an amazing ability to transform every situation
to a musical scene.
course, things can't go very well, and true enough, one day she gets robbed on all that
she has earned, and in the process of trying to get it back she winds up in prison and the
movie ends very tragically.
together with Björk are world-renoun actors and actresses such as Swedish Peter Stormare
and French Cathering Deneuve.
Deneuve, Björk and Lars von Trier
The movie is set to be in the scenery of Washington, America in the 40's,
but due to the fact that the director, Lars von Trier, has a terrible fear of flying, they
had to relocate closer to Denmark. And so, the major part of the movie was shot in the
Swedish town Trollhättan (also known as "Trollywood") close to Gothenburg.
Additional scenes were filmed in Copenhagen, Denmark and the final scenes were shot in the
town of Walla Walla in Seattle, USA.
For the movie, Björk had to take extra
dancing and tapdancing-lessons by world-renoun choreographer Vincent Patterson. Due to the
long time it took to film the movie, she lived in the countries the set was located at the
time. Now that the filming is done she has returned home to Iceland again.
When asked if she would consider doing more movies, her response was an
immediate no. "Acting. I hated it" was her reply to the question of what was the
most difficult part of it all. She had earlier exclaimed that she felt like she was
cheating on music when acting.
The soundtrack for the movie will be released in the year 2000, followed by
the premiere of the movie at the Cannes film festival the same year.
Read more about 'Dancer In The Dark' here!
december of 1999, the 9th and 11th to be precise, Björk will hold two concerts in the
Islington Chapel of London, UK. Together with her trusty Brodsky Quartet, whom she has
worked alot with before, she will sing completely without a microphone!
"I always thought since I learned to sing
acoustically that about 60% of the nuances dissapear in microphones live so :FINALLY
!!", she exclaimed in an online live IRC chat held at the 21st of october
from that, she hinted that there may be some more surprise experimental gigs happening in
surprise release is of the song Amphibian, released first on the internet and then on the
soundtrack of the movie "Being John Malkovitch" which premiered in october 1999.
The song is very light and very layered, and may be a taste of what her next album has to
Björk's optimism was actually awarded in Iceland on
october 30th 1999! She was awarded Bröstes optimistic award of this year. It is
the last time this award is handed out, and Björk is the 19th person to receive it.
Björk and daddy Guðmundur at the
Björk told a reporter she was very
moved that she was picked out to receive this award, and that she's always surprised how
much people likes her work.
2000 and beyond
'Voices Of Europe' a 90 man stong youth choir, consisting of 10 representatives each from
every city of the 9 European Cities of Culture, Björk performed
totally a capella versions of "The Anchor Song" and "You've
Been Flirting Again" in Icelandic, as a part of a huge gala event at the rotating glass halfglobe
restaurant "Perlan" atop of Reykjavík, Iceland on new years
the same day, another similar session was broadcast all over the world
from the Hallgrims-church, also in Reykjavík, Iceland.
The 9 European Cities Of Culture are:
REYKJAVíK - Saturday 26 August 2000
- REYKJAVíK - Sunday
27 August 2000
- BRUSSELS - Tuesday
29 August 2000
- HELSINKI - Friday
1 September 2000
- KRAKOW - Sunday
3 September 2000
- AVIGNON - Tuesday
5 September 2000
- BOLOGNA - Thursday
7 September 2000
- COMPOSTELA - Sunday
10 September 2000
- BERGEN - Tuesday
12 September 2000
revealed that her next album is in the works, on her precious laptop that she brought
along while filming 'Dancer In The Dark', and that she expects it to be done in 2001. She
describes it as the opposite of Homogenic - very light - almost floating, and very small -
"you'll need a microscope to hear it!"
the official site of "Dancer
In The Dark" opened on april 26th 2000. The movie will premiére
at the Cannes
Film Festival on may 10-21 2000.
the future can tell what happens next, but we'll try to keep you posted once the future
FOR THE LINGUISTICALLY INEPT?
finish off, here's a little Icelandic-English dictionary, a guide for those
hard-to-pronounce Icelandic names, letters and words! It's all very experimental and
all based on the way things sound and what words or sounds you can compare it with!
nothing else, you might get a great laugh at least!
(small: þ) - pronounced the 'th' in the word 'think'
Ð (small: ð) - also pronounced the 'th' in the word 'think'
Ö (small: ö) - pronounced like the 'u' in the word... 'lurve'?!
Æ (small: æ) -pronounced like the 'ai' in the word 'mail'
Ó (small: ó) - pronounced 'oh'
Ú (small: ú) - pronounced 'ooh'
Í (small: í) - pronounced like 'e' in the word 'evening'
- the same as the word "work" but with 'Bj' instead of 'w'
Guðmundsdóttir - sounds like 'Gvooth-moonds-daugh-terr'
Guðmundur - sounds like 'Gvooth-moon-dewr'
Hildur - sounds like 'Heel-dewr'
Rúna - sounds like 'Roona'
Sævar - sounds like 'Sayvar'
Sindri - sounds like 'Seen-dree'
Þór - sounds like 'Thowr'
Örn - sounds like 'Urn'
Tíkarrass - sounds like 'Tap-ee Tea-ka-russ'
KUKL - sounds like 'kuuh-kl'
Sykurmolarnir - sounds like
Siðasta Ég - sounds like 'See-thust-ah Yeah'
Stigðu Mig - sounds like 'Steew-thur Meeg'
Ammæli - sounds like 'Amm-ey-lee'
Smekkleysa - sounds like 'Smeck-lay-sah'
CREDITS AND SOURCES
title "Saga Bjarkar" is borrowed from an Icelandic radio documentary about
Björk by Skúli Helgason - Bylgjan, for Íslendsku Útvarpsfélagið. All the information
in this biography is based on Martin Aston's unofficial biography
"Björkgraphy". A few things are facts, a few are just rumors, or something in
between, but it all should be taken with a grain of salt! If there is something you think
we should add, take away or correct, mail us -
don't sue us! (joke!)
Back to the Ultimate Intimate -
- last updated 2000-04-27