Infobox musical artist
Name = Björk
Img_capt = Björk at Radio City Music Hall
Img_size = 250
Landscape = yes
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Björk Guðmundsdóttir
Born = birth date and age|df=yes|1965|11|21
Instrument = Vocals, keyboards,
Pop music, Alternative rock, Electronica, Trip hop
Occupation = Vocalist,
musician, composer, singer-songwriter
producer, arranger, programmer, actress,
Years_active = 1977 — present
One Little Indian, Elektra, Atlantic, Polydor, Mother, Smekkleysa
The Sugarcubes, Tappi Tíkarrass, KUKL, Spit and Snot, Exodus, Jam80
URL = [http://www.bjork.com/ bjork.com]
Björk Guðmundsdóttir Audio-IPA|Bjork guthmundsdottir.ogg| [ˈpjœr̥k ˈkvʏðmʏntsˌtoʊhtɪr] (born 21 November 1965) is an
Icelandic singer-songwriter, composer, actress and music producer. She has been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards, an Academy Awardand two Golden Globe Awards(including one for acting).
She is best known for her expressive vocals, broad soprano vocal range, and a diverse and eclectic musical style which incorporates influences from many different genres, [ [http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article3586432.ece Down time: Bjork] The Sunday Times, Robert Sandall, 23 March 2008] including pop,
alternative rock, jazz, ambient music, electronica, classical and folk, as well as her eccentric costumes. Her singles " It's Oh So Quiet", " Army of Me" and " Hyperballad" all charted in the UK Top 10.
Her record label,
One Little Indian, reported in 2003 that she had sold more than 15 million albums worldwide. ["Inside Björk" DVD documentary (2003). Documentary spanning Björk's musical career.] Her most recent album, "Volta", was released worldwide on 8 May 2007. She was ranked #36 on VH1's "The 100 Greatest Women in Rock and Roll" [ [http://www.vh1.com/shows/dyn/the_greatest/62162/episode.jhtml The Greatest : 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll (100 - 81) | VSPOT Video Clips, Photos, Episodes and Online Message Boards from the Reality TV Show | VH1.com ] ] and #8 on MTV's "22 Greatest Voices in Music".
Björk was born and raised in
Reykjavík. Her musical career began when she was eleven with her study of classical pianoin elementary school. One of her instructors sent a recording of Björk singing Tina Charles' song "I Love to Love" to RÚV, then the only radio station in Iceland. The recording was broadcast on radio nationally; after hearing it, a representative of the record label Fálkinn contacted Björk to offer a record contract. An album, "Björk", was recorded and released in 1977.
In her teens, Björk was influenced by punk; at 14 she formed the all-girl punk band
Spit and Snot, shortly followed by the jazz fusiongroup Exodusin 1979. In 1980 she graduated from music school. In 1981 she and bassist Jakob Magnússonformed another band called Jam-80, which later became Tappi Tíkarrass(which means "Cork the Bitch’s Arse" in Icelandic), and released an extended single, " Bítið Fast í Vítið" in the same year. Their next album, "Miranda", was released in 1983.
Afterward, Björk collaborated with
Einar Örn Benediktssonand Einar Melaxfrom Purrkur Pillnikk, and Guðlaugur Óttarsson, Sigtryggur Baldursson, and Birgir Mogensen from Þeyr. After writing songs and rehearsing for two weeks, the new band, KUKL ("sorcery" in Icelandic), developed a sound described as Gothic rock. Björk began to show indications of her trademark singing style, which was punctuated by howls and shrieks.
KUKL toured Iceland with
anarchistUK punk band Crass, and later visited the UK in a series of performances with Flux of Pink Indians. They produced two albums as a result of these collaborations: "The Eye" in 1984, and "Holidays in Europe" in 1986, both on Crass Records.
The band was eventually dissolved, in part due to the closure of their label, Gramm. In mid-1986, several members of KUKL and the surrealist group Medusa got together to create the arts collective
Smekkleysa(Bad Taste). They created a musical division, a band again called KUKL, but soon changed the name to The Sugarcubes.
The Sugarcubes' first single, "Ammæli" (or "Birthday" in English), became a surprise hit in the UK after being declared single of the week by "
Melody Maker". The Sugarcubes were immediately signed up by One Little Indian, a new label set up by Derek Birkett, the former bass player of Flux of Pink Indians. They gained a cult followingin the U.S. and UK, and calls from larger record companies began coming in. They rejected all these offers, and instead chose to have complete creative control by remaining with a friend's label. Björk is still signed to this label. The Sugarcubes also signed a distribution deal with Elektra Recordsin the United States, and recorded their first album, " Life's Too Good", in 1988. Its release propelled them into international stardom—an unprecedented success for an Icelandic rock band. While with the Sugarcubes, Björk participated in several side projects. She recorded " Gling-Gló", a collection of popular jazzand original work, with the jazz group Trio Guðmundar Ingólfssonar(an octogenarianjazz group), released in Iceland. Björk also contributed vocals to 808 State's album ', with whom she cultivated her interest in house music. The song "Ooops" was released as a single in the UK and was later included on 808 State's "Best Of" album, '.
In 1992 The Sugarcubes split up. They still remain friends and are all still involved in the management of Smekkleysa/Bad Taste. Björk moved to
Londonto pursue a solo career; she began working with producer Nellee Hooper, who had produced for Massive Attack, among others. Their partnership produced Björk's first international solo hit, "Human Behaviour". Her solo debut album, "Debut", was released in June 1993 to positive reviews; it was named album of the year by " NME", and eventually went platinum in the United States.
Debut was the leap Björk made from being in numerous bands during her teens and early twenties, to her solo career. But although this was far from her real debut as a singer and musician, having released her very first solo album at the age of 11, she set the title to Debut to signify a start of something brand new.
At the 1994 BRIT Awards Björk won the awards for Best International Female and Best International Newcomer. [ [http://www.everyhit.com/awardbrit.html The Brit Awards] ] "Debut" had a mix of songs Björk had been writing since she was a teenager, as well as more recent lyrical collaborations with Hooper.
The success of "Debut" enabled her to collaborate with other artists on one-off tracks. She worked with
David Arnoldon "Play Dead", the theme to the 1993 film "The Young Americans" (which appeared as a bonus track on a re-release of "Debut"), collaborated on two songs for Tricky's " Nearly God" project, appeared on a track on the 1997 album " Not For Threes" by Plaid, which was released on the cult Warp Recordslabel, and co-wrote the song " Bedtime Story" for Madonna's 1994 album "Bedtime Stories".
"Post" was Björk's second solo studio album. Released in June 1995, the album was produced in conjunction with
Nellee Hooper, Tricky, Graham Masseyof 808 State, and electronica producer Howie B.
Building on the success of her previous album "Debut", Björk continued to pursue different sounds, taking particular interest in dance and
techno. Production by Tricky and Howie B also provided trip hop/electronica-like sounds on tracks like " Possibly Maybe". It was these producers' influence that gave Björk impetus to create material like the storming " Army of Me" and "Enjoy".
In 1997, the album "
Homogenic" was released. It marked a dramatic shift from her earlier " pixie" image cultivated on the "Debut" and "Post" albums. Björk worked with producers Mark Bell of LFO and Howie Bon the album, as well as Eumir Deodato; numerous remixes followed. "Homogenic" was her first conceptually self-contained album and is regarded as one of Björk's most experimental and extroverted works to date, with enormous beats that reflect the landscape of Iceland, most notably in the song " Jóga", which fuses lush strings with rocky electronic crunches.
The emotionally-charged album contains a string of
music videos, several of which received airplay on MTV. The video for "Bachelorette" was directed by frequent collaborator Michel Gondry, while " All Is Full of Love" was directed by Chris Cunningham. The single "All is Full of Love" was also the first DVDsingle to ever be released in the U.S., which paved the way for other artists to include DVD video and other multimediafeatures with their singles.
In an interview with "
Spin" magazine, Radioheadsinger Thom Yorkecalled the song " Unravel" from this album his favourite song ever, claiming "I'm trying to get Radiohead to do a cover because I think it's one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard." In November 2007, the band covered the song as part of a live webcast. The video can be seen on Youtube. [ [http://youtube.com/watch?v=k7h_E58fPmo Radiohead Testcast: Entanglement (pt 2 – Bjork's Unravel)] ]
The album reached gold status in the U.S. in 2001 and platinum in 2006.
In 2000 Björk played the role of Selma, a blind factory worker, in
Lars Von Trier's " Dancer in the Dark", and subsequently recorded the soundtrack, " Selmasongs".
In 2001, Björk released the album "
Vespertine". The album featured chamber orchestras, choirs, hushed vocals and personal, vulnerable themes. She collaborated with experimental sound manipulators Matmos, Denmark-based DJ Thomas Knak, and the experimental harpist Zeena Parkinsfor the album. Lyrical sources included the works of American poet e. e. cummings, the American independent filmmaker Harmony Korineand English playwright Sarah Kane's penultimate play, "Crave". To coincide with the album's release, Björk released a coffee table bookof loose proseand photographs titled "Björk". [ [http://unit.bjork.com/specials/book/book3.htm Björk : book, A project by Björk] ] Björk embarked on a tour of theatres and operahouses in Europe and North Americain support of the album, accompanied by the musicians Matmos, Zeena Parkinsand an Inuit choir, whom she had held auditions for on a trip to Greenlandprior to the tour. [ [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/bjork/articles/story/5933169/bjork_gets_orchestric Björk Gets Orchestric] ] At the time "Vespertine" was Björk's quickest selling album ever, having sold two million copies by the end of 2001. [ "Q Magazine", February 2002, Q Concert Review, "Björk – Haskolaboi, Reykjavik", by Nick Duerden. ]
"Vespertine" spawned three singles: "
Hidden Place", " Pagan Poetry", and "Cocoon." MTV2played the album's first video, "Hidden Place", which was subsequently released as a DVD single. However, the next video, for " Pagan Poetry", brought Björk to an even higher level of controversy with the channel. The song's video features graphic piercings and Björk's exposed nipples, as well as distorted images of sexual acts, which included vaginal penetration and fellatio. As a result, the clip was initially rarely shown by MTV, and certain parts (for example, Björk's breasts) were censored during the rare occasions when it was played. In 2002, the clip finally enjoyed unedited American airing as part of a late night special on MTV2 entitled "Most Controversial Music Videos". The video for "Cocoon" also featured a seemingly naked Björk, (actually wearing a close fitting bodysuit) this time with her nipples secreting a red thread that eventually enveloped the singer in a cocoon. The video was directed by Japanese artist Eiko Ishioka, and was not aired by MTV.
"Family Tree"/"Greatest Hits"/"Live Box"
2002 saw the appearance of the CD box set "Family Tree" containing a retrospective of Björk's career, comprising many previously unreleased versions of her compositions, including her work with the
Brodsky Quartet. Also released alongside "Family Tree" was the album "Greatest Hits", a retrospective of the previous 10 years of her solo career as deemed by the public: the songs on the album were chosen by Björk's fans through a poll on her website. Both releases sold poorly. A DVD edition of the CD was also released; it contained all of Björk's solo music videos up to that point. The new single from the set, "It's In Our Hands", charted in the UK at #37. The video, directed by Spike Jonze, features a heavily pregnant Björk.
In 2003, Björk released a box set called "
Live Box", consisting of four CDs containing live recordings of her previous albums and a DVD featuring a video of one track from each CD. Each of the four CDs were later released separately at a reduced price.
In August 2004, Björk released "
Medúlla". During production, Björk decided the album would work best as an entirely vocal-based album. However, this initial plan didn't materialize exactly that way, as the majority of the sounds on the album are indeed created by vocalists (although these sounds are often electronically distorted) but several feature prominent basic electronic programming. Björk used the vocal skills of throat singer Tagaq, hip hop beatboxer Rahzel, Japanese beatboxer Dokaka, avant-rocker Mike Patton, Soft Machinedrummer/singer Robert Wyatt, and several choirs; she again appropriated text from E. E. Cummings for the song "Sonnets/Unrealities XI." At the time "Medúlla" became her highest charting album in the U.S., debuting at number 14. It has since been surpassed by "Volta", which debuted at number nine in the U.S.
In August 2004, Björk performed the song "Oceania" at the Opening Ceremony of the
2004 Summer Olympicsin Athens, Greece. As she sang, her dress slowly unfurled to reveal a 10,000 square foot (900 m²) map of the world, which she let flow over all of the Olympic athletes. The song "Oceania" was written especially for the occasion and features the talents of Shlomo, a Leeds-based beatboxer, and a London choir. An alternate version of the song began circulating on the Internetwith additional vocals by Kelis. It originally appeared on the promotional "Oceania" single released to radio stations and later became available to the public as a B-sideof the "Who Is It" single, which charted at number 26 in the UK. This was followed in early 2005 by " Triumph of a Heart", charting at number 31. A video for the potential next single, "Where Is the Line?", was filmed in collaboration with the Icelandic artist Gabríela Fridriksdóttirin late 2004. This was initially a sequence from an art installation movie of the artists, but was released exclusively on the "Medúlla Videos" DVD as an official promo for the track.
Other than these few performances, no concerts or tours were arranged to promote "Medúlla". Björk said in numerous interviews that this was because she wished to immediately continue writing and recording yet another new album. She spoke to "
Rolling Stone" in June 2004: "Every album I've done, the minute that it's done, I feel really lubricated and, like, 'Wow, now I can write an album in five minutes'... And I just want to find out if that's just a fantasy or if it's true." [ [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/bjork/articles/story/6184996/bjork_voices_medulla Björk Voices "Medulla"] ]
"Army of Me: Remixes and Covers"
After the tsunami which struck
Southeast Asiain late 2004, Björk began work on a new project entitled "Army of Mixes" to help raise money for a relief fund. This project recruited fans and musicians from around the world to either cover or remix the 1995 track, "Army of Me". From over 600 responses Björk and her co-writer Graham Massey picked the best twenty to appear on the album. The album was released in April in the UK and in late May 2005 in the US. By January 2006, the album had raised around £250,000 to help UNICEF's work in the south east Asian region. [ [http://www.bjork.com/grapewire/?id=566;year=2006#news Army of Me : The progress] ] Björk visited Banda Acehin February 2006 to view some of UNICEF's work with the children who were affected by the tsunami. [ [http://www.unicef.org.uk/press/photogalleries/gallery.asp?gallery_id=29&nodeid=g29 Björk visits UNICEF's work in Banda Aceh photo gallery] ]
"Drawing Restraint 9"
On 25 July 2005 in the UK and on 23 August in the U.S., Björk released the album "The Music from Drawing Restraint 9". It is a soundtrack to
Matthew Barney's movie of the same title; Björk explores traditional Japanese musicstyles to complement the experimental film, in which two lovers find themselves on a whaling ship and participate in a bizarre tea ceremony.
On 2 July 2005 Björk took part in the historic
Live 8series of concerts, headlining the Japan show with Do As Infinity, Good Charlotteand McFly. She performed eight songs with Matmos, a Japanese string octetand Zeena Parkins. [ [http://www.bjork.com/grapewire/?id=534;year=2005#news Report from Live8] ]
In 2006, Björk remastered her first three solo studio albums ("Debut", "Post", "Homogenic") and her two soundtrack albums ("Selmasongs" and "Drawing Restraint 9") in 5.1 surround sound for a re-issue in a new box-set titled "(____surrounded):", released on 27 June. "Vespertine" and "Medúlla" were already available in 5.1 as either DVD-A or SACD but are also included in the box set in repackaged format. The
DualDiscs were also released separately. [ [http://www.bjork.com/grapewire/?id=581;year=2006 Surrounded] ]
During this era, Björk earned another
BRIT Awardsnomination for Best International Female Solo Artist. [ [http://www.bjork.com/grapewire/?id=568;year=2006#news Brit Awards nomination] ] She was also awarded the Inspiration Award at the Annual " Q Magazine" Awards in October 2005, accepting the prize from Robert Wyatt, with whom she collaborated on "Medúlla".
Björk's former band, The Sugarcubes, reunited for a one-night-only concert in Reykjavík on 17 November 2006. Profits from the concert were donated to The Sugarcubes' former label,
Smekkleysa, who according to Björk's press statement "continue to work on a non-profit basis for the future betterment of Icelandic music". [ [http://www.bjork.com/grapewire/?id=591;year=2006 The Sugarcubes bounce back into concert!] ]
On 14 March 2007 Björk played at the
Parisclub Le Baron, where she performed a humorous "unplugged" cover versionof "No Limit" by 2 Unlimited, announcing it as "C'est ma chanson préferée..!" ("It's my favourite song"). The performance can be viewed on YouTube. [ [http://www.side-line.com/news_comments.php?id=21903_0_2_0_C Björk goes 2 Unlimited] ] Björk also contributed a cover of Joni Mitchell's song "The Boho Dance" to the tribute album " A Tribute to Joni Mitchell", released on 24 April 2007.
Björk's sixth full-length studio album, "Volta", was released on 7 May 2007. It was primarily written and produced by Björk herself and features 10 new tracks, containing electronic,
kora, pipa, and brasscompositions. The disc features input from acclaimed producer Timbaland, Antony Hegartyand Sjón, among other artists.
The first single from the album, "
Earth Intruders", was released digitally on 9 April 2007 and became her second-ever Billboard Hot 100entry in the United States. "Volta" debuted at number nine on the Billboard 200albums chart, becoming her first Top 10 album in the U.S., netting week-one sales of 43,000. The album also reached number three on the French albums chart with sales of 20,600 albums sold in its first week, and number seven in the UK Albums Chartwith 20,456 units sold.
The second single from the album, "Innocence", was digitally released on 23 July 2007, with an accompanying music video chosen from a contest conducted through her official website. "
Declare Independence" was released on 1 January 2008 in a super deluxe packaging including 2 x 12" Vinyls, a CD and a DVD featuring Oscar-winning French director Michel Gondry's "Declare Independence" video. [ [http://www.side-line.com/news_comments.php?id=27887_0_2_0_C Björk releases brand new single 'Declare Independence' on New Year's Eve] ] "Wanderlust" was subsequently released in a similar format, featuring Encyclopedia Pictura's short film directed for the track, shot in stereoscopic3D.
The fifth single released from the album was "
The Dull Flame of Desire", featuring vocals by Antony Hegarty. Upon its September 27, 2008 digital release, it topped the Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales chart and reached number three on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart.
Björk has recently completed an 18 month world tour, having performed at the Coachella, the
Glastonbury Festival, the Roskilde Festival, Austin City Limitsand Madison Square Garden, among many others venues. Björk returned to Brazil, Chileand Argentinaafter nine years, performing in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Curitiba, Santiago de Chileand Buenos Airesas part of different events. In November she also performed in Lima, Peruand Bogotá, Colombiafor the first time in her career and then in Mexicoin December 2007 at Guadalajara, Jalisco. She also returned to Australiaand New Zealandfor the first time in 12 years in January 2008, touring the nations with the Big Day Out Festival. She also played a one-off intimate show at the Sydney Opera House, as part of the Sydney Festival. Following her Opera House performance, she was advised by doctors to withdraw from the Sydney leg of the Big Day Out Festival due to swollen vocal cords. [ [http://www.bigdayout.com/news/pressreleases.php?PressReleaseId=63 Bjork Performance At Big Day Out Sydney Cancelled] ] This fuelled rumours that she would not perform at subsequent Big Day Out shows, however she managed to fulfill all her other tour commitments in Australia. On 4 May, Björk was forced to cancel her performance at Sheffield City Hall due to the same swollen vocal cords that plagued her in Australia.
"Declare Independence" live dedications
Later on the same tour, she played concerts in Japan and in China. In Tokyo, Björk dedicated her set-closing song "
Declare Independence" to independent Kosovo, which did unilaterally declare independence from Serbiaa few days earlier on 17 February 2008. According to her management, she was subsequently and consequently dropped from July's Exit Festival, which is held in Serbia, in the city of Novi Sadin the northern province of Vojvodina, a major event that each year draws over 150,000 people, half of them from abroad. [http://www.nme.com/news/bjork/34884 "Bjork management: Kosovo WAS behind Exit festival row; Representatives reject organisers' claims over 'cancelled' show"] , "NME.com", 4 March 2008. Link accessed 2008-03-05.] The festival organizers denied that they have ever dropped any artist for political self-expression, and contend that doing so is against their principles. [ [http://www.side-line.com/news_comments.php?id=29819_0_2_6_C Bjork's presumed festival cancellation not due to politics] ] However, Björk's representatives revealed an e-mail from the chief organizer, warning the singer not to dedicate the song to Kosovo during upcoming concerts in Europe or "relate to Kosovo" in interviews .
On 2 March 2008, she dedicated the same song to
Tibetat the end of her performance in Shanghai, China [Clifford Coonan (in China), [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/bjorks-protest-a-sign-of-things-to-come-for-china-791352.html "Bjork's protest a sign of things to come for China"] , "The Independent", 5 March 2008. Link accessed 2008-03-05.] causing local upset [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/05/arts/05arts-BJORKVOICESP_BRF.html?ref=arts "Bjork Voices Politics in Shanghai"] , "The New York Times", "Arts" section, 5 March 2008. Link accessed 2008-03-05.] [ [http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/?id=351097&type=Feature "Icelandic diva leaves puddle"] , "ShanghaiDaily.com", 6 March 2008. Link accessed 2008-03-05.] . Some of her Chinese fans announced that they are no longer supporters of her music. [ [http://tieba.baidu.com/f?kw=%B1%C8%D4%BC%BF%CB 百度贴吧比约克吧] ] [ [http://www.81835.com/dv_rss_xhtml_8_308768_1.html 81835.com] ] . On the other hand, there are Chinese fans who did not care, saying "She [would] not [be] Björk if she did not get on your nerves" [ [http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_4bd9f42601008g6k.html Erica 新浪博客] ] . Björk explained her dedications in a 4 March 2008 statement on her web page [http://bjork.com/news/?id=779;year=2008 "Statement"] , "björk.com/news 2008", 4 March 2008. Link accessed 2008-03-05.] . She had previously dedicated the song to the independence of Denmark's Atlantic Ocean territory of Faroe Islandsand independence of Greenland, also a Danish overseas territory. Björk's native Icelandgained independence from Denmarkin 1944. During her Australian performances, she dedicated the song to the Indigenous Australians.
Damian Taylor has mentioned collaborating with Björk on her new album using instruments like the
Reactableand the Tenori-on. [ [http://www.sonicstate.com/news/shownews.cfm?newsid=6630 ] ]
Announced via an
eBay auction, a new Björk track was recently discovered under the title "Nattura", labeled as a new single by Björk/ Thom Yorke. Pitchfork Mediainvestigated the possibility of the single, announcing the item valid, with One Little Indianset to release said track on 20 October, 2008. [ [http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/news/146387-bjork-and-thom-yorke-teaming-for-new-single] ] However, Yorke's contribution to the single is currently debated, as Billboard Music has stated that the singer-songwriter has not recorded any new material with Björk since their duet, "I've Seen It All" in 2001. [ [http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003873204] ]
Björk in film
Björk's intermittent acting career began in 1990, when she appeared in "The Juniper Tree", a tale of
witchcraftbased on the Brothers Grimmstory of the same name. Björk played the role of Margit, a girl whose mother has been killed for practicing witchcraft. Björk also had an uncredited role in 1994's "Prêt-à-Porter".
In 1999, Björk was asked to write and produce the musical score for the film "
Dancer in the Dark", a musical drama about an immigrant named Selma who is struggling to pay for an operation to prevent her son from going blind. Director Lars von Triereventually asked her to consider playing the role of Selma, convincing her that the only true way to capture the character of Selma was to have the composer of the music play the character. [http://www.bjork.com/facts/about/right.php?id=629] Eventually, she accepted. Filming began in early 1999, and the film debuted in 2000 at the 53rd Cannes Film Festival. The film received the Palme d'Or, and Björk received the Best Actress Award for her role. It was reported that the shoot was so physically and emotionally tiring that she swore off acting ever again, but Björk later stated that she always wanted to do one musical in her life, and this was the one. [http://www.bjork.com/facts/about/right.php?id=541]
The soundtrack Björk created for the film was released with the title "
Selmasongs". The album features a duet with Thom Yorkeof Radioheadtitled " I've Seen It All", which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Songand was performed at the 2001 Oscars, while Björk was wearing her celebrated "swan dress," which was recently auctioned off on eBay, for charity. She was invited to record " Gollum's Song" for the film "" but declined the invitation, as she was then pregnant; the song was instead recorded by another Icelander, Emilíana Torrini.
Björk also appeared in the 2005 documentary "
Screaming Masterpiece", which delves into the Icelandic music scene. The movie features archive footage of The Sugarcubesand Tappi Tíkarrass, and an ongoing conversation with Björk herself.
Her long-time boyfriend
Matthew Barneyis a contemporary artist based in New York. Björk collaborated with him on the experimental art film " Drawing Restraint 9", a dialogueless exploration of Japanese culture. Björk and Barney both appear in the film. The film was released in 2005. She is also responsible for the film's soundtrack, her second after "Selmasongs".
Director and previous collaborator
Michel Gondryhad asked Björk to star in his film " The Science of Sleep", but she declined. [ [http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,2010332,00.html Björk Plays the Recluse] 11 February 2007]
Name and ancestry
"Björk" is a common female given name in Iceland. Björk usually goes by her first name only. This is not a stage name; it is normal for an Icelander to be referred to by his or her first name, as almost all Icelanders' last names merely indicate the name of the father (or occasionally the mother);
family names are rare. "Björk" means " birchtree" in Icelandic (the meaning of Icelandic names is often transparent), cognatewith Old English "beorc".
Though many anglophones pronounce her name "Byork," a more accurate approximation would be "Byerk," [Interview with Björk on Clive Anderson show, where she pronounces her first name. [youtube.com/watch?v=HKrbYhYEdBI&feature=related] ] [Blender Magazine Interview [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IotSgzhnq9M&feature=related] ] which she has pointed out rhymes with "jerk." [ [http://ebweb.at/ortner/tia/97/babe9706/babe9706.html Icelandic Spice] ]
"Guðmundsdóttir" is pronounced roughly "Gvuth-munds-dough-tear" and is a
patronymmeaning "Guðmundur's daughter."
Guðmundur Gunnarsson, is a well-known union leader in Iceland and was nationally recognized before his daughter became famous. Her mother's name is Hildur Rúna Hauksdóttir, and she has also been politically active.
Björk and her partner, artist
Matthew Barney, have a daughter, Ísadóra Bjarkardóttir Barney, born 3 October 2002. Björk also has a son, Sindri Eldon Þórsson (Thorsson), born 8 June 1986, with Þór (Thor) Eldon, who was her band mate in The Sugarcubes. Sindri is a journalist and plays bass for several bands.
Björk has complained of being hounded by
paparazzi. In 1996, two separate incidents involving them brought media attention. First, after a long flight to Thailandan exhausted Björk emerged from her aircraft at Don Muang Airportwith her then 10-year-old son to find a group of journalists and cameramen waiting to greet her. When one reporter greeted her with the words, "Welcome to Bangkok," and then laughed, Björk attacked the reporter and landed several blows before the melee was broken up. Björk even tried to go back and continue attacking the woman, but was helped onto a bus. Her record label said the reporter had been pestering her for four days. Björk later apologized for the attack. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYyyqIZTvYY] .
Later that year, fan Ricardo López mailed an acid bomb to Björk's London home and then killed himself, but the package was intercepted by the London police. López filmed himself in the process of making the acid bomb intended to kill her. The nearly 18 hours of videotape describe López's obsession with Björk, the construction of the device, his thoughts on love and other subjects. The video footage continues after his mailing the bomb to Björk's London home and ends dramatically as López applies face paint, shaves his head and commits suicide by shooting himself on camera. [ [http://archive.salon.com/people/bc/2001/05/01/bjork/print.html Björk] 1 May 2001] [ [http://youtube.com/watch?v=nAq5aZSnf1k&mode=related&search= Björk Stalker] ] Extracts from his videotapes were leaked onto the internet in 2008.
Björk was reluctant to comment on either of these incidents and later told "
The Guardian": "It just got a bit much."
In an interview with "Diva" magazine in October 2004, she said, "I think everyone's
bisexualto some degree or another; it's just a question of whether or not you choose to recognize it and embrace it. Personally, I think choosing between men and women is like choosing between cake and ice cream. You'd be daft not to try both when there are so many different flavours." [ [http://www.bicommunitynews.co.uk/69/bimedia69.html Summer BiMedia] ]
On 13 January 2008, Björk made headlines when she attacked a paparazzo who had photographed her arrival at
Auckland International Airportin New Zealandfor her scheduled performance at the Big Day Outfestival. [ [http://www.theage.com.au/news/music/bpeopleb-bjork-goes-berserk-at-nz-airport/2008/01/14/1200159319463.html Bjork attacks photographer] , " The Age", 14 January 2008.] Björk allegedly tore the photographer's shirt down the back, and in the process she fell to the ground. [ [http://www.tv3.co.nz/News/BjorkattacksphotographeratAucklandAirport/tabid/209/articleID/43421/Default.aspx?ArticleID=43421] . TV3. "Bjork attacks photographer at Auckland Airport." 14 January 2008.] There were no charges filed by the photographer, or her employer " The New Zealand Herald", and Auckland police did no further investigation. [ [http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10486789.] "Charges unlikely after singer attacks Herald photographer". 14 January 2008.]
While Björk has been hesitant to appear like a political figure and has denied being a politician on her website, she is strongly supportive of numerous
separatistand national liberationmovements across the globe, including support for independencefor Kosovo. [cite web | author= [http://www.nme.com/ nme.com] | year= 2008| title= "Bjork Serbian gig cancelled over her pro-Kosovan stance | News | NME.COM"| url=http://www.nme.com/news/bjork/34703|accessdate=2008-03-04]
She dedicated her song "
Declare Independence" to Greenlandand the Faroe Islands, which caused a minor controversy in the Faroes. When Björk twice dedicated "Declare Independence" to the people of Kosovoduring a concert in Japan [ [http://0-news.bbc.co.uk.innopac.up.ac.za:80/2/hi/asia-pacific/7276891.stm Bjork makes 'free Tibet' gesture] ] , a planned performance of hers was cancelled at Serbia's Exit Festival, purportedly due to safety concerns.
In 2008 Björk set off an international controversy after she dedicated "Declare Independence" to the Tibet freedom movement during a
Shanghaiconcert, shouting "Tibet! Tibet!" during the song. It was rumoured that Chinese authorities would implement a crackdown on foreign musicians. In May 2008 the Midi concert was cancelled. Many feel this is related to the Björk incident. [ [http://0-news.bbc.co.uk.innopac.up.ac.za:80/2/hi/entertainment/7293605.stm Western acts 'welcome' in China] ]
Awards & nominations
Films, including cameos
* 1982 – "
Rokk í Reykjavík" (Íslenska Kvikmyndasamsteypan), film directed by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson.
* 1983 – "
Nýtt Líf" (Nýtt Líf ehf.), film directed by Þráinn Bertelsson.
* 1987 – "The Juniper Tree", character: Margit. (Rhino Home Video)
* 1994 – "Prêt-à-Porter", featuring Björk as a model. (
* 2000 – "
Dancer in the Dark", character: Selma Jezková. ( Lars von Trier)
* 2005 – "
Drawing Restraint 9", character is known as the "Guest". ( Matthew Barney)
* 2005 – "
Screaming Masterpiece", herself.
* 2005 – "Arakimentari", documentary on Japanese photographer
* 2006 – "", documentary on the making of "
Drawing Restraint 9".
* 2007 – "
Anna and the Moods", Björk performs the voice of Anna Young. ( CAOZ Ltd.)
* 1984 – "Um Úrnat frá Björk" (free distribution)
* 1995 – "Post"
* 2001 – "Björk" (Little-i)
* 2003 – "Björk Live Book"
* "Post", by
SjónSigurðsson/Björk Ltd. Bloomsbury (1995).
* "Björk – The Illustrated Story", by Paul Lester. Hamlyn (1996).
* "Björk – An Illustrated Biography", by Mick St. Michael. Omnibus Press (1996).
* "Björk Björkgraphy", by Martin Aston. Simon & Schuster (1996).
* "Björk", Colección Imágenes de Rock, N°82, by Jordi Bianciotto. Editorial La Máscara (1997).
* "Dancer in the Dark", by Lars von Trier. Film Four (2000).
* "Lobster or Fame", by Ólafur Jóhann Engilbertsson. Bad Taste (2000).
* "Army of She", by Evelyn McDonnell. Random House (2001).
* "Human Behaviour", by Ian Gittins. Carlton (2002).
* "Björk: There's More to Life Than This: The Stories Behind Every Song", by Ian Gittins. Imprint (2002).
* "Wow and Flutter", by Mark Pytlik. ECW (2003).
Björk Guðmundsdóttir & Tríó Guðmundar Ingólfssonar
List of number-one dance hits (United States)
List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Dance chart
Vegvísir– Björk's largest tattoo, located on her left arm
Music of Iceland
* [http://www.bjork.com Official website]
* [http://www.discogs.com/artist/Bj%C3%B6rk Discography at Discogs.com]
* [http://www.nndb.com/people/194/000026116/ Björk on NNDB]
* [http://comfortcomes.com/?page=reviews&id=2057 Declare Independence]
* [http://mngr.co.uk/template_permalink.asp?id=198 Wanderlust Video]
NAME = Guðmundsdóttir, Björk
ALTERNATIVE NAMES =
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Icelandic musician
DATE OF BIRTH = 21 November 1965
PLACE OF BIRTH =
DATE OF DEATH =
PLACE OF DEATH =
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