She’s the Icelandic queen of quirky, known for her outrageous outfits, which can only be described as unforgettable – remember the swan dress everyone? But what is easy to forget is just how brilliantly talented Bjork actually is.
Dressed for this occasion in a dress I can only describe as being covered in molluscs, a huge red afro, bioluminescent blue stockings and sparkly wedge heel boots), the singer bops around the stage as she belts out her unique band of songs from her Biophilia album. Currently showing numerous times a day at the Australian Centre for Moving Images (ACMI ), this viewing of the final Biophilia concert at London’s Alexandra Palace is a showcase of Bjork at her best.
The show played six-week residencies in eight cities over a period of three years and was highly acclaimed by the critics. Backed by a choir of some 20 odd vocally gifted singers from her homeland, ‘Director of Knobs’ Matt Robertson and percussionist extraordinaire and player of ‘drums and stuff’ Manu Delago, not only does she sing, uttering a child like ‘thank you’ after each song, but Bjork has been heavily involved in the production of the show and album too.
More of a concept album, and partly recorded on a tablet computer as well as containing an iPad app suite of interactive music games, it explores the relationship between music, technology and nature. And it’s not only Bjork taking this exploration on board. Reykjavik is currently running a Biophilia Educational Program, which is designed to do just that – its concept being to provide an alternative way for children to learn and explore their creativity, by merging together science and music in a hands-on approach. The slogan “Creativity as a Learning Tool” was based upon Bjork’s Biophilia concept. The program was launched in collaboration with the Manchester International Festival in 2011 and has been developed further by Bjork in collaboration with the University of Iceland and Reykjavik City Schools. Interestingly, is it particularly useful in teaching children suffering from ADHD, dyslexia and other learning disabilities.
Leaving the stage with ‘thank you for tonight!’, it’s not long before she is ushered back to the stage for not one but three encore performances, including a chant-like warning to Greenland to declare independence.
Thank you Bjork for reminding me of the magic that is you.