9 mai 2019

The Shed - The McCourt

New York, États-Unis
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Le concert est annoncé à 20h
Photos par Santiago Felipe


A recording of “Family” signaled the start of Björk’s set, and with it the projection of a technicolor psychedelic Björk-avatar onto the curtains, covered in tendrils of plant life and walking forward as the music swelled. Gradually we began to see the performers behind the layers of curtains – “utopian flute septet” Viibra, percussionist Manu Delago, electronic musician Bergur Þórisson, and Björk herself. (They were also periodically joined by Katie Buckley on harp). Set up on a series of interconnected platforms with mushroom-like underbellies, white tables with the organic feel of branches held Manu and Bergur’s gear. An enclosed reverb chamber stood on stage left, and a platform extended into the crowd.

When we got our first look at the real Björk (vs her projected, psychedelic avatar) she was dressed all in white with twin bubbles of insecticile shoulder armor and an elaborate headpiece (designed by frequent collaborator James Merry). Her voice sounded incredible as ever, never flagging throughout the show as if drawn from an infinite wellspring of power and energy, and she punctuated it with little dance moves, leaning into its ever-present force. Throughout the show she would at times retreat into the reverb chamber, sometimes alone, other times with a flutist (or a few) for a different sound experience. Other times she would use the platform to approach the crowd, alone or surrounded by members of Viibra.

Viibra were the true stars of the show next to Björk. Dressed in fanciful, fae costumes (designed by Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain, and Iris Van Herpen) and headpieces, they wielded their flutes like extensions of their bodies, moving organically as a group and separately, sometimes like flowers rippling in the wind, other times like furiously buzzing insects, shaking their instruments above their heads. They were the living embodiment of the show’s heavily flora and fauna-inspired imagery and they also provided its overarching sonic inspiration.

serpentwithfeet‘s guest appearance for “Blissing Me” was an evening highlight, Björk alongside him grinning with nearly palpable enjoyment while Manu made burbling sounds pouring out bowlfuls of water in two transparent cases, but the moment that sticks with me the most was “Body Memory.” The Hamrahlio Choir reappeared, dressed in white, while Björk stepped forward onto the platform. A circle of metal suspended from the ceiling descended over her ; it was actually four interconnected flutes, which members of Viibra played in union. Meanwhile, air was blown out into the crowd, making snow fall onto the choir. (I saw it in piles on the floor later ; it was really fine, white confetti. But it looked eerily like snow blowing in the wind.)

In a recent interview, Björk told the New York Times that Utopia, her 2017 album that provides the backbone of “Cornucopia,” is, lyrically, “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.” It’s an idea she addressed both directly and indirectly throughout the show. There were direct appeals : a segue where a message was projected onto darkened curtains, imploring, “let’s imagine a world where nature and technology collaborate.” Before the encore, a short video of 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg was shown ; she spoke about our responsibility to the earth, and to each other. Aside from those obvious missives, there was the lush, gorgeous plant imagery from Tobias Gremmler, a constant accompaniment to the music. Ecstatic flowers unfurled and bloomed in bursts of light and color, fronds rippled and swayed in a sensual dance, and spores took flight to germinate. During “Venus as a Boy” the projections had us traveling through a warren of vines, roots and branches while Björk sang alone on-stage and the sound of flutes came from the back of the room.

Björk spoke only twice during the show, saying, simply, “thanks for tonight” before the encore, when she came back out in a new costume, surrounded by white iridescent leaves. She thanked the crowd one more time before leaving the stage after the evening’s final song, “Notget.” brooklynvegan.com

Björk’s Cornucopia, a masterclass in exploration, is a show that’s being billed as her “most elaborate staged concert to date”, which plays with ideas of sound, lighting, costumes, video projection and set design. Created by Björk and directed by the acclaimed Argentinian film-maker Lucrecia Martel, making her theatrical debut, the production is concocted to be an immersive experience and is funneled straight from the singer’s unique psyche. It’s strung together using selections from her 2017 album Utopia, a bright record rooted in love and the bliss of romance. (She’s described it in the past as her “Tinder” album.)



Première partie

par Hamrahlid Choir
01. Ísland, farsælda frón
02. Vísur vatnsenda-rósu
03. Sonnets/Unrealities XI
04. Cosmogony
05. Maríukvæði


01. Family (intro)
02. The Gate
03. Utopia
04. Arisen My Senses
05. Show Me Forgiveness
06. Venus as a Boy
07. Claimstaker
08. Isobel
09. Blissing Me (avec serpentwithfeet)
11. Body Memory
12. Hidden Place
13. Mouth’s Cradle
14. Features Creatures
15. Courtship
16. Pagan Poetry
17. Losss
18. Sue Me
19. Tabula Rasa

Discours de Greta Thunberg

20. Future Forever
21. Notget

sur scène

  • Bergur Þórisson
  • Katie Buckley
  • Manu Delago
  • Serpentwithfeet​
  • The Hamrahlíð Choir
  • Viibra (flutists)


habillée par

  • Hungry
  • Iris van Herpen
  • James Merry
  • John Vial
  • Olivier Rousteing


  • Andrew Thomas Huang
  • Tobias Gremmler
  • Warren du Preez & Nick Thornton-Jones


  • Santiago Felipe