Björk free - she’s out of her cage

Jam ! (, 5 mai 1998

Like the mysterious volcanoes and glaciers that co-exist in her native Iceland, a conversation with the lovable, little and slightly loony Björk can be downright perplexing.

For example, her response when asked about a report that she was considering buying a deserted Scottish island earlier this year :

“I looked at it and I guess I found out that I wasn’t ready yet—I’ve still got things to do,” says Björk down the line from L.A. prior to her sold-out show tonight at the Warehouse.

“I always wanted an island since I was a child. And I guess once in awhile I look, but I think I’ll probably settle when I’m about 40 or 50 with a pipe organ that I can play at midnight. And I’m going to be this granny and they’re going to send the children to me and they think I’m a bit mad, but they know ‘She means well.’ And the kids have a good time with me—they’re not scared of me. And I’ll play them the pipe organ.”

For now, Björk—who fronted Iceland’s biggest rock band, the Sugarcubes, in the mid-1980s—has returned to her home island after living in London for the last four years.

“I moved about a half a year ago now,” says Björk, in her strangely-accented and broken English. “Yeah, that’s what works. It was a love-hate relationship with England because it was the only place where you could make your dreams come true, but at the same time the English have a way to patronize. But I guess if you’re an immigrant coming into a culture, they’re always going to treat you as an alien.”

Still, the otherwordly, elf-like singer with the wonderfully expressive big voice may be glossing over what was a rather dark period in her personal life.

First she struck a Bangkok TV reporter who approached her and her young son, Sindri, in the Thailand airport, and then a deranged Florida fan sent a letter bomb to her London home and later ended up videotaping his suicide.

“People, they kind of, take two events out of a whole year and they kind of draw their own picture out of that,” Björk sighs. “I think it’s almost coincidental what gets to the surface and what doesn’t. Of course, there was a lot going on in my life, it’s true, but I’ve been touring with my kid since he was born and he’s seen a thing or two.”

The singer, who combines pop, techno and orchestral music on Homogenic, is actually launching her eight- date North American tour at the Warehouse. The Icelandic String Octet and British beat-maker Mark Bell are in tow.

The show sold out in all of one day and if Torontonians seem to love Björk—well, the feeling is mutual.

“I just really wanted to go to Canada,” she says. “I’ve been listening to quite a lot of music. You seem to have quite a good scene of young kids doing techno music in Toronto now. I guess my favorite was a compilation CD called Northern Circuits.”

However, she says, she has no interest in being a part of another Canadian creation, Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair.

“I’ve never been into all-women things,” says Björk. “We musn’t ignore the fact that our mothers and our grandmothers and our greatgrandmothers fought (for women’s rights). And I think by saying there’s still a problem there, we are dissing all (our mothers’) work. It’s like the cage has been opened and it’s our time to walk out of it. Not scream, ‘I’m in a cage ! I’m in a cage ! I’m in a cage ! I’m in a cage !’ Just get out of there and make some music and mingle with the other inhabitants of the planet because we’ve been isolated so long.

“I think Lilith Fair’s making more isolation. It’s a step backwards.”

par Jane Stevenson publié dans Jam ! (