Joni Mitchell

It is hard to even begin to talk about what Joni Mitchell means to me.

The first record of hers I discovered was Don Juan’s Daughter ; I was around fourteen, fifteen and I knew it by heart (still do, every instrument, every noise, every word). I would love to cover sometime some of the songs of that album but they might be too sacred for me, too immaculate for me even to be able to suggest that they might be done in any other way. At that age my love for her was very intuitive and limitless with total ignorance of her meaning in North America in the hippy era, for example. I guess now later when I am a bit more knowledgeable about foreigners and history and context and such things I understand better her importance to the world and why she made such an impact on a teenage girl in Iceland (who had never left the island at that point, actually).

In a music-world ruled by males she continues to be the only one (except perhaps Kate Bush) who created an all-female universe with intuition, wisdom, intelligence, craftsmanship, and courage : had the guts to set up a world driven by extreme female emotion, almost any other female out there is fronting an already male-made sensibility. Joni got a group of musicians to play with her but they were following a female heart. This might not be the place to go into details ; I could write pages about it...for example her chord progression is very chromatic and grows like a plant, unpredictable and growing in all different directions (as you all know, she tuned her guitar strings very differently than others)...not the white Christian male c-g-f rock, boy-scout chords that are clean and square and deny the existence of nature. And there is no space to even go into her lyrics here, which are heavyweight literature, especially in the context of popular music.

And as I grow older I am forced to admit a very, very sad truth (something I promised I would never do, but...) : we are living in a rock white male world and because of this Joni is being ignored while someone like Bob Dylan for instance has become a saint.

This album has gathered musicians together to show a little of their love and respect for Joni Mitchell.

Let’s hope it takes part in inspiring the respect she deserves.

  • Björk, 2007