She Believes in Gnomes

Showbizz, 1er février 1996

She believes in gnomes - and is fan of Elis Regina ! From the cold Iceland, where ghost are "natural things", comes Björk, the most exotic international pop star.

She lives in London and answers for the name "birch", a shrub that only grows in a cold wether and, in a small country near Artic, earned the translation "Björk". The word, which in icelandic have the sound of "bierk" [by-erk], named the plant until november 1965, when a hippie couple sticked it in the birth certificate of their daughter. In this hippie comunity of Reykjavik, was coming to the world the one who would consecrate as the first popstar from Iceland history : Björk Gudmundsdottir.

Less than 1,60m, black little fringe playing with the long dress that goes till the ankle, she comes with heavy boots on a saturday afternoon to a press conference with latin-americans journalists in New York. Swoolen cheeks with sleepyness, enhacing her small eyes, from an obliquos green Machado de Assis [a brazilian writer] would say comes from a rough sea. The childish way makes each answer more distracting. "In the United States is where ghosts are things from other world. In Iceland, when you speak about ghosts, people ask : `So what ?’".

"Debut", realeased in 93 the debut album of Björk sold almost 3 million copies world wide. The new "Post" is universaly loved by critics and is in a good comercial career. Now nobody blames her anymore for quitting the Sugarcubes (cult success in Europe in the ends of 80’s). "We were together since I was 14", tells Björk, recalling the grief of the split. A while before, she has made her small dresses untie the jacket of the guitar player of the cubes, Thor Jonsson, father of her ten year old child, Sindri. Today, she’s dating the black english, Tricky, ex-Massive Attack.

"I’m a single mother, but people like to associate me with something more mystic", she complains. Son of a homeopath and aikido teacher married with from an eletrician (president of the sindicate of the category), since 11 years she’ve been recording her discs. With MPI - Musica Popular Islandesa [Iceland Pop Music]. Then she’ve been through various groups until, when with 18 years old, Björk formed the Kukl ("witch"), embryo of what would become the Sugarcubes.

Björk only moved to London to record Debut ; and goes back to Reykjavik from six to six months. - "It’s impossible be a popstar in Iceland. The cab driver gets you in the airport and comes saying : ’Don’t think that, just ’cause you became famous you are better than I, ok ? I met your grandma and she said you don’t phone her anymore’. Everybody knows you" -, she laughs. "The hard wheather of Iceland made people learn that nature is a thousand times stronger than men", she stares in amazement. "For icelanders, ghosts are just natural beings. Not that I take gnomes serious, but I believe in them", she laughs.

Religiosly, however, Björk takes seriosly. "I’m very religious, yes. But I have my own religion. In Iceland it doesn’t makes sense two people be in the same religion. It’s like have the same fingerprint."

After it became independent, in 1944, her country changed the almost medieval culture by modernity very quickly. "Like it happened with Latin America, more or less", she compares. The girl is excited to check this in next half year. From Brazil she knows something more than Eumir Deodato (producer of two tracks in her disc - see below) : "In the beginning of the year I won an Elis Regina video and found it terrific."

The enthusiasm was so big that brought a whole little story to mind, posted in the lyrics of "Isobel", track from Post. "It’s the story of a girl that grows in the middle of the brazilian florest while baby-buildings becomes sky-scrapers. Then suddenly, she see’s herself in a whole town full of crafty people. Then she asks for a moth to help so the insect goes cover the mouth of these people". Another brazilian passion of Björk is Milton Nascimento. Or rather, "Travessia", which she will record, with Eumir Deodato producing (whom made the original one), for a project in favour of Aids victims. "Milton is magic, pure energy".

If she prefers the future or the past ? "The present", she answers. It the last question : Björk is tired and finishs the interview. A mexican journalist takes her hand : "You will live very happy and perhaps have another child". The green iris from the singer shines : "Tell me more, please, tell me more about this." Björk knows, fairy tales doesn’t exist. But she believes in them, you can be sure of it.

And Iceland bows for Brazil...

Eumir Deodato. The name tells nothing for whom was born after the ’70 World Cup, but tells a lot to brazilian music. Composer and mixer, above all, Deodato pratically created "Travessia". In 1966, selected musics for Festival da Cancao [Song Festival], catched from the bottom of the refused trunk a tape recorded by someone called Bituca, and convinced the managers to change mind. Finily he made the arrangement that eternized the song. Twenty seven years later the work keeps making profit : it was for listening to "Travessia" and being enchanted with the orchestration, that Björk decided to look for him to work in Post. "I was in Japan and she called me from a studio in Bahamas", recalls Eumir. They met couple of days later in London and the results can be heard in tracks "Hyper-Ballad" and "You’ve Been Flirting Again".

"After, she discovered she loves other of my arrangements - the disco version of 2001", tells the ecletic Eumir. Carioca [born in Rio de Janeiro], he arrived in USA in ’67, to accompany violinist Luiz Bonfa in a series of shows and stayed put [in USA}. Made the arrangements of "Garota de Ipanema" [Ipanema Girl] and "Sabia" which Tom Jobim used for whole live, participated in the second disc the maestro recorded with Sinatra... Signed solo disc, made a fusion band and even produced Kool & The Gang.

In ’72, began to devote to stock exchange. "I made a course by mail and got interested." Today, living with his wife Ruth in the small city Rockland, New York state, he goes till early morning in the front of his computer. "It’s a very emotional activity, and have to do with arts".

par Leila Sterenberg (article traduit du portugais, source : The iceberg archive) publié dans Showbizz