Last night in Paris… Bjork

Four years after a failed concert in We Love Green, the Icelandic came to present her “orchestral tour” at Seine Musicale. We were there.

Usually on the evening of the music festival, concerts are free. An exception to this – after two postponements – Björk finally gave her “orchestral tour” in Paris. Either one of the greatest singers of the time except with a string orchestra – for 178 euros in the gold category. Hence, the first of these two Parisian dates is the Basdelupe Orchestra, directed by fellow countryman Bjarne Freeman. Björk herself imagined arrangements of 10 violins, 10 violins, 10 cellos, and 2 double bass. She told at length on Twitter last October how she reimagined her repertoire to build this extraordinary show. Because yes, Bjork didn’t realize on her own during her now long run against big orchestras. Last night, I was 15 minutes late, here she is.

Björk on the Seine Music Stage, June 21, 2022.

© Santiago Felipe

The golden helmet on her hair, the envelope dress and the slippery shoes, gently attacks Björk with “Stonemilker”. Focusing on her text, “Show me emotional respect,” the 56-year-old seems pretty far off. Then she identified some graceful movements in the air, carried by the music, as silk, and enveloped. Same note for “Aurora,” the second excerpt from “Vulnicura,” recorded after the breakup, the record of a missing woman trying to rebuild herself after her heart was broken: Björk isn’t there to celebrate. But from the first “come to me” bars, Paris applauds him. And he reacts even stronger when he begins “I’ve seen it all” – the theme song of the movie “Dancer in the Dark”. After this first return to the past, Bjork and the orchestra set out on “Black Lagoon”. There for about ten minutes, the perfectly stripped song was a dip in her intimate wounds, supported by a fine orchestra. Even silence reverberates in the enormity of Seine music, which is captivated by the singer who reveals the darkest part of her life. Seven years after its creation, “Black Lake” is clearly still a therapy song for Björk, who has won long acclaim, like the one who just climbed the top of a mountain.

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Björk on the Seine Music Stage, June 21, 2022.

Björk on the Seine Music Stage, June 21, 2022.

© Santiago Felipe

From now on, the concert will turn into another dimension. After the effort, rest with the most famous titles. “Hunter” makes Paris tremble, and when Björk imitates the rhythm of the rings with her hands, everyone hears it in their heads. Lies all the power of an unparalleled display. Björk’s songs are almost nude, yet they retain their eccentricity and lyricism. It’s no longer about pop, electric, or dance tonight, just a woman who is reinventing her life by singing it with a still intact passion. For nostalgia, the sequence connecting “I’ve Been Flirting Again,” “Isobel” and “Hyperballad” — three songs from Post, his most famous album — is simply charming. If titles lose their musical complexity, they gain majesty. Paris was completely turned away, thinking that techno beats would eventually resonate. But no, Bjork will remain to the end in this extreme need. When the orchestra begins the introduction of ‘joja’, the room explodes. Björk interprets it as if she had just written it, with anger and force. If “quicksand” disturbs the company of Icelanders and the public, it is enough that she sends the “bachelorette” to smooth everyone out. “Thank you very much” in French and here it goes behind the scenes.

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Björk and Bjarni Frimann on stage at Seine Musicale, June 21, 2022.

Björk and Bjarni Frimann on stage at Seine Musicale, June 21, 2022.

© Santiago Felipe

As a reminder, Björk apologizes for not speaking French well enough “just enough to order at the restaurant”. Therefore it is performed in English by the Basdeloup Orchestra and its Icelandic conductor. “It’s the first time I think we’ve mixed techno with strings,” she says of Pluto. So here’s the techno series. This time, the orchestra moves away, introducing the little shred of madness that’s been missing since the show’s inception. Björk disappears after the announced ninety minutes. Icelandic star spinning. Looking forward to his next visit.

Björk on the Seine Music Stage, June 21, 2022.

Björk on the Seine Music Stage, June 21, 2022.

© Santiago Felipe

At a concert on June 24 in Paris (La Seine Musicale)

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List of songs on June 21, 2022, Paris, La Seine Musical

1 / stonemilker
2 / Aurora
3/ Come to me
4 / Layunsung
5/ I’ve seen it all
6 / History of the keys
7 / The Black Lagoon
8 / hunter
9/ You’re flirting again
10 / Isobel
11 / Hyper Ballad
12 / joga
13 / quick sand
14 / single

15 / Introduction
16 / Pluto

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