Selected by Dan Grunebaum

Iceland' number one export

Some (including this writer) may pine for the Icelandic diva's simpler incarnation as the pixiesh singer for the Sugarcubes. But with Bjork's booking at two of Tokyo's poshest venues—and posh ticket prices to match them—her transformation into a full-fledged diva is complete. For her upcoming Vespertine tour, Bjork will be emphasizing her lofty status in the pop firmament by teaming up with an orchestra, harpist and computer duo for her two concerts.

Japanese audiences also currently have the mixed blessing of being able to view Bjork's nude torso uncensored on Japanese music channels Space Shower and MTV. The video for the latest single off Vespertine, "Pagan Poetry," features the singer naked from the waist up being erotically entwined by snakey computer graphics.

To fans of Bjork in her simpler Sugercubes days, her transformation into a boundary-breaking pop diva may have come as a surprise. But in fact Bjork was a child prodigy, releasing her first album at age 11. She also worked with Icelandic units Tappi T'karrass ("cork that bitch's ass") and KUKL before her successful six-year stint with the Sugarcubes.

After the demise of the groundbreaking group, Bjork returned to Iceland to launch her solo career. 1993's Debut marked her emergence on the world stage, and also signaled her growing interest in electronica. Post made this trend even more overt, while Homogenic brought a more introspective mood into her work.

To put the finishing touch on her transformation into a cultural icon (and iconoclast), Bjork then ventured into acting, winning the Best Actress award at the 2000 Cannes film festival for her role in "Dancer In The Dark," a film for which she also wrote the soundtrack.

In her ongoing fall Vespertine tour, Bjork has been appearing with trademark swan draped around her neck. She is touring with California computer duo Matmos and NYC-based harpist Zeena Parkins, both of whom collaborated on the album. The show is filled out by an 11-piece choir and a 54-piece orchestra.

Despite their high cost, Bjork's immense popularity in Japan means that tickets are selling fast. Book soon to guarantee yourself a seat.


Bjork plays Orchard Hall on Dec 5 and Tokyo International Forum Dec 7. See listings for details. See listings for details.

Concert Listings
403: Sloan
402: Jamiriquoi


401: Park Tower Blues Festival
400: Mercury Rev
399: Bjork
398: The Isley Brothers
397: Janet Jackson


396: Ian Brown
395: Tortoise Orchestra
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana