Björk’s Years-In-The-Making Spectacular ‘Cornucopia’ is Coming to L.A.

The ethereal singer is bringing her rapturous tour to the Shrine Auditorium on January 26, January 29, and February 1
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Finally, it’s L.A.’s turn.

Much of the rest of the world, including New York and London, got to see Björk’s rapturous Cornucopia tour in 2019—essentially a lifetime ago. Now it’s coming to the Shrine Auditorium on January 26, January 29, and February 1. No mere pop concert, it’s an immersive musical and theatrical art installation. Critics have hailed it as “an audacious, expectation-disrupting spectacular,” a “swirling phantasmagoria,” and “the wildest visual display in a concert that I’ve ever seen.” Start thinking about what edibles you’ll want to have on hand.

“I am trying to carve ways to express the spiritual in the digital,” 56-year-old Björk told Dazed about the impulses behind the show. “There is an enormous need to find a place for the soul in our global landscape.”

The 52-member Hamrahlíð choir—which Björk was a member of as a teen growing up in Iceland—will join the ethereal singer on the stage, as will Viibra, a seven-member women’s flute ensemble playing multiple variations of the instrument. Digital visuals by media artist Tobias Gremmler will have aqua-flora-inspired designs to match sculptural costumes by designer Olivier Rousteing of Balmain. Set designer Chiara Stephenson, who has previously worked with Lorde and the xx, as well as on several West End plays, has created various structures resembling fungi and sea anemone to populate the stage.

(Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

“Björk is totally interested in nature and technology and where those two combine, and how they can combine in the future as we move forward,” Stephenson has said.

All will be corralled and tempered by Argentine film director Lucrecia Martel.

The setlist will focus on songs from the singer’s 2017 Utopia, a collaboration with Venezuelan musician Arca. But it will also include retuned versions of some of her classic songs like “Isobel,” “Hidden Place,” and “Pagan Poetry.”

Expect some unique renditions of the otherworldly artist’s work. A custom-made reverb chamber designed by engineering firm Arup will flank the stage. From it, Bjork will sing songs like “Features Creatures” and “Show Me Forgiveness” while a camera transmits her image to proscenium curtains.

Not to be outdone, her performance of “Blissing Me” will feature a singular beat by percussionist Manu Delago who plays water drums—hollow pumpkins suspended in water with, naturally, a submerged microphone.

If it sounds like the pint-sized soprano might be getting soft—or at least overly conceptual, even for her—fear not. Tunes such as “The Gate” and “Arisen My Senses” will feature simple arrangements that showcase the grit and naked power of Björk’s voice from her punk-rock and Sugarcubes days.

Born Björk Guðmundsdóttir in Reykjavik, the fearlessly experimental singer sang in school and community events throughout her childhood and signed her first recording contract at age 11. In her twenties, she became lead singer of the Sugarcubes, the first Icelandic band to have a global impact. Its signature song, “Birthday,” was written following the birth of Björk’s first child, Sindri, with guitarist Þór Eldon, whom she divorced in 1987 after a year of marriage.

She went on to have a lengthy, high-profile relationship with artist Matthew Barney. The pair had one daughter, Ísadóra, in 2002, but parted ways in 2013, inspiring Björk’s Vulnicura album.

In more recent years, she’s said she doesn’t find “norm-core” sexuality very interesting but rather gets turned on by nature. The precarious state of the natural world is one of the concert’s themes.

At the end, 18-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg will appear on the screen to talk climate change. “I’m here to tell you that change is coming, whether they like it or not,” Thunberg says. “The real power belongs to the people.”

But the messaging is ultimately hopeful, with Cornucopia highlighting women and offering up a vision of a feminist alternate reality. A bulletin on-screen at one point makes this powerfully explicit.

“We have to imagine something that doesn’t exist, carve intentionally into the future,” it reads. “Make a musical mock-up, then move into it.” Indeed.

Tickets at axs.com.


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