Posted August 24, 2013
by Jerry Alatalo
After coming across an excellent organization of bloggers called Bloggers For Peace, further searching led to their designation of August as music month. Members of the group are encouraged to include musical selections in their posts that would be helpful for peace building. So, the search at YouTube began.
There were some good music candidates found by going to Nobel Peace Prize Concert performances. There was Seal giving a powerful performance of “Crazy.” His lyric “in a world full of people only some want to fly, isn’t that crazy?” conveys a message of what’s possible for humanity if people changed their way of thinking. There were moving performances by the young women singers Laleh and Evanescence.
Perhaps some beautiful Mozart composition would be a good choice. Or any one of many musical pieces from artists in all the countries around the world would do, as it would show that people are the same everywhere on Earth. There would be an instantaneous awareness that the people from this country aren’t at all like they have been portrayed in news broadcasts; they enjoy music and have the same views as all people.
Or simply go with the John Lennon peace anthem of a lifetime, “Imagine,” going directly to the point with a choice that simply and elegantly goes to the heart of the matter. Perhaps a stronger message could be the way with Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” or Bob Dylan’s “Masters Of War.”
Being a fan of Icelandic singer Bjork I decided to check out some of her performances. She has a totally original style that is very interesting and experimental. She is admirable because she is not only willing to go in artistic directions that have not been traveled, but she seems to wish to go into previously untraveled spaces.
Let me preface the music selection with some information about this fascinating artist. Bjork was born in Revkjavik, Iceland in 1965. Her mother Hildur Hauksdottir protested a controversial hydroelectric development in Iceland, her father Guomundur Gunnarsson is an electrician and union leader known across Iceland. Bjork is very involved in environmental issues and supports liberation movements around the world.
Without doing any more research, one can only guess what Bjork’s motivations were when writing and producing “Declare Independence.” She may have become aware of the realities around the Earth where men, women and children have been harmed by the actions of those who had no concern for the consequences on innocent people.
This writer would be happy to learn that Bjork was thinking about motivating her countrymen to stand up to banks who had sunk Iceland’s economy, hurting her fellow Icelanders. One line in the song mentions “print your own currency” which suggests that she may have referred to the Icelandic economy. And that because of the overwhelming force and power of her creative work, the people of Iceland did not let them do that to them, and stood up to financial criminals. This is exactly what the people and country of Iceland did.
Maybe she experienced the frustration that many millions of people have after watching year after year of news broadcasts of war, fighting, greed, hunger, and lack of progress in eliminating suffering conditions of human beings on Earth. One can imagine the moment where Bjork decided to create a work of art that would go all the way and break the world record for unambiguous, in-your-face, universal truth.
And Bjork’s message here is universal. The message relates to people on an individual or collective basis, in any situation.
She is a true artist of the highest order. One who exhibits total fearlessness while making the effort to break through to a place never seen before.
In my humble opinion “Declare Independence” by Bjork may have surpassed any musical work the world has ever experienced related to human freedom-measured by sheer force, intensity and power.
- Iceland walks out of EU accession talks; dissolves committee (politics.ie)
- Pitchfork Fest 2013 day 1 in pics: (Bjork, Wire, Joanna Newsom, Mikal Cronin, Angel Olsen, Trash Talk & more) (brooklynvegan.com)
- Björk and David Attenborough team up for science! (io9.com)