BJÖRK GUÐMUNDSDÓTTIR & TRÍÓ GUÐMUNDAR INGÓLFSSONAR

Pop/Art Song/Folk • Iceland
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Björk Guðmundsdóttir & tríó Guðmundar Ingólfssonar was an Icelandic jazz music band.

The band formed in 1990 when the singer-songwriter Björk Guðmundsdóttir, who at the time sang and wrote for The Sugarcubes, joined the tríó Guðmundar Ingólfssonar (Guðmundur Ingólfsson on piano, Guðmundur Steingrímsson (a.k.a. Papa Jazz) on drums and Þórður Högnason on bass).

According to one version of events, earlier Björk and Guðmundur Ingólfsson had developed a friendship after playing together in 1987 at Hótel Borg, Reykjavík. Another story has it that Björk's previous appearances on a local jazz radio program called Godravina Fundur had made an impression on Guðmundur Steingrímsson, and that he also had fond memories of her when she was just 16 years old, jazz obsessive, hanging around his recording sessions at Labbi Þórarinsson's farm Glora. ([1])

Be that as it may, the group's only album came out at the end of 1990. It is titled Gling-Gló, and was distributed
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BJÖRK GUÐMUNDSDÓTTIR & TRÍÓ GUÐMUNDAR INGÓLFSSONAR Gling-Gló album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Gling-Gló
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1990

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BJÖRK GUÐMUNDSDÓTTIR & TRÍÓ GUÐMUNDAR INGÓLFSSONAR Gling-Gló

Album · 1990 · Pop/Art Song/Folk
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siLLy puPPy
Tucked away in her career amidst her days with The Sugarcubes and after her post-punk heyday with Kuki, the Icelandic diva BJÖRK released the most unusual anomaly of her career with the unpronounceable BJÖRK GUÐMUNDSDÓTTIR & TRÍÓ GUÐMUNDAR INGÓLFSSONAR. Their sole album release as a quartet (yes it was she plus three) was titled GLING-GLÓ which is the Icelandic onomatopoeia version of "Ding Dong" which signifies the sound a bell makes. This release shows a new side of BJÖRK displaying to the world that she was more than a one trick pony. Well, maybe a two trick pony. She did have that kitschy disco pop album at the age of 11 which is virtually unknown outside of her native Iceland. The project started when Guðmundar Ingólfssonar was commissioned by the Icelandic State Radio to record a set of popular instrumental standards and the trio felt it would be infinitely better with a vocalist performing in the native Icelandic language and who else could have filled the bill better than BJÖRK herself who had already put the country on the map musically with her success with The Sugarcubes.

First of all, keep in mind that GLING-GLÓ is mostly sung in Icelandic and was meant to be for an Icelandic audience where it actually did quite well. The majority of the tracks are short but sweet jazz standards focusing on the virtues of vocal jazz but also incorporating a bit of hard bop, Latin and even Icelandic folk into the mix. There are, however, a couple of songs sung in English at the end of the album. The instrumentation includes BJÖRK on vocals and harmonica, Guðmundur Ingólfsson on piano and tambourine, Guðmundur Steingrímsson on drums, maracas and Christmas bells and Þórður Högnason on bass. Despite BJÖRK being an afterthought to the project, she had a major part in the whole development process and was responsible for selecting the setlist and had her input into the creative process from the get go. She displays her usual role as band leader with her brash and bold vocalizations which in her native tongue give a sense of her roots.

This one is actually a pretty decent set of songs to enjoy. No, this will hardly blow you away if you foam at the mouth every time you hear "Homogenic" or "Vespertine," however there is a nice purity to this one where all the musicians on board are wholeheartedly focused on creating a certain experience outside of themselves. The Icelandic language which is the closest current language to Old Norse is a very rhythmic language and to hear these standards from other artists ranging from obscure American composers of the early 20th century such as Nat Simon ("Luktar-Gvendur" ("Lantern-Gvendur")) to Rablo Beltán Ruiz is quite exotic to the English speaking world indeed. While i would hardly call this album an essential BJÖRK album by any means, it does have a certain charm that works well as dinner music or for anyone interested in the Icelandic volcano goddess' earlier offerings. Everything is well performed and pleasant to the ears. I find this to be a notch above the pure "for collectors only" category and actually enjoy listening to this from time to time. Great dinner music that delivers the most giddy speakeasy feel of yesteryear.

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