See Bjork in Auckland (almost)

If you’ve been following G&H for a while, you’ll know that I love the Blackbird Ensemble and think composer Claire Cowan is a national treasure. I’m not the only one who thinks so, she has a Silver Scroll to prove it.

Next week, Claire Cowan and the Blackbird Ensemble are returning to Q Theatre with a new show all about Bjork. I’ve been moved to tears by their radical arrangements of the Icelandic icon’s music before, so I expect this show will provide wall-to-wall unforgettable feels.

Bjork: All is Full of Love features vocalists Teeks, Anna Coddington, Jessie Cassin, Sarah Belkner (a talented electro-indie-pop-artist from Australia), as well as a band of multi-instrumentalists from diverse musical backgrounds.

I asked Claire Cowan to tell me her favourite three Bjork songs of all time. Her answers give an insight into the depth of thought that’s gone into creating this new, unmissable show…

All is full of love

Well. This takes the cake for my favourite song of all time! It’s filled with all the sounds that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It’s got prickly twinkly sounds mixed with cavernous sub-woofer beats and the most beautiful lyrics.

“All is full of love, you just ain’t receiving, your phone is off the hook, your doors are shut”

To me it’s about getting really focused on something and becoming blinded by it. It’s about realising not to be selfish; that there’s a whole world of love and opportunity out there if you only change the way you look at it!

It’s also about self love – which the mind-bogglingly cool music video illustrates well. If you love yourself then you can love other people and project love to the world. What a great song to base the show around eh?


Perhaps one of the most dramatic beginnings to any song ever: those suspended high strings, tumbling down into the ‘fountain of blood’ and the operatic style timpani hits. It’s like it was written channeling the spirit of Wagner (a German operatic composer who I was forced to learn and listen to during my years at Uni). The beat makes me so excited and the tension in the harmony is so amazing. The lyrics are beautifully abstract and weird. It’s kind of like a riddle.

Desired constellation

This song is a relatively new discovery for me. It’s simple and powerful in the way that she just repeats one line over and over. It’s so restrained – the vocals repeat with intensity but the rhythm and harmony just sits there calm and constant – it’s like yelling at the universe and it just humming back at you. I love the aleatoric nature of the rhythms. I had to transcribe it for the show and it’s seriously difficult and crazy. You can’t tap your foot easily to this one.. but it’s very easy to listen to and creates a whole starscape to dive into

Bjork: All is Full of Love
8-11 November
Rangitira at Q Theatre
Get tickets here >>