sunnudagur, apríl 15, 2007

Bellatrix aka Kolrassa Krókrídandi

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, in a land far, far away… well okay it was 1992, and in Iceland's fishing town of Keflavík, that four sixteen-year-old girls formed a very special band indeed. Vocalist and violinist Eliza Geirsdóttir, guitarist Sigrún Eiríksdóttir, bassist Ester "Bíbí" Ásgeirsdóttir and drummer Birgitta Vilbersdóttir named themselves Kolrassa Krókríðandi, and together they created a raw rock sound with obvious folk influences.

Wikipedia on Bellatrix aka Kolrassa Krókrídandi (Icelandic name)

Bellatrix were an Icelandic rock group. The group was founded in 1992 in Keflavík as Kolrassa krókríðandi (Blackassed motherfuckers) by four women, all aged sixteen: Eliza M Geirsdóttir (vocals and violin), Sigrún Eiríksdóttir (guitar), Ester Bíbí Ásgeirsdóttir (bass) and Birgitta Vilbersdóttir (drums). The band released the mini-album Drápa (Slaughter) in 1992. In 1994, they release Kynjasögur (Family stories) with Anna Margrét Hraundal (guitar) and Karl Ágúst Guðmundsson (trumpet and keyboard) replacing Birgitta. Two years later, in 1996, they released Köld eru kvennaráð (Cold are the petticoat government). This album developed their style more, refining the punk and building a poppier side as well.
They also released Stranger Tales in 1995, which featured some English versions of Icelandic songs. This was also their first CD published under the name Bellatrix. This was followed by 'g' in 1998 released on Global Warming Records. In 1999 they signed to Fierce Panda and released It's All True in 2000 under the name Bellatrix. They co-headlined a British tour with Coldplay and split the following year.

Ectoguide on Bellatrix:

Strange, experimental alternative over-the-top rock; later music is less experimental and more pop.
Mix Björk, Miranda Sex Garden, Kristeen Young, and Siouxsie & The Banshees and you might come somewhere near approaching Bellatrix.
General comments:
Wild, strange, as off-the-wall as their Icelandic compatriate Björk in her wilder moments, and the extravagance of the vocals are slightly reminiscent of her, but the sound is much harder rock, though the compositions are just as creative and individual. Really noisy and weird and fun rock with matching vocals and violin. A distinctive, unique, and lively rock sound. It's hard to know what to say about them except how different they are. It took me a lot of listening to really love their sound (I found it noisy at first) but now I adore it. Their newer work is much more accessible, but still edgy and wild.
drápa (ep, 1992)
Kynjasögur (1994)
Stranger Tales (1995)
Köld Eru Kvennarád (1996)
G (ep, 1998)
it's all true (2000)
drápa ep (Old Poem)

Article by Tony Clayton-Lea
Women of substance

All-girl rock bands are on the rise. Iceland's Bellatrix might be one of many, but they're also one of the best
In the summer of 1999, with a healthy critical pedigree under their armpits, Bellatrix, a five-piece band (four women and one man who, says vocalist/violinst Eliza Geirsdottir, hasn't "been with any of us") travelled from Iceland's Keflavik to London in the hope of gaining a little bit more than local stardom. In Iceland, having already recorded a mini-album, Drapa, and their debut proper, Strange Tales, they caused hefty ripples in UK music industry circles. They are now signed to the Fierce Panda record label (former home of Embrace and Idelwild). When the members of Bellatrix first arrived, they used to live Monkees-style in the same house in West London. "It was good for us at the beginning, but now we have spread out across London. The first week we were in London, we drank a lot of whiskey and screamed all night. Since then, however, we've been rehearsing every day and going to bed at a proper time," says Geirsdottir.

Crash-bang-wallop experimentation
The early beginnings of Bellatrix are far removed from their current status of one of several 'next big things'. Formed at school amidst the so-called shoe-gazing scene, Bellatrix wanted to be a real indie group. Their favourite bands included Stone Roses, Ride, Charlatans and My Bloody Valentine, while their live shows and rehearsals were surreal mixtures of crash-bang-wallop experimentation and cover versions. "There used to be lots of music in Keflavik in the 1960s, but then nothing happened for about 20 years, until we came along," explains Geirsdottir. "It's not that we felt different, it's the fact that everyone looked at us as if we were different."

The rock and dance scene
The Bellatrix sound takes in as much pop/punk as it does quirky, unselfconscious weird folk music. There's everything from Prodigy to Bjork and back again, in fact. Occasionally too diverse for their own good, the eclecticism of the band is both a weakness and a strength. "Some people say we have no definite sound," says Geirsdottir, "but I don't agree with that. Our music comes from all over the place. We love the rock scene, but we also love the dance scene. We put it all together and put a big melody over the top of it. I think if you take your influences from all over the place, it can confuse certain people."

Stereotypical feminine areas
What about the inherent problem of being in an industry that's still largely populated by men, some of whom are out for a quick buck (and anything else that rhymes with it). Geirsdottir admits Bellatrix has had problems with record companies who wanted to push the band into stereotypically feminine areas. "Being in a band with other women is fine, as is being a girl band in the music industry. But it's equally wrong to prevent girls from looking sexy as it is to insist that they must look like slags. Sometimes people - men, by the way - in the audience shout, 'Get your tits out.' But I like it if people want to see my tits, because I'm a sexual person too. However, I don't get it when men slag off women for being in rock bands. I reckon boys who criticise girl groups are either very insecure or have a very small penis."

Eliza Newman, the former singer of Bellatrix

Elíza Geirsdóttir Newman was born in the small town of Keflavik Iceland where she spent her youth studying violin and cello . In her early teens she formed the band Kolrassa Krokridandi/Bellatrix that went on to become Iceland's most successful female band releasing albums around the world with the likes of Bad Taste and Fierce Panda. Alongside studying opera in London, Eliza also wrote and produced an album with the rock band Skandinavia in 2004 and received critical acclaim for it, with magazines like Rocksound likening her to Kate Bush and Kerrang! hailing her as a "spectacular vocal talent!" Now Eliza has embarked on her first solo project ,her sound has been described as, picturesque , cool and otherworldly mixed with strong melodies and unique vocals. She has just finished recording her debut album, scheduled for release in Iceland in spring 2007 .

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