Náttúra - Nature Awareness Concert @ Laugardalur, Reykjavik
28. June 2008
Náttúra – Nature or Nothing
Nature Awareness in Iceland
A short note by Wim Van Hooste
Recently Iceland got some bad publicity because of shooting polar bears. Unwanted visitors, came to Iceland on icebergs and/or swimming, as a result of the melting of Arctica ‘cause of global warming. Instead of bringing these dwindling species back alive to Greenland, animals were shot dead. Another shooting issue is the whale hunting of the Icelanders. The tourist industry offers now whale watching tours, which bring more money because selling the whale meat is difficult today.
This as an illustration of the fact that Iceland is on a crossroad. The Icelandic nation has the choice between ecology or economy. Coming from a sort of middle ages to develop into a modern society à la Scandinavia in 1 century was the first step. In the 21st century, Icelanders have to decide what kind of second step in evolution they want for their unique landscape of fire and ice, of which most areas are still unspoiled nature. This year, a big part of the geographically young landscape became the largest National Park of Europe, includes Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajökull. A good start of thinking green.
Although a lot of politicians, and the materialistic Icelanders, are in favour of choosing for the big money by allowing aluminium companies (heavy industry) who can profit of the cheap electricity that is necessary to make aluminium out of bauxite. But to have plenty of electricity to supply these factories, Iceland has and had to change the environment (e.g. glacial rivers). But the industrialization has its price. Like most other countries in Europe already paid their price and lost the panorama views. To see an unspoiled wilderness, tourists have to visit Iceland. Athough the mass tourism has its price of course.
The concert of last night, is the opportunity for the Icelanders to think about the future of the island in the Atlantic Ocean. I think they have to attrack another kind of industry, like Ireland did to maintain a green island (e.g. Microsoft). In my opinion, Iceland has the power and the young creative brains to be on top of the world in computer c.q. software and ICT business. Hope they’ll make this choice so they can change the name to “Ict-land”, instead of Ice-land; specially with global warming (Greenland ?).
According to the police about 30.000 people came to see the gigs by Ghostigital & Finnbogi Pétursson, Ólöf Arnalds, Sigur Rós and Björk.
The audience saw some videos about Icelandic nature in danger inbetween performances.
Björk played drums together with O. Arnalds on stage with Sigur Rós ("Gobbledigook"), and Einar Örn Benediktsson played trumpet in Björk's "I miss you".
I was hoping that Einar Örn & Björk would team up to perform The Sugarcubes song "Planet".
After all a great gig by Björk & Band. Although no big surprises or many special (Icelandic) guest appearances, and a great variety of songs.
Björk’s Band on the Volta Tour & also last night:
Jónas Sen, organ player & harpsichordist
Mark Bell (of LFO fame) on keyboards & computers
Damian Taylor, techno wizard on keyboards, ReacTable & programming
Chris Corsano (of Sonith Youth fame)
Icelandic Wonderbrass (an all female Brass Band from Keflavík & Hafnarfjörður):
Sigrún Kristbjörg Jónsdóttir on trombone
Sigrún Jónsdóttir on trombone
Harpa Jóhannsdóttir on trombone (back to enjoy Íslensk Kjötsúpa ?)
Erla Axelsdóttir on French horn
Særún Ósk Pálmadóttir on French horn
Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir on French horn
Sylvía Hlynsdóttir on trumpet (having her birthday yesterday ! Björk was singing Happy Birthday in Icelandic for her !)
Valdís Þorkelsdóttir on trumpet
Björk Níelsdóttir on trumpet
Brynja Guðmundsdóttir on tuba
Björk’s Náttúra Setlist:
Earth Intruders (Volta)
Pagan Poetry (Vespertine)
The Pleasure is all mine (Medúlla)
Vertebrae by Vertebrae (Volta)
Jóga (Homogenic) Emotional landscape – State of Emergency !!!
Desired Constellation (Medúlla)
Army of me (Post) in sort of Carcass/Skunk Anansie remix
I miss you (Post) with Guest Star Einar Örn Benediktsson (of Ghostigital and Sugarcubes fame) on his red trumpet
Triumph of a Heart (Médulla)
Encore - 2 Extra Songs
Um akkari (Icelandic version of The Anchor Song) (Debut)
Declare Independence (Volta)
See some pictures on Flickr (Thx Jen goed digital for the suggestion)
Beautiful Iceland, some Sugarcubes and Björk videos to prove it: