As far as uncompromising leaders of female representation of alternative music, it doesn’t get much bigger than Joni Mitchell and Icelandic icon Björk.
Mitchell, whose music has seamlessly slipped through the folk, pop, rock, and the jazz world, is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and widely regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time. In a career that has continued to grow since her breakthrough in 1964, Mitchell’s creativity knows no bounds.
Given her supreme impact on music, Nonesuch Records managed to round together some of Mitchell’s biggest fans to create the compilation covers album A Tribute to Joni Mitchell in 2007. The record, which featured the likes of Prince, Annie Lennox, Elvis Costello, Sufjan Stevens and more, also offered the opportunity for Björk to live out a childhood dream.
“It is hard to even begin to talk about what Joni Mitchell means to me,” Björk once wrote on her official website when the album was released. “The first record of hers I discovered was Don Juan’s Daughter; I was around fourteen, fifteen and I knew it by heart (still do, every instrument, every noise, every word). I would love to cover sometime some of the songs of that album but they might be too sacred for me, too immaculate for me even to be able to suggest that they might be done in any other way.”
Detailing how Joni Mitchell’s artistry impacted her vision from a very young age, Björk added: “At that age my love for her was very intuitive and limitless with total ignorance of her meaning in North America in the hippy era, for example. I guess now later when I am a bit more knowledgeable about foreigners and history and context and such things I understand better her importance to the world and why she made such an impact on a teenage girl in Iceland.
“In a music-world ruled by males she continues to be the only one (except perhaps Kate Bush) who created an all-female universe with intuition, wisdom, intelligence, craftsmanship, and courage: had the guts to set up a world driven by extreme female emotion, almost any other female out there is fronting an already male-made sensibility,” she added in reference to Mitchell.
“There is no space to even go into her lyrics here, which are heavyweight literature, especially in the context of popular music.”
Given the opportunity to show her love for Mitchell, Björk decided to put her own very unique spin on ‘The Boho Dance’, a track taken from Mitchell’s 1975 studio album The Hissing of Summer Lawns.
Stream it, below.