Borderline Latin: Björk and Telenovelas

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Borderline Latin is an exploration of the influence of Latin music in styles, places and rhythms beyond its traditional borders, and of different types of cross-pollination between Latin music and other musical creatures. Each week, we will feature a song or musical style whose rhythm, themes, melodic inflections or influences have earned it the name of Borderline Latin.

Björk is an artist who has little respect for limits and borders. Her most recent album, Biophilia, is an experiment that combines music, apps, performance art, Tesla coils and other delicacies. She has gone into film: her performance in Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark is mesmerizing. She has collaborated with everybody from Inuit singers to traditional Japanese musicians. But I really don’t want to write about all of this. There’s little I can say about Björk here that could add anything to her borderline spirit, so I will only address one song. And here it goes.

Björk recorded the songs of her album Homogenic in Málaga, Spain, during the second half of the 1990s. Before her arrival in Spain, a disturbing personal incident involving a Latin American stalker had left Bjork emotionally weighed down. Björk wrote the song “So Broken” during her time recovering from this incident. The song was not included in the regular version of Homogenic –it does appear as a bonus track in others. She has also performed this song live on some occasions. Collaborating with her in both the studio and this live version of the song was Spanish flamenco guitarist Raimundo Amador.

The lyrics of “So Broken” capture the spirit of a highly dramatic, quite serious Telenovela. However, as the song progresses, the intensity of the feeling goes beyond the quirkiness of the genre –a fact that is more evident in live versions. Enjoy.

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Click HERE to read more “Borderline Latin” profiles. For comments and tips, please contact me at:, and for more info on my “Borderline” works, visit Borderline Projects.