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Bjork's favourite things

Icelandic singer Bjork has been talking about her obsessions and influences. In an interview with The Guardian she touched on everything from favourite singers to preferred climate.

Musically, one significant influence is Portuguese fado singer Amalia Rodrigues. "I've been listening to her for years," Bjork said, "but I just watched a documentary about her – so much raw emotion! And free of so many complications that music has sometimes. The music is just very direct, simple and strong, free of filigree. She's direct to the heart. Fado has the same rawness as flamenco but it's less flamboyant, and more stern and stark somehow."

A recent trip to Easter Island seemed to convince her that the Pacific atoll has an intimate connection with her homeland. "I could really relate to the size of the island and its remoteness," she said. "It's like Iceland, but more extreme – when the land you live in is like your silhouette, like an extension of what you are wearing."

Her inimitable voice needs careful nurturing to maintain its idiosyncratic sound. Through trial and error Bjork has discovered that a tropical rainforest climate suits her.

"I need it, I need it, I need it," she said. "I found it is actually so good for my voice, too. Seventy per cent humidity is ideal for vocal cords. It is and it isn't different to what I grew up with – Iceland is very humid, but not as warm. I was hiking in Costa Rica a few weeks ago, and was crying inside myself. I wanted never to leave."

Bjork is still taking her unique Biophilia show around the world. Part performamce, part educational and environmental mission, it is thrillingly ambitious.

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