How the Florida Bjorkestra turned the songs of Bjork, Kate Bush and Tori Amos into a St. Petersburg sensation
Jeremy Douglass was driving to a wedding gig in Naples, listening to Björk's 2001 album Vespertine — specifically, the song Unison.
"It has this little slidey synth sound — it just sounds like a synth line toggling between two notes about a fifth apart, but with some portamento on it, so the note slides up and down," he said. "As I was listening to it and having an emotional reaction to it — because that song is absolutely gorgeous — I thought, A trombone could play that part."
Thus began the germ of an idea for the Florida Bjorkestra, a whimsical musical idea that has blossomed into a minor musical sensation in St. Petersburg. After selling out its first three performances, the Björkestra on Sunday will graduate to the Palladium's 850-seat Hough Hall, with up to 18 musicians — strings, horns, keys, vocalists, percussionists — performing songs by Bjork and David Bowie. They'll have a face painter. They'll even sell T-shirts.
"We've established ourselves with the 50-and-over audience for jazz and blues and classical music," said Palladium executive director Paul Wilborn. "What Jeremy's bringing is the next generation below who love this music that he's presenting. In a world of bad tribute artists, he's creating something that's unique."
For more on the Florida Bjorkestra, click here for our story.