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Laurie Anderson is as far from the archetypal popstar as you can imagine, yet she is the woman behind the hit single ‘O Superman’, which was a number-two hit here in the UK in 1981. Describing Anderson, even in a world of slash careers, is not a short process: singer, violinist, percussionist, keyboard player, sculptor, performance artist, inventor, film director and even, for one of her performance pieces, an ice skater.
Born in Illinois in 1947, Anderson learned the violin growing up, but trained in art history and then as a sculptor, initially becoming a teacher and illustrator, before starting out in performance art in the 1970s, but never restrained by labels or committing to one art form.
She brings to her music wit, intelligence and seemingly fearless risk taking, ensuring that she is always intriguing and unpredictable. This is reflected in the eclectic list pf people sh has collaborated, including Philip Glass, Brian Eno, Jean Michel Jarre, Peter Gabriel and Ryuichi Sakamoto.
Violin featured extensively in Anderson’s Meltdown line-up, with Gidon Kremer and his Tango Group performing an homage to the great Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla; and in her own performance with Kremer and Ashley MacIsaac with 100 violins.
Also appearing were Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ivor Cutler; Ken Nordine; Richard Foreman with Ontological-Hysteric Theatre; Arto Lindsay; Alan Read; Spalding Gray; Heather Woodbury; Brian Eno and Michael Nyman; and Anderson’s husband Lou Reed, whom she married in 2008.