Artist of multiple talents, Elena Skoko is the voice, the face and the pen of BLUEBIRD & SKOKO power blues band.
Born in former Yugoslavia, Elena left her country when she was 18 to study abroad. While graduating with honors from the University of Bologna in Italy on the topic of ‘female mystical language’, she publishes her first album ‘Operation Manitoba’ with the ‘psycho-punk’n’roll’ band CUT. Her voice resonates with the ones she feeds her ears on: Exene Cervenka, Lydia Lunch, Diamanda Galas, Nina Hagen and Billie Holiday.
After nurturing the national indie scene, touring and songwriting for five years, with three albums under her coat, in the 2000s, she starts her career in fashion business with a rock’n’roll angry girrrls fashion show that marks the end of her collaboration with the band.
She embarks on the boat of multimedia and becomes electronic poetress and independent fashion designer. She directs and leads complex performances where poetry, apparel, electronic music, turntablism, laser, video, photography and graphic design mix together delivering love and passion to the directly engaged audience.
She also designs her own collections under the name ‘sugarbabe.org’ and opens her shop ‘Sugar Babe’ in Bologna, a reference point for city’s underground scene, with catwalks on the sidewalks and DJs in the shop windows. Elena does street and sticker art, makes art videos and photo exhibitions, and writes passionate verses collected in her poetry book ‘The Iron Maiden. A Collection of Kicking Poetry’ (2016, lulu.com). (Flip through the press clipping)
Fashion world and ‘ars electronica’ makes her feel sad, missing some true flash and blood. She hits the road landing on the island of Bali, where she meets a bluesman, Rob Bluebird. She tells him she wants to sing the blues and they form the band Bluebird & Skoko. They fall in love, make an album and have a baby. They both share a passion: fashion. Bluebird & Skoko design and often make their stage clothes appearing on international fashion and lifestyle magazines.
Their album preview ‘Trust Your Mojo, Sista’ gets enthusiastic reviews and it becomes the favorite new entry in the cozy world of international blues talent scouts:
"Got you album yesterday. Left me speechless. A real painting made of music and words. It made me think of Picasso - if he were a musician."
Paul Bundarovski - Midnight Special Blues Radio
"A truly outstanding album with a dynamic and provocative sound that combines blues and rock 'n roll. Inspired by Billie Holiday, Muddy Waters and The Cramps, this album is an expression of fire and soul. (...) Strong vocals and honest lyrics take the audience on a journey they will not soon forget."
Erin Bukofsky - Bryan Farrish Radio
"This record is burning, warming you up as a glass of good old rum and making you dizzy like a waitress who just served it to you in that old bar in New Orleans... Americans would say this record is "hot". Very hot."
Daniel C. Marcoccia – Rocksound
“They create and play their music with their passion and luxuria of life, guided by the mysterious creature named “Mojo”. Music is their life and love is their food, spiced up with their fun, energy and unique background and personalities of Bluebird and Skoko themselves; their music is the genuine expression of what their hearts desire. So you better watch out!”
Dwi Ratri Utomo - jazzuality.com
“First I want to talk style. There is a photo of you wearing nothing but a pair of dungarees holding a steel guitar and Skoko wields a 1930's haircut with a lace umbrella from colonial times and a pair of denim shorts….......”
Inquisitor - Artists Launch
The story doesn’t end here. Besides the band, Elena and Rob take care of their daughter Koko, born in 2009. The experience of motherhood transforms Elena’s life and art. Her ecstatic, exotic and melodious experience of birth in Bali makes her a passionate promoter of women’s rights to positive birth experience. She writes her ‘Memoirs of a Singing Birth’ (2010, lulu.com), published in English and Italian (‘Memorie di un parto cantato’, 2013, Phasar).
Her romantic and honest book continues collecting fans and followers accompanying Elena’s work as advocate for human rights in childbirth. She became a mother-activist collaborating with national and international organizations such as the World Health Organization, International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization, Human Rights in Childbirth, etc. The promotion of respectful maternity care leads her to liven up her long neglected love: the academic research.
In her mid 20s Elena left the academia for rock’n’roll, now, in her early 40s, she brings praxis into theory believing in the old-fashioned “science for the people” motto. In less then few years since she started writing papers on birth storytelling, childbirth practices, gift economy and obstetric violence, she reaches the top 2% (peaking with 0,5%) of the Academia.edu research social network and she actively participates to the COST Action BIRTH European funded research project.
Singing is part of her research. She focuses her attention on the use of maternal voice. Elena designed the Singing Birth Workshop (www.singingbirth.com) where she helps women and mothers remembering their voice in order to express their full potential and resuscitate the sense of a supportive collectivity of women.
Maternal voice is the subject of her PhD project, where she intends to follow the whereabouts of singing practices related to childbirth and motherhood across time and space, up until the present days where these long forgotten skills and popular science are reemerging from the land of oblivion contributing to maternal health. Searching back to the roots of the ‘mother song’ brings her back to her Slavic roots and to the preservation of popular and folklore worldwide musical heritage.
Contributions and funding proposals are welcome!