Björk meditates on mortality with latest single ‘Ancestress’

Icelandic songstress Björk ponders mortality and the ritualistic aspects of grief on her latest single Ancestress.

In the video she leads a tribal precession before concocting mysterious elixirs. The track is taken from her forthcoming album, Fossora, set for release Friday, September 30 via One Little Independent Records.

“On my new album, Fossora, I wrote two songs to my mother,” Björk explains.

“This one, Ancestress, is written just after her wordly funeral and is probably an impulse common with musicians: to make your version of the story, later. I am very grateful to my son, Sindri Eldon, to arrange and sing vocals in the choruses as he has a sublime voice and was very close to her.

“For 20 years I have not been able to attend funerals as something in them rubbed me the wrong way. Possibly a big part of it is after having lived a life of thousands concerts, I probably have too strong ideas on how a ritual should be, too bossy about what kind of sound, musical structure, words it should include and it took me all this time to discover that for me all funerals should be outside.

“Probably what was offending me most was how can one set off the spirit in such a claustrophobic environment as a church? When the soul sets off, it needs to be outside so there is room for how enormous it becomes when it merges with the elements.

“So therefore I asked my friend Andrew Thomas Huang to help me film this outside, in a valley she often picked herbs in to create a procession of musicians celebrating her life. I am grateful for my brother to carry her ashes and take part also to James Merry to make masks for all of us including an ocean of musicians and Erna Ómarsdóttir to choreograph my mother’s spirit and her helpers warmthness.”

The video is directed by Andrew Thomas Huang with co-creative direction by Björk with creative consultant and longtime collaborator James Merry.

Fossora is out on Friday 30 September.

Image: Andrew Thomas Huang

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