Björk shares personal new single ‘Ancestress’: “This song is a letter to my mother”

Björk has shared a new single called ‘Ancestress’ – you can listen to it below.

The song serves as the latest preview of the Icelandic artist’s 10th studio album ‘Fossora’, which is due for release on September 30 via One Little Independent Records (pre-order here).

  • READ MORE: Björk’s ‘Cornucopia’ live in London: an audacious, expectation-disrupting spectacular from an artist unbothered with people-pleasing

‘Ancestress’ is one of two tracks on the upcoming record that Björk wrote about her late mother, the other being ‘Sorrowful Soil’.


Writing on social media today (September 22), the singer explained that she penned the deeply personal new cut “just after her wordly [sic] funeral”, adding “[It] is probably a common musician’s reaction, the impulse of making your version of the story, later.”

Björk continued: “This song is a letter to my mother, her story seen from my point of view. It is written in chronological order, the first verse is my childhood and so on.”

She went on to say that ‘Ancestress’ was “probably somehow inspired by an Icelandic song [called] ‘Grafskrift’, which is somehow a very direct and patriarchal account of someone’s life”.

“I probably wanted to approach this in a more feminine way, her biological and emotional story, not her professions, partners or dates of birth and death,” Björk said.

The artist’s son, Sindri Eldon, arranged and sang vocals for the verses on the new single, she explained, “as he has a delicious voice and was very close to [my mother]”.


‘Ancestress’ arrives with a ritualistic official video by director Andrew Thomas Huang – watch above.

In the remainder of the statement, Björk opened up about her feelings towards funerals and death on the whole. “For 20 years I have not been able to attend funerals as something in them rubbed me the wrong way,” she wrote.

“Possibly a big part of it is after having lived a life of [a] thousand concerts, I probably have too strong ideas on how a ritual should be, what kinda sound, musical structure, words, and it took me all this time to discover that for me all funerals should be outside.”

Björk added: “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.”

‘Ancestress’ follows on from the recent singles ‘Ovule’ and ‘Atopos’. You can see the full tracklist for ‘Fossora’ below.

‘Sorrowful Soil’
‘Fagurt Er í Fjörðum’
‘Fungal City’
‘Her Mother’s House’

Meanwhile, Björk has launched a new podcast series in which she reflects on the creation of each of her studio albums to date.