Björk’s 10th album, Fossora, came out in September and the premier avant gardist said she made it for, “People who are making clubs in their living room.” But the song “Sorrowful Soil,” is anything but club music. It’s an enchanting homage to her mother that Björk says is her take on “funeral-music.”
Now in the new video, directed by Viðar Logi, Björk sings from atop an erupting volcano. The Icelandic volcano, Fagradalsfjall, on the Reykjanes peninsula, was dormant for 6,000 years until 2021. It’s an impactful place for Björk to sing the impassioned tune and the visuals are stunning.
Watch the video for “Sorrowful Soil” above and read a statement about the song from Björk below.
“sorrowful soil is a song i wrote from random improvisations .. i kinda thought i was writing another song but then when i edited it i threw away most of the stuff and this is what stood there staring at me.
for me, sorrowful soil and ancestress are the 2 songs on fossora written for my mother … ancestress is my take on funeral-music but sorrowful soil is written 2 years before and mirrors more that last chapter.
at the time i had been working with the fantastic hamrahlid choir and wanted to give them the piece they deserved , and with that intention unknowingly wrote what the conductor þorgerður ingólfsdóttir said was the most difficult piece they ever sang . it has 9 voices, not the usual 4 (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) which took the choir evenings of a whole summer to rehearse, i am so incredibly grateful to them for this sacrifice and you can hear all of it in the recording.
the lyric is an attempt for an eulogy and instead of the dry fact checking: place of birth , job, marriage , i wanted to celebrate the biological data like the fact that most girls are born with 400 eggs … and then in their lifetime they make 2-3 nests…
when my grandfather passed away there was a pamphlet at the hospital advising relatives how to talk to loved ones before they pass away. i loved how it went really generic and universal and said that all of them will give families to-do-lists (dry-cleaning and such).
but also ask if they did well.
the last part of the lyric is following this advice.”