Björk ft. Sindri Eldon – Ancestress Lyrics
While “Sorrowful Soil” is described as a kind of eulogy for Hildur, “Ancestress” is described as an epitaph, as she told Pitchfork:
I wrote pages and pages and pages, and edited it down, just to leave exactly the words I want to be there. If I was a priest, it’s what I would’ve said at the funeral.
On release, Björk said the song was probably inspired by an old Icelandic song called “Grafskrift”, which directly accounts for a person’s life, listing professions, partners and more, which she described as very “patriarchal”. “Ancestress” is a more feminine approach to the subject.
The seven-minute piece was released as the third single from Fossora, along with a music video directed by Andrew Thomas Huang, the video depicts a ritual funeral procession in the same valley where Hildur used to pick herbs. The song is also Björk’s first release singing with her son, the singer-songwriter Sindri Eldon.
[Verse 1: Björk]
My skull is my cathedral
Where this matrimort takes place
When I was a girl, she sang for me
In falsetto lullabies with sincerity
I thank her for her integrity
[Chorus 1: Björk, Björk & Sindri Eldon]
My ancestress’ clock is ticking
Her once vibrant rebellion is fading
I am her hope-keeper
Assure hope is there
At, at all times
[Verse 2: Björk]
My ancestress has left all manners
Her pulsating skin rebelling
The doctors she despised
Placed a pacemaker inside her
[Chorus 2: Björk & Sindri Eldon]
When you’re out of time
Oh, how you look back changes
Did you punish us for leaving?
Are you sure we hurt you?
Was it just not “living”?
[Verse 3: Björk]
She had idiosyncratic sense of rhythm
Dyslexia, the ultimate freeform
She invents words and adds syllables
Hand-writing, language all her own
[Chorus 3: Björk & Sindri Eldon]
I don’t have that story in my mouth
When you die, you bring with you what you’ve given
[Verse 4: Björk]
The machine of her breathed all night
While she rested
Revealed her resilience
And then it, it didn’t
[Chorus 4: Björk & Sindri Eldon]
You see with your own eyes
But hear with your mother’s
There’s fear of being absorbed
By the other
[Verse 5: Björk]
By now, we share the same flesh
As much as I tried to escape it
This is no mediocre debris
My ancestress this is
[Chorus 5: Björk & Sindri Eldon]
The odour of our final parting
Those have been
The perfumes of separation
The perfumes of separation
[Verse 6: Björk]
Nature wrote this psalm
It expands this realm
Translucent skin let go of
A cold palm embalmed
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