Björk and Rosalía team up to fight industrial fish farming in Iceland with new song

Björk and Rosalía team up to fight industrial fish farming in Iceland
Björk and Rosalía team up to fight industrial fish farming in Iceland Copyright AP Photo/Marco Ugarte - Getty/Santiago Felipe
By David Mouriquand
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Talk about a music collaboration we didn't see coming...

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Two European music iconoclasts are teaming up to raise awareness in the fight against industrial salmon farming in Iceland.

Björk and Rosalía have released a short clip of a new single – as yet untitled and which will be released in full later this month – aiming to denounce the ravages of intensive fish farming in in Björk’s native Iceland, specifically the Icelandic region of Seyðisfjörður.

The profits will help pay the legal fees of the people of Fjord Seyðisfjörður, who are protesting.

“People at the fjord Seyðisfjörður have stood up and protested against fish farming starting there,” Björk shared in a statement. “We would like to donate sales of the song to help with their legal fees and hopefully it can be an exemplary case for others.”

A short preview clip has been uploaded to Björk’s YouTube channel with the cover art of a distressed looking fish. The acapella snippet features the two singers repeating the line: “Is that the right thing to do? I just don’t know.”

Listen to their song below:

“Iceland has the biggest untouched nature in Europe,” says Björk in the statement. “So when Icelandic and Norwegian business men started buying fish farms in the majority of our fjords, it was a big shock and rose up as the main topic this summer. We don’t understand how they had been able to do this for a decade with almost no regulations stopping them.”

Björk added: “This has already had devastating effect on wildlife and the farmed fish are suffering in horrid health conditions and since a lot of them have escaped, they have started changing the DNA in the Icelandic salmon to the worse and could eventually lead to its extinction.”

In 2017, the total production of farmed fish in was nearly 21,000 tonnes.

“There is still a chance to [save] the last wild salmon of the north,” the singer continued. “Our group would like to dare these business men to retract their farms. We would also like to help invent and set strict regulations into Iceland’s legal system to guard nature. The majority of the nation already agrees with us, so this protest is about putting the will of the people into our rule-systems.”

Rax - Government of Iceland
Aquaculture in IcelandRax - Government of Iceland

While this is not particularly surprising coming from Björk, a lifelong environmental activist who founded the Náttúra Foundation to support Iceland’s natural habitats in 2008 and who has leant her voice to campaigns promoting awareness of climate change, not many could have anticipated this collaboration from Rosalía.

Revealed five years ago with her stunning album El Mal Querer, the 31-year-old Catalan singer has since established herself as one of the most creatively boundless figures in today's pop scene, merging flamenco, rap or reggaetón. She is a firm LGBT supporter and has previously attended protests in defence of racial equality. However, little is known about her environmental stance.

Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Rosalía at the 2020 Grammy AwardsMatt Sayles/Invision/AP

Rosalía did namecheck Björk during the 2018 Latin Grammys when she accepted the award for best fusion/ urban interpretation category.

“I am proud to lead my project and make always the music that represents me, despite the risk, and to be able to share it with the world and be here,” she said. “I want to thank women like Lauryn Hill… Björk, Kate Bush… Shout out to all the women in the industry that have taught me that I could do this because thanks to them I am here.”

Since releasing her Grammy-award winning third studio album 'Motomami' in early 2022, Rosalía has shared a host of new songs for 'Motomami+', as well as 'LLYLM', 'Tuya', and the collaborative EP 'RR' with Rauw Alejandro.

The collaboration with Björk marks the Icelandic icon’s first release since her 2022 album 'Fossora', which she recorded in her home country and described as an “Iceland album” for its engagement with folk traditions and nature. She has since remixed Shygirl’s 'Woe' and shared Shygirl and Sega Bodega’s remix of 'Ovule' from the record.

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