I was first introduced to the music of Sigur Rós when I lived in Dallas in 2007 by my friend Brad. I will never forget the first time I heard their music. As I sat there and listened to their album “Takk…”, my heart was completely overwhelmed by the pure beauty of what I was hearing, and I was moved with such emotion, literally to tears. I can count on one or two fingers the times in my life I can remember ever having that kind of response to music.
Sigur Rós hails from Iceland and they don’t even sing in English. In fact, they don’t sing in any particular language at all, but rather in “Vonlenska”, a term used to describe the unintelligible lyrics sung by the band and commonly known by the English translation of its name, “hopelandic.” Nice!
According to the Sigur Rós wikipedia,
Vonlenska is a non-literal language, without fixed syntax, and differs from constructed languages that can be used for communication. It focuses entirely on the sounds of language; lacking grammar, meaning, and even distinct words. Instead, it consists of emotive syllables and phonemes; in effect, Vonlenska uses the melodic and rhythmic elements of singing without the conceptual content of language. In this way, it is similar to the use of scat singing in vocal jazz. The band’s website describes it as “a form of gibberish vocals that fits to the music”.
Sounds like “making music in your heart” to me!
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:19-20)
I am learning that the essence of worship is the response of my heart to who I believe God to be. I believe we can tend to over-think so much about what “worship” is and what it isn’t that we fail to just let our hearts respond to who God is. I don’t need scripted lyrics to experience true heart worship. Sometimes, my worship is deeper than any words I could find, so none seem adequate for what I feel in my heart. I can honestly say that I have had quite a few very profound personal moments of worship set to some Sigur Rós music.
So yeah, I have zero clue what they are saying, but there is something very majestic and regal about their music that captivates me and opens my heart in a way that not much else does.
Here is one of their songs, “Glósóli” set to clips of the BBC’s amazing Planet Earth documentary series. Even though I have no clue what they are saying, this makes my heart worship. How great is our God!
Have you had any “non-traditional” worship experiences that have challenged and deepened what you had previously believed was or was not considered “worship”?
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