It should be known that we’ve long been fans of Brooklyn-based musician Shilpa Ray for her continually powerful lyricism and vocals. Earlier this year, just after releasing Last Year’s Savage, she spoke with longtime friend and peer Sharon van Etten, and now, we are pleased to debut the stop-motion video for Ray’s track “Burning Bride.”
As Ray has explained, the song itself addresses the now-banned Hindu tradition of burning widows alive in order to demonstrate women’s commitments and devotions to their husbands and god. Priests, however, established this cultural practice only to personally benefit from the wealth and property of the deceased. Through “Burning Bride,” Ray uses the outdated Hindu practice as an allegory for people today, who continue to be sacrificed for financial profit.
The accompanying stop-motion and animated visuals, made by Soojin Chang and Joseph Pancucci Simpson, further develop Ray’s story through the overt inclusion of love. “The story begins and is intercut with a baboon figure—a combined soul of the [featured] couple—who watches the story on a theater screen,” Chang says. “[It’s] an allegory for a limbo state where the purest depths of love can live on.”
Edited and shot in Slovenia, with the animation process taking eight 14-16-hour days in London, Chang and Pancucci Simpson’s video traces the love story of a couple in reverse, beginning with the two waiting for a train to crash into them. The video then “drives one step back to their wedding, then to a desert where they bury a secret, and finally to their first meeting within a train carriage,” Chang continues.
The intricate costumes were designed by Pancucci Simpson’s mother, Elisabetta Pancucci, and as a whole, the video presented a new perspective for the musician herself. “I never thought about the song in terms of love or the fledging bond between a couple,” Ray explains. “I find this interesting since I write more from a singular perspective, [but] that’s the magic of making art. You throw an idea out into the universe, and if you’re lucky, someone throws you a completely different, yet relevant interpretation back.”