Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

Thanks to Jon, I've managed to secure a copy of The Decemberists' newest album (not scheduled for release until October 3, actually), The Crane Wife. The album's title (and a quarter of the music) is derived from a Japanese fable, quoth Wikipedia:

The Crane Wife is an old Japanese folk tale. While there are many variations of the tale, a common version is that a poor man finds an injured crane on his doorstep (or outside with an arrow in it), takes it in and nurses it back to health. After releasing it, a woman appears at his doorstep who he falls in love with and marries. Because they are in need of money, his wife offers to weave great silk cloths that they could sell at the market, but only if he agrees never to watch her when she is making it. They begin to sell them and live a comfortable life, but he began to make her weave more and more. Not noticing his wife's diminishing health, his greed increases and he eventually peeks in to see what she is doing that makes the silk she weaves so desirable. He is shocked to discover that at the loom is a crane plucking feathers from her body and weaving them into the loom. The crane, seeing him, flies away and never returns.

The music is a far cry from some of their earlier, cheerily-upbeat-yet-slightly-snarky songs, but certainly enjoyable. Have a listen:

The Decemberists - The Crane Wife 1 and 2
The Decemberists - Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)
The Decemberists - Sons and Daughters

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