Way Down, Hadestown ... Way Down Under The Ground.
March 9, 2010 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Way Down Under The Ground. The tale of Orpheus's journey through the Underworld has been retold so many times, on stage, in film. Tennessee Williams saw it as Orpheus Descending. Neil Gaiman took the myth on in the pages of Sandman. Today, we have Hadestown, a new album from Anais Mitchell. Mitchell recorded "Hades & Persephone" for a previous release, but Hadestown is a fully-realized folk opera, five years in the making, a collaborative effort featuring contributions from Greg Brown, Ani Difranco, The Haden Tripletts and Justin Vernon (the voice of Bon Iver).

From Mitchell's story of how Hadestown came to be: "The real moral of Hadestown to me is, yes, we’re f*cked, but we still have to try with all our might. We have to love hard and make beauty in the face of futility."
posted by grabbingsand (18 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I saw her opening for Ani DiFranco a while back, and I was interested to hear the album after she played a few songs live. I checked Amazon last night, and saw it was for sale a bit early (and cheap!) and I grabbed it. It is all kinds of good. Thanks for the post!
posted by filthy light thief at 8:50 AM on March 9, 2010

A few years ago I was at a sing at a folk festival. Late, late at night in a barn, twenty people in folding chairs and one older man singing "Way Down". It was somewhere between chilling and sublime.
You can listen to it by clicking the "music" link from the Anais Mitchell link in the OP.
It's a good recording. But it doesn't have a patch in one old guy singing it slow and sad in a barn in the middle of the night.
posted by Adridne at 8:58 AM on March 9, 2010

Let's not forget "Black Orpheus".
posted by No Robots at 9:13 AM on March 9, 2010

"Produced by Todd Sickafoose"

He's a pretty great jazz bassist. Interesting mix of styles here. Thanks!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:15 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

There's also The Ground Beneath Her Feet, still the only Salman Rushdie book I've ever read. Mostly because I'm a hopeless U2 fanboy.
posted by kmz at 9:16 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Let's not forget "Black Orpheus".

It's the "film" link in the fpp.

This is cool. Thanks!
posted by rtha at 9:23 AM on March 9, 2010

Okay, I'm sold.
posted by lunit at 9:46 AM on March 9, 2010

Also Orphic film.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:48 AM on March 9, 2010

Orpheus: the Flash game (previously).
posted by teraflop at 9:52 AM on March 9, 2010

Here's a cartoon version from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Winged Sandals.
posted by horsewithnoname at 10:05 AM on March 9, 2010

Glad you're all digging it. I heard snippets of it a few weeks back and knew I'd be on-board, knew I'd enjoy hearing it. Know that I've spent the morning with it, I want to stage it.

In an odd way, the effort reminds me of Jesus Christ Superstar: a Resurrection, a collaboration released by Amy Ray's Daemon Records in 1994. (More here.)
posted by grabbingsand at 10:19 AM on March 9, 2010

I was lucky enough to take my son and watch her perform Hadestown under the St. Louis arch, for free, as the opener for Ani DiFranco.
And Greg Brown is a
of a songwriter.

The show was followed by fireworks. A top place in the Midwest for such a scene.
posted by psylosyren at 10:28 AM on March 9, 2010

Ok I'll add a really great Orpheus poem.

The recording sounds cool. I'll have to look for it.
posted by elendil71 at 11:16 AM on March 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh, yeah. Gotta have. Heard a snippet of it on NPR a day or so ago, Greg Brown sounded like the devil incarnate.
posted by drhydro at 11:25 AM on March 9, 2010

Shredder Orpheus
posted by Relay at 12:11 PM on March 9, 2010

I clicked around but didn't see a link where you could listen to the whole album, so here's one courtesy of Spinner.

Hadestown - Anais Mitchell (full album, streaming)

I'm listening to it right now and so far it's pretty damn good.
posted by cyphill at 12:48 PM on March 9, 2010

I was lucky enough to attend a performance of Hadestown in, I think, Bellows Falls, VT., at the end of a Vermont tour. What a show! Fantastic staging for a small production, and of course, the music carried us away. Anais was something like 24 when she wrote most of this. She is going places, and maybe so is this Opera.
posted by Hobgoblin at 1:24 PM on March 9, 2010

Orfeu Negro has so many songs I love. My favorite of course is "Manha de Carnaval".
posted by dealing away at 9:27 PM on March 9, 2010

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