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White Envelope for Wu Wren (​给​吴​地​鹪​鹩​的​白​包​)

from Strange Bedfellows by KLFORTSON



Music Video:
Track 1: White Envelope for Wu Wren
Composed & conducted - K. L. Fortson
Guzheng - Yu-Chen Wang
Harp - Jessica Fotinos
Erhu - He Xin-Run
Viola - Joyce Huang
Clarinet - José Ángel
Xiao & Dizi - Rodrigo Nieves A.
Double Bass - Fu Chun Chang
Recorded - Michael (乐音石) at WanMei Music Studio (Suzhou, China)
Mixed & Mastered - K. L. Fortson
Special thanks to: Antoine Tacquenier
Section 2:30-3:30 of the guitar demo version of "White Envelop for Suzhou Wren" includes a portion from a song written by K. L. Fortson, Roger Pacheco, Yuri Pryor, and Eben Travis. All instruments on demo version played and recorded by K. L. Fortson (guitar, bass, violins) except accordion.
Chinese translation provided by Joy Xi Wang.
Chinese and Western cousin instruments perform a musical elegy for the mythical Wrens of Wu.

An old man in Jiangsu province told me that there is a tree full of wren birds near a temple in Suzhou. People who make a promise over a burnt offering at the temple are bound to their oath. According to legend, if someone broke their promise, a wren at the temple would die. This is a song for dead wrens. The German poet Paul Gerhardt said, "When a man lies, he murders some part of the world." The Chinese legend of the wren in Suzhou presents a literal interpretation of these words. "White Envelope for Wu Wren" is a funeral dirge for a bird killed by a broken promise.
*Funeral money is given in a white envelope (白包) in China.
一位来自江苏的老者曾对我说,在苏州的一座古庙旁的一棵苍树上,栖息着数只鹪鹩鸟。每一个在庙中供奉祭品并誓下诺言的人都需要对他们的承诺负责,约束自己的行为。根据传说,一旦有人违背了他许下的誓约,庙中的一只鹪鹩鸟便会死去。这是一首写给所有过世的鹪鹩鸟的挽歌。德国诗人Paul Gerhardt曾经说过:“当一个人说谎时,这世上的某些事物就会被他谋杀。” 这段关于苏州鹪鹩鸟的传说便是对这段话语的生动演绎。《给苏州鹪鹩的白包》便是一曲为那些因违背的诺言而失去生命的鸟儿所作的丧歌。


from Strange Bedfellows, released June 11, 2020


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KLFORTSON Albuquerque, New Mexico

K. L. Fortson is a New Mexican composer and painter who graduated cum laude from the University of New Mexico and started out touring as a guitar player for bands before turning to orchestral and acousmatic music as a guitarist and violinist and began exploring the idea of harmonic painting.

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