Infanta ~ The Decemberists

The Decemberists are an indie rock band from Portland, Oregon, United States, fronted by singer/songwriter Colin Meloy. The other members of the band are Chris Funk (guitar, multi-instrumentalist), Jenny Conlee (hammond organ, accordion, melodica, piano, keyboards), Nate Query (bass guitar, string bass), and John Moen (drums, backing vocals, melodica).

The band’s songs range from upbeat pop to instrumentally lush ballads, and often employ instruments like the accordion, Hammond organ, Wurlitzer organ, and upright bass. In its lyrics, the band eschews the angst and introspection common to modern rock, instead favoring a storytelling approach, as evidenced in songs such as “My Mother Was A Chinese Trapeze Artist” from the 5 Songs EP and “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” on Picaresque. The band’s songs convey tales ranging from whimsical (“The Sporting Life“) to epic (“The Tain”) to dark (“Odalisque”), and often invoke historical events and themes from around the world. Early in their career, The Decemberists’ musical and lyrical aesthetics frequently prompted critics to compare them to Neutral Milk Hotel.



Here she comes in her palanquin
on the back of an elephant
on a bed made of linen and sequins and silk
all astride on her father’s line
with the king and his concubines
and her nurse with her pitchers of liquors and milk
and we’ll all come praise the infanta
and we’ll all come praise the infanta

Among five score pachyderm
each canopied and passengered
sit the duke and the duchess’ luscious young girls
within sight of the baroness
seething spite for this lithe largesse
by her side sits the baron
her barrenness barbs her
and we’ll all come praise the infanta
and we’ll all come praise the infanta

A phalanx on camelback
thirty ranks on a forward tack
followed close, their shiny bright standards a-waving
while behind in their coach-and-fours
ride the wives of the king of Moors
And the veiled young virgin, the prince’s betrothed
and we’ll all come praise the infanta
and we’ll all come praise the infanta

And as she sits upon her place
her innocence laid on her face
from all atop the parapets blow a multitude of coronets
melodies rhapsodical and fair
and all our hearts afire
the sky ablaze with cannon fire
we all raise our voices to the air
to the air…

And above all this folderol
on a bed made of chaparral
she is laid, a coronal placed on her brow
and the babe, all in slumber dreams
of a place filled with quiet streams
and the lake where her cradle was pulled from the water
and we’ll all come praise the infanta
and we’ll all come praise the infanta

  • Audio from the 2005 album, Picaresque:


About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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