Talk about sake
Sake Brewing SongsIn the world’s various workplaces, there are work songs and task songs which people sing with their peers and colleagues. Sake breweries have brewing songs, too. In old days, workers’ sonorous singing voices used to echo in the breweries across Japan. They say each song was made for each process of brewing, including tub washing, rice washing and moromi (fermentation mash) preparation, though the content depended on regions and breweries. Most lyrics sing about beautiful hometowns of seasonal migrant workers called kurabito, about their wives and children left there and how tough the work is. There is a wide range of tunes to match tasks, from relaxed and emotional tunes to vigorous ones, which helped strengthening the ties among the workers and boosting their morale.
The brewing songs had another important function, which was timekeeping for collaborative work in place of clocks. Since many of the tasks went late into the night, the songs were essential, both practically and mentally, for chasing away drowsiness and relieving stress. They say if they could not sing well, their salary would be cut in half, which may or may not be true. Though nowadays there are few breweries where workers sing songs on a daily basis, there is also an active movement to preserve the precious culture, like performing the songs at the occasions of celebration and events or publishing CDs and books.