Ear Meal

Weekly, live performances by experimental musicians.

Weba Garretson and Ralph Gorodetsky

“What Must the Hummingbird See?” is a backyard song cycle: 15 short songs (2:30 mins or less) each based on the daily occurrences in an urban wilderness where skunks, possums, owls, hawks and cats manage to thrive. The music evokes a multitude of influences — from Folk to Eisler, from Stravinsky to Webern. Concise lyrics provide opportunities for the exploration of form: Some songs have verse and chorus while others are through composed. Inspired by the poetry of Mary Oliver, the sonic vignettes present fleeting moments of beauty and transcendence charged with moral questions. As humans, we have a desire to fix things, to alter the natural balance and interfere with the natural progression. The songs ask: is there such a thing as an urban wilderness, an ecology of the city that must be respected? Do we allow feral cats to hunt songbirds? Do we save an egg that has been tossed from its nest? What must the hummingbird see?

Weba Garretson and Ralph Gorodetsky have been writing songs together since 1993 and have consistently pursued the intersection of Popular Music and Contemporary New Music ideas. They have written Woody Guthrie inspired songs for the Los Angeles Poverty Department’s production of “Utopia/Dystopia at the Redcat in 2008; Blues and Pop songs for an updated Grimm’s Fairytale musical called “The Seven Ravens Project.” As members of the Eastside Sinfonietta, Garretson and Gorodetsky created contemporary arrangements of theater songs by Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler and Bertolt Brecht. In “Welcome to Webaworld” they combined deconstructed rock songs by AC/DC and the Rolling Stones with spoken word narratives, and in “Puttanesca” they collaborated with guitarist Joe Baiza to manifest a surreal dreamscape in Punk Jazz.

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