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We’re history lovers, mostly storytellers.

Chapter Three

Stardust At My Back

Song Stories

Liner Notes

In this series of Song Stories we’re taking you behind the scenes of each song.

Chapter III – Seekers Song Trilogy is the third EP from our album Old Bones Odyssey

Coming soon: we’re creating a podcast that dives deeper into the stories and history behind our songs.

seekers song trilogy

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Stardust At My Back

Lyrics

stardust at my back

“Across the sky, across the sea, every step in front of me, leads me into the unknown.”-Lyrics/Ellen Kaye

Ellen C Kaye – Lead Vocal
Ethan Fein – Guitar
Andrew Drelles – Flute
Koa Ho – Upright bass
Zach Mullings – Drums
© 2022 Ellen C Kaye and Ethan Fein. All rights reserved.

Across the sky, across the sea
Every step in front of me
Leads me into the unknown
Across the sky, across the sea
All the earth in front of me
All roads stars that lead me home

A map, a plan, a distant land
With stardust at my back
I see the new world
Feel the new world
New dreams take me home
Across the sky, across the sea
Every step in front of me
Leads me into the unknown

Across the sky, across the sea
All the earth in front of me
All roads stars that lead me home
A map, a plan, a distant land
With stardust at my back
I see the new world
Feel the new world
New dreams take me home

Recorded/Mixed/Mastered by Bill Moss
Ellen C Kaye, Ethan Fein, Alan Joseph,
Bill Moss — Producers.
Recording Studio
Outlier Inn Recording Studio
Woodridge, New York
A Repair With Gold Production LLC SM
© 2023 All rights reserved.

The Story

Stardust At My Back

“That you could curse your destiny, upend it and walk away.”-Ellen Kaye

When I wrote this song I had a whole idea. I wanted to write about running off to sea. Of being exiled. Of immigration thousands of years ago and immigration now. Of choosing to leave because it is the smart thing to do. Of leaving because your children are hungry and you need to feed them. Because people hate you who have never met you and it will never change. Because the religion that dominates your country says you are responsible for the death of its savior. Because you were kidnapped and shackled and torn away from your home in chains. Or because you simply had the idea that there was something better, that this was not the life you had to lead. That you could curse your destiny, upend it and walk away. These seekers’ songs started out as stories each person in our world could sing. A window into the archetypal experiences of leaving home, of running, of searching for a new place, a new home, a safe place, through the eyes of very different people. I wanted to put us all in each other’s shoes, to feel what other people feel. To expand our understanding. To levitate.

Annie Horowitz Kalmanovich
Family lore tells us that she was a teenage Bolshevik who escaped the Cossacks by fleeing to America in 1901 with a hidden bag of gold. Ellen’s paternal grandmother .
Isaac Chertok-Chertoff
A Russian who emigrated via Tokyo to Istanbul to Israel until the beginning of WWII and finally to New York City. Here he is wearing the uniform of the Russian Army. Possibly WWI. Ellen’s cousin on the paternal line.
Cruz Alejandrina Defanti
Cruz emigrated from Chile and became an American citizen. She raised me from six months till I was seven. Whatever is good in me is from her love and care.
Lyro Defanti
Lyro came to New York City from Brazil and met Cruz in the early 1960's.
Jacob Kalmanowitz
b. 1884 Russia. Emigrated to America 1899. d.1949 NYC. He was a partner in two restaurants in Manhattan (Gottlieb’s) before the crash of 1929. Ellen’s paternal grandfather.
Jan Peerce Family - The Perelmuth’s
Circa 1905. Jan Peerce with his father Levi, mother Henya and brother Mottel shortly after his parents and brother emigrated to the United States from Horodetz, Poland (now Belarus). Photo taken on the Lower East Side, New York City.
Jan Peerce & Mottel Peerce
Jan and Mottel upclose. Mottel soon after this photo was taken.
John Tsang
b.(possibly)Canton, China. d.Long Island, New York. Toiled in the restaurant industry to support his family and married Iris Seay, an interethnic marriage. Father of Ellen’s husband, Kim Tsang.
George Ernest Burwell Jr.
b.1897 Tarboro, North Carolina. d.1980 Columbus, North Carolina. Ellen’s maternal grandfather.
LLoyd Williams
d.1932 New Orleans, Louisiana. d. 2020 New York City. Fashion designer whose clothes were featured in Lord & Taylor, Macy’s and the major department stores of the day. Ellen’s brother-in-law.
Faith Courtney Burwell Jr
b.1932 d.2020 Faith came to New York City From South Carolina via "New Faces Of 1952". Ellen's mother.
Jake & Annie Kalmanowitz
Jake & Annie Kalmanowitz M. 1906. Ellen’s grandparents, their wedding photo. Lower East Side, New York City,
Early Map Of Europe
Sailing Ship
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An Interview with Ellen

Stardust At My Back

“I wanted to put us all in each other’s shoes, to feel what other people feel.”-Ellen Kaye

I had a whole idea. I wanted to write about running off to sea. Of being exiled. Of immigration thousands of years ago and immigration now. Of choosing to leave because it is the smart thing to do. Of leaving because your children are hungry and you need to feed them. Because people hate you who have never met you and it will never change. Because the religion that dominates your country says you are responsible for the death of its savior. Because you were kidnapped and shackled and torn away from your home in chains. Or because you simply had the idea that there was something better, that this was not the life you had to lead. That you could curse your destiny, upend it and walk away. These seekers’ songs started out as stories each person in our world could sing. A window into the archetypal experiences of leaving home, of running, of searching for a new place, a new home, a safe place, through the eyes of very different people. 
I wanted to put us all in each other’s shoes, to feel what other people feel. To expand our understanding. To levitate.

I want them to feel less alone. And to feel inspired to leap. To leave the charted path.

“Across the sky, across the sea, every step in front of me, leads me into the unknown”

So many peoples’ histories along the path of our project have lead to this song. But first it was my own experience, being abused at home and deciding that I wasn’t going to live that way. So at fourteen I hit the road and hitchhiked across the country. I felt the very same feeling of uncontainable hope when I put my first foot on the highway and my thumb in the wind.

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Ellen C Kaye

Ellen C Kaye

Singer/songwriter, producer, podcast maker, mom, born and bred in NYC. Night Club singer at heart.