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Although the music was originally envisioned as a jig, quickly it became apparent that a different treatment would be more fun. Once Ruth wrote the bulk of the lyrics (Hank contributed one stanza), a vocal line became feasible, along with a chorus of sorts. But what style to sing it in? Hank did the most entertaining version of Roots singing, and that ended up expressing "Ithaca" the best.


I live in Ithaca, that's where I call home
Once I find a place to park my car I'll never walk alone.
I live in Ithaca, that's where I belong
There are lots of quirky citizens to help me sing my song.

It doesn't matter what the poets say - the skies are gray, not blue.
It only makes the landscape more beautiful.
Some people say it's always overcast, but that's just not quite true.
It's sunny every other Tuesday one o'clock to two.

Deep with snow the hill next to my house shines bright with sun's good rays.
Driving up in winter time can make me crazy.
We'll eat a ton of avocados to get us through cold days.
Sing a song of Ithaca and pray for more enlightened days.

I live in Ithaca, that's where I buy flowers
With a charming local currency called Ithaca HOURS.
I live in Ithaca, that's where I will stay
There are groups performing Shakespeare almost every summer day.

It's where the corner store sells tofu khan and dried adzuki beans
(If you want more choices, go to Greenstar)
And the first Monday of the month the Vegetarian Supper Club convenes;
The entire population knows what "vegan" means.

So let's all don our Angelheart and dine at a cafe -
We could eat at Juna's or at ABC -
We'll take a stroll down to the Ithaca Fest and watch the parade.
Will we be in time to see the Volvo ballet?

(The Birkenstock Brigade - The Chainsaw Band, The Daughters of Sweden, The International Association of Leisurely Persons and Cayuga Lake)


from Skinnydipping, released January 1, 2002
Music by Mer Boel; lyrics by Ruth Roland and Hank Roberts;


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Water Bear Music Ithaca, New York

Water Bear emerged to soothe and engage the weary souls of upstate NY around the turn of the century.

Currently involved in solo projects, the musicians of Water Bear occasionally meet up to create anew. One way or another, the music lives on!
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