Marta Keen: Homeward Bound

Written by Jonathan Estabrooks


In category: Song of the Day

Published January 25, 2017

There is something truly magical about this song. I first discovered it as a young boy soprano, growing up in Ottawa, Canada. Known to me only as a choral work, I was surprised to see a recent revival by a number of solo artists and YouTubers. The text became even more poignant and personal for me while working abroad and chasing a new adventure, yet missing home.

In her own words, Ms. Keen describes the intentions behind this hauntingly beautiful work: “Finding your true calling in life; knowing that those who love you trust that you will return… I wrote this song for a loved one who was embarking upon a new phase of life’s journey, to express the soul’s yearning to grow and change. It was premiered by a Seattle Irish tenor, but soon after was beautifully arranged by Jay Althouse and published by Alfred Music. It has been performed by choirs of all ages throughout the English speaking world and many Asian countries.”

I hope you enjoy my interpretation and images from Airlie Beach, Australia and the Fiordlands in New Zealand, with cliffs that seem to fall into the ocean. It was a magnificent sight to see.

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Canadian baritone Jonathan Estabrooks has a vibrant and diverse musical career in classical, crossover and musical theatre repertoire and has been hailed as “a robust baritone” by The New York Times. Most recently on tour in Australia and New Zealand, he will next compete in the American Traditions Competition in Savannah, Georgia. Jonathan has made debuts at Carnegie Hall and with the Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver Symphonies and with NYFOS on numerous occasions. He is an alumnus of the prestigious Juilliard School.


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    Hello mate this is genuinely incredible x

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    This is a very special song and I really loved this arrangement of it. I only recently discovered this song but as I am currently on a journey of groth and development it really spoke to me.

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    Well done, Jonathan. Keep singing!

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    I recently discovered this song and have listened to many interpretations of it. It speaks so much to my life at this time in my early 70’s when I have lost many near and dear to me and thoughts of my own mortality are felt more clearly. Thanks for this outstanding interpretation of such a powerful and hauntingly beautiful song.


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