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HUE MANATEE’S QUEST is an eco-peace world/folk musical created and composed over a 14-year period beginning in 1995. James was an early voice warning of planetary warming since viewing a video documentary called ‘Stopping the Coming Ice Age’ in the late ’80s. HUE MANATEE’S QUEST employs humor, pathos, inventive wordplay, compelling music and other theatrical devices to entertain, while at the same time conveying the urgency of Earth’s (i.e., Life’s) great existential challenge. These 10 songs were selected as representative of the musical’s rich diversity, symbolic in itself of the planet’s own vast interdependency with its many inherent lifeforms, as expressed in James Lovelock’s Gaia Principle.
“It is great to discover recordings of live plays at any opportunity, and anyone who appreciates Broadway productions will love ‘Songs from Hue Manatee’s Quest.’ James Durst has freed the limits of the imagination with his latest effort, and the entire cast seems very well aware they are participating in a work of greatness. The flow of the production is flawless, with the end of the story coming far too soon. There were at least four great singers in the production, none of which would surprise me to be headlining on The Great White Way for years to come. Make a space in your home for ‘Hue Manatee’s Quest’ today.” (Five Stars) –CASHBOX Magazine
“Yesterday, I set up a reclining chair on the lawn, poured a beer and put on your Hue Manatee’s Quest CD, and was blown away. Your latest composition is outstanding — on many levels — creatively, artistically, intellectually, musically. You managed to bring to light the universal questions and themes that are asked by all thinking-beings. That’s an ambitious undertaking for any art form. To do so in an engaging musical form, with a simple story line that appeals to all ages is an outstanding achievement. The artwork is also outstanding. The wordplay I expected from you, but you out-did yourself on this one. It’s truly your greatest artistic achievement. Congratulations.”
–Joe Cromwell, NY
“My favorite is ‘Lost In The Kuda Shuda Woods.’ I’ve listened to that a number of times. It’s a real masterpiece. It’s brilliant.”
–Bob Rafkin, Award-winning singer-songwriter
“We’ve had your CD in our six-disc shuffle since you sent it to us. It’s only gotten better. Just terrific!”
–Paul Jacobs & Jennifer Swender, Amherst MA
“Magnificent! It’s truly a work of art.”
–Joel & Dee Aronson, Gaithersburg MD
“I had the extreme pleasure of listening to both the Whaling Trilogy and Hue Manatee’s Quest. Both are works larger than life and it is amazing that a humble folk singer had the vision to see such majestic projects. I am proud to say that I know you.”
–Larry ‘Folkster’ Rosenfeld, Karmiel Folk Klub, Shorashim, Israel
“My folks named me Herald
My friends call me Hue
So can you”
With these words, our gentle hero HUE MANATEE introduces himself to us and a new friend, the somewhat cynical yet endearing itinerant musician FLICKATI CRICKET, who has witnessed Hue’s close call with a boat propeller. The two exchange similar accounts of run-ins with the ‘two-legged ones,’ and share an awareness of each’s own deteriorating environment. Together they seek the insight and counsel of wise old LEON CHAMELEON, a renowned change agent and teacher.
About to depart on a long journey when they find him, Leon invites the two young ones to accompany him, calling it an educational field trip. The adventure ultimately evolves into Hue’s personal quest, re-energizes Flickati’s musical mission, and provides Leon a long-dreamed-of pilgrimage to his ancestral roots, the Galápagos.
Along the way the peripatetic trio meet and share songs and assorted perils with such charismatic characters as WHALE, a dolphin trio (‘TRIO LIFE’), SHINING EAGLE, shaman of the Northern Hemisphere Imáji Nation and ELLE CONDOR, medicine woman of the Southern Hemisphere Todos tribe. And finally, upon reaching their destination, they are greeted by the popular Galápagosian vocal quintet, ACAPELLAGO.
Before going their individual ways, the three protagonists are visited by SOURCE, who confirms their innermost awareness that all of Life is inextricably interwoven into a tapestry of magnificent colors and textures, each complementing the others, each interdependent with the rest.