The images of Quito, Ecuador, taken in 1994 and edited together for the video accompanying Sarah Streitz’s latest release, help to create a strong sense of place, which is matched by the dark sonic atmosphere and rich narrative of the lyrics. This is powerful, emotional music inspired by Streitz’s time living in Quito, where she lost her baby. It is such a personal song, full of intimate detail and rooted in a real, traumatic experience, that it is hard not to be moved.
Streitz explains the background to the song: “Losing our first child (born full term) was the most heart wrenching experience of my life. It happened without warning on a typically cool, sun-drenched morning in the Ecuadorean city of Quito, where my husband and I were in the middle of a two-year teaching contract, looking forward to becoming first time parents. On the day it happened and for many days thereafter, the loss was unspeakable, the burden too heavy to bear. But time caused me to look upon this experience as part of who I am, part of who I have become and the catalyst for turning our life around in a way that included giving birth to four more children, none of whom would have been born were it not for that fateful day. Life is death, death is life and circles are complete and no matter how small, they are always significant. This video is a photo story put together simply and with few effects, to portray the sorrow of death alongside the beauty that is Ecuador, that is Quito, its people, its spirituality, that are ever present in my heart. The musical style of ‘Quito’ though not directly reflective of traditional Ecuadorean music, is, like the ancient call of an Andean flute echoing hollow off a distant mountain, full of both joy and sorrow. As the story in my song gets sadder, the lyrics, more mournful, it is the music that brings us back, gives us hope and joy and takes us to a central space of renewal and the sun comes out again. ‘Oooh, Quito… that’s the place where my baby is gone.'”
‘Quito’ is taken from the new album, ‘Cut Flowers’, released by the Minneapolis songwriter in October 2020. Her work has benefited from collaborations with excellent performers, most notably the co-producer, Greg Schutte, who has drummed for the likes of Stephen Stills and Ryan Bingham. However, it is, Streitz’s soulful, striking voice that elevates these songs above the ordinary. Sarah Streitz has produced work of genuine depth, here. Take a listen.