Paul Kelly in Thirteen Ways to Look at Birds

With James Ledger, Alice Keath, and Seraphim Trio

Thirteen Ways to Look at Birds


‘Part art music, part poetry reading and part folk-rock oratorio, it was by turns profoundly moving, playful and darkly atmospheric’ Cameron Woodhead, The Age

Birds have fascinated poets for centuries, not just for their song and flight but as symbols: of hope, freedom, love, communication, peace, luck good and bad and migration.

And what better way to honour them than by sending songs out into the air? In a new song cycle Australian music legend Paul Kelly and leading Australian composer James Ledger have written 13 new songs and soundscapes inspired by birds, using words from the likes of John Keats, Thomas Hardy, Emily Dickinson, Judith Wright, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Gwen Harwood, A.D. Hope and more. Each poem is its own world — delicate and intimate at times, colossal and soaring at others, with all states in between.

‘He [Kelly] sung with his arms outstretched like a bird in flight and the music, words and voices combined effortlessly’ Brigid Delaney, The Guardian

Originally commissioned by Adelaide Festival and Perth Festival.

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre in arrangement with GWB Entertainment


Composed by James Ledger & Paul Kelly

Piano Anna Goldsworthy
Violin Helen Ayres
Cello Tim Nankervis

Vocals and Acoustic guitar Paul Kelly

Electric guitar and synthesizer
James Ledger

Vocals, Banjo, autoharp,
glockenspiel, percussion and synthesizer
Alice Keath


This production is part of the following series:

Just Announced

Latest concert announcements from Melbourne Recital Centre.