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I'm an Irish guy living in France. I like music, books, creative writing, art, history, vegetarianism, people, and chocolate.

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Monday 30 June 2008

Velvet Ukulele

I've been thinking of buying a ukulele lately. It looks fun, it's handier to carry to the park than a folk guitar, and it sounds great... A bit like strumming a regular guitar with a capo on the 10th fret. Before buying one, I was checking if there were any uku ressources or tutorials on the web — I'm no autodictat — and while searching I discovered a singer called Jem Cooke. A Youtube video of one of her songs, "Miss You", was on a ukulele tablatures website, and it's quite good. (I included it in this post, below). She has a beautiful voice. I especially like her softer, simpler songs, which have a folkie ring to them. She sings in a "soul" style, so if you don't like Adele or KT Tunstall's vocal style, you mightn't like Jem. But it's definitely worth check her out her Myspace page anyway, here.

I've also started listening to Velvet Underground again. It had been a while. I'm especially into their third (untitled) album, the one with "Candy says", "Pale Blue Eyes" and the like. Listening to it again made me realise how much of an influence Velvet Underground and especially Lou Reed were to modern indie folk/accoustic bands. I had read about it but I had never actually noticed it myself before. You can hear their influence in some of Belle & Sebastian's early material, for example... even in a Devendra Banhart song (I can't remember which one) I was listening to earlier.
It's also interesting how people change. Lou Reed used to be one of the wildest rockstars around, now he's releasing meditation music, practises tai chi every day and is into Eastern spirituality.

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