Alela Diane's Roundabout

Monday, December 1, 2008 | |

Alela Diane's Roundabout

In 2006 Alela Diane released "The Pirates Gospel" out on the small label Holocene Music. It's is a fine piece of musical artistry and remains one of my favorite discs. In 2007 she made her way to Texas and played the SXSW festival down in Austin. She stopped by an made this recording with DayTrotter (a pretty neat music blog). The recordings are here and it's all live versions of songs from "The Pirates Gospel" and some new stuff as well, you can download all of the tracks too... for frees!

Using the DayTrotter link we come to another one of my favorite artists, Shara Worden know in the musical world as "My Brightest Diamond." The people at DayTrotter have this cool little thing they do called Bookery in which artists choose books that they like and read them, Shara's choice is here. Some other artist/bands that have contributed to this bookery project include Jeffery lewis, Fiery Furnaces, Okkervil River, and Portastatic amongst others.

While in France, assumingly on tour Shara shot a video of her version of Nina Simone's "Be My Husband" and I think it's fantastic.

Nina Simone is jazz/soul musician from North Carolina who recorded over 40 albums in her lifetime. Somewhere in there she recorded the song "I Put A spell on You." After it's release John Lennon was quoted saying that it was the inspirations for the Beatles song "Michelle."

"Michelle" is quite a good tune if I do say so myself you can read up on it's history here. One of my favorite covers of it is by Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals. It has also attempted by over 30 bands including Booker T and the MG's, and even Bela Fleck has a version. Interesting side note the single beat out "Strangers in the Night" by Sinatra for the Grammy award in the category of song of the year in 1967.

Two albums after the release of "Michelle" on Rubber Soul, the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album was rated the all time best rock record in 2003 by Rolling Stone magazine. The cover of the album featured a collection of life size cardboard cutouts of people surrounding the Beatles. Some of the people included are Sigmund Freud, Edgar Allan Poe, Karl Marx, and interesting enough Karlheinz Stockhausen is there.

Karlheinz Stockhausen was an experimental music composer of the 20th and early 21st century. His influence is wide spreading and it is said to be seen on the Beatles track "Strawberry Fields Forever." Where presumably the use of the Mellotron the worlds first sample/playback keyboard was used alongside an abundance of overdubbing and delays to pay homage to the the man.

One of the most interesting things I think that Stockhausen did is the Hellicpoter string Quartet Not to say most of his stuff isn't interesting, it is trust me :)

A string quartet popularized by Hayden traditionally consist of two violins, a viola, and cello, but the combination is not strict just the number. The violin as you may know has several nicknames including the squeak box :) and the fiddle. Over in Finland they have a specific variation of the violin they like to call the Jouhikko.

As you can see in the video the Jouhikko is played on the knee. Completing the roundabout if you look, you can find that Alela Diane credits Michael Hurley for his use of the knee fiddle in her band.

Alela or Michael, can we get confirmation that this knee fiddle is a Jouhikko?


.kate said...

I love her! Thank you!