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Thursday, October 7, 2010

203. "A Song About Monkeys" by Charlie McDonnell

Requested by Eden Hain.

Yes, once again a member of my household wins the request of the day, and once again she gets to play and sing on it. It must be said that when I only get three or four requests, and my family peoples are reminded to request stuff from me just from my very presence and never miss a day, it's going to happen.

When we last checked in on Eden's progress in mastering the ukulele, she was helping me record this track on the first day she even tried to play the instrument. She's improved a good deal since then, largely through watching folks like Charlie McDonnell on YouTube. You may not be aware of this, but there's a major resurgence of interest in ukes right now, and, for whatever reason, YouTube is ground zero for it. It actually makes sense to me... YouTube videos are often done on the fly and with sketchy sound anyway. A nice portable uke beats a guitar as the thing you can pull out of your backpack and sing along with while vlogging from a train station in the Czech Republic or wherever. In any case, Eden's made it her own thing. So when I picked up my mandolin we came up with this joke idea, probably on a drive to school or something, of forming a super-high-end duo with us playing uke and mandolin... sort of the opposite of Mike Watt's Dos, I guess. We actually did it, though, on this track, opting for the project name Mandolele over Ukelin almost as much for the aesthetics of the word as anything else.

Eden is an avid follower of a bunch of these YouTubers, some of whom (and at times the point of the whole YouTubing enterprise) I just don't get, and a lot of whose musical material strikes me as clever but altogether too much on the novelty side of things to really excite me... if Dr. Demento is still going, he should be having a field day with online parodies and so forth. But McDonnell is very impressive. I have to love it that Eden found Charlie largely because he does songs and videos based on Doctor Who, which Eden loves because I introduced her to it. McDonnell's band Chameleon Circuit is in fact a "Time Lord Rock" band, all of whose songs are based on Who themes and characters, so there's entertainment to be found there for longtime fans like me. And yeah, maybe I have had a hand in creating a monster, but is it cool to have a daughter who rocks the guitar, loves Bowie, digs Doctor Who and writes songs reflecting all of that? Why, hell yes, I'd have to say it is.

Eden Hain ~ Ukulele, vocals
Rex Broome ~ Mandolin, whistling, vocals

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