Saturday, November 10, 2012

Radio, studio, ukelele, etc....

Last week my friend Reva posted the video above on Facebook and said she had heard it on NPR. I did not hear it on NPR, which I listen too almost obsessively, but the song pleased me inordinantly and I loved its perversity and it made me think about my youthful occupation as a camp counselor and the red ukelele that was one of my camp counseling implements, or "wand of thunder" as the song says.

So, fast forward a couple of days and I am in my studio, cutting fabric and listening to NPR, to my new favorite program, Q.  I came in a little late to the program and the first thing I heard was this incredible, weird, heartbreaking song. The Bed Song. I stopped cutting. I sat down and I listened and wondered who this person/band was. Turns out it is Amanda Palmer, the ukelele anthem woman. Who also turns out to be late of the Dresden Dolls, whose video Coin Operated Boy amazed me on YouTube a couple years ago. Now I finally know her name and I have spent a lot of time on YouTube watching and listening to her mesmerizing music. I know this music won't resonate with everyone. Maybe you won't be as captivated, but if you are you will enjoy a YouTube tour. I especially recommend her ukelele version of Radiohead's Creep, strange as that may sound. So there it is. This is what happens when you listen to NPR all day. Public Broadcasting—it's not just about Big Bird and I am grateful for it.

The radio, it powers me onward. Here is a peek at what I have been working on today.


  1. I've never heard of Q. It sounds great. I'll have to check out their podcasts. Honestly, I've never heard of Amanda Palmer either. Thanks for the introduction. I listen to podcasts constantly when I am in the studio -- including several npr programs. I find they take just enough of my mental energy to keep me anchored to what I am working on. In an interesting way, it keeps me more focused and less distracted -- and tempted to go off and do something else (like waste time reading blogs).

  2. This must be why Hawaii is such a happy place -- everyone learns to play the uke in school. I'm still smiling at the idea of Sid Vicious being a peaceful guy if he had played ukelele.

  3. This morning as I sit with my 1st coffee of the day and blog checking... I come to your post. My grandfather played the ukulele... I never heard him play. I was five when he died.
    I love the ukulele. I fell in love with it when I was a kid watching old movies...
    Move forward many years to me going on a youth retreat with a bunch of kids. 10 hour drive - five boys teen boys in my van none of who want to interact with me much. What a boring trip... some kids have no sense of imagination or whimsy... the trip was dull until the green ukulele came out and they were surprised when I let it be practiced in my van.... I love the ukulele.
    This morning... I started the you tube video. My son (25) roles his eyes, my husband gets a smile on his face and sayes something... I have to stop the video to hear him. He said "Your mother is wierd Steve..." And I replied "it is from one of my quilty bloggers" My husband nodded his head wisely "of course it is" and we all had big smiles on our faces.
    Thanks for the big smile... I think I need a ukulele...
    And I think I listen to Q too. Is it a program from the CBC in Canada broadcast on the NPR in the US?
    This is were I get alot of my musical insights and whimsy. Sometimes I am so hipper then my kids...sigh.
    Thanks for the great sigh.

  4. And after the ukulele, try the accordion.

  5. Heard an interview with Amanda Palmer a while back on NPR, she also blew me away and I had to stop working and actually pay attention! The song was 'Coin Operated Boy'. First thing I do in the studio is put on internet radio so I can listen to WBUR, Boston! It connects me... I may have to invest in a few songs for the iPod. And oh yeah, LOVE how those shirtings are coming together.

  6. Oh I LOVE Amanda Palmer, plus she's married to one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman! You should look for her blog - she's profane and profound and raw and intelligent. The post about her wedding and decision to marry is illuminating ( It's a screed about independence, reliance, connections, groundedness, and self, all beautifully written.

    Also, I recommend following her on Twitter, if you're on Twitter. I'm breathlessly awaiting her arrival with the Grand Theft Orchestra to a theater near me so I can see her perform live.

    Did you see photos of the exhibit by Yayoi Kusama in Australia with the completely white room where visitors were given dots of different colors to decorate it? She heard about it while performing in Australia and did a "ninja gig" in the exhibit (with permission)! So, so cool!! The post also has her insights into creating art without listening to outside voices and making art despite criticism and just making art to make art.

    Anyway, I'm a fan, think she's brilliant on so many levels, and I'm happy to hear that you like her music.

  7. Amanda is awesome. So is Neil. You know, because I know them personally on a first-name basis (OK, not really)...but yeah. They rock :-).