Posts Tagged ‘youtube’



[Picture of Russian Sonstress, Regina Spektor]Regina Spektor seems to be everywhere these days. Her music is used extensively in TV commercials, movies, trailers and campaigns, and she’s done all the big European festivals like T in the Park and Glastonbury.

Her album “Far” is actually pretty good.  It is very New York East Village, very girly, and all that.  She is quirky, plays the piano and has some orchestration. That sounds like so many others, doesn’t it?  It moves on the Kate Bush, Joanna Newsom, Tori Amos thingy, and sits well with St.Vincent — or even Emily Simone.

If you listen a wee bit more closely, you hear that she does crazy things while singing — odd noises are emitted form her mouth, buzzes, rasps, tuts and heavy breathing!  She has a broad range too.  This moves the music up a notch from the usual girly wistfulness to something else.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Oh no.  There’s the “Back-Story”, and what a tale to tell — what a soap-opera!  You couldn’t make this up!  I’ll try to be brief and still do this fascinating tale some justice.Where to begin?  Well how about a few weeks ago?

OK, it’s the 7th of July 2010, at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland. Regina was set to perform, but was reportedly distraught, shaken and in tears most of the time.  She had to stop several times simply to regain her composure — all because the day before, her cellist, Dan Cho, drowned while swimming in Lake Geneva near Chillon Castle. But the show went on, and she pulled it off.

Flashback: to 1989, the USSR during the period of Perestroika, the Spektor family (including a nine-year-old Regina) emigrate to Austria and then Italy. She is completely fluent in Russian and reads Hebrew.

They were admitted to the USA as refugees with the assistance of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and settled in the Bronx in New York where she studied classical piano with Sonia Vargas, a professor at the Manhattan School of Music, until she was 17.  She did a four-year studio composition program of the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College graduating within three years.  In the summers she worked at a Butterfly Farm and even worked in Tottenham, London. Otherwise she was gigging to sell her home-burned CDs and gain a reputation.  She started getting recognition by performances at the East Village’s Sidewalk Café, CB’s Gallery, the Living Room, the Knitting Factory, Fez and Tonic that led to signing with Sire in 2004.

She was on Loose Women (Housewife Daytime TV show in the UK) back in 2007 — and later that year — during a sound-check for her gig at Ryman Auditorium, Nashville on 14th November that year, she collapsed due to intense vertigo as a result of an inner ear infection, and was rushed to hospital, cancelling the concert.  I can relate to that as I was suffering a similar state of affairs at that time too.

I take my hat off to her; she’s not had it easy, she’s a grafter, and she’s done a lot already with her life.  She’s definitely one to keep an eye on; some people just attract happenings and events!

[Embedded videoclip from YouTube: Spektor’s “Samson”]


[Embedded videoclip from YouTube: Spektor’s “Machine”]





[Picture of Gregory Hoskins playing guitar]Whenever I hear Gregory Hoskins’sNever a Stranger Kiss” I relax, sure in the knowledge that talent and creativity are not dead, that TV reality show singing competitions have not killed every other outlet and opportunity.

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Sit back and just let Gregory Hoskins open his soul to you.  It’s superb — gripping, chilling — and the rest. The guy can sing and hit the spot too. Hit “Play”, do it!

Maaan, I can seriously sympathise with him in that I have years of unfinished and unpolished songs, tunes and arrangement ideas.  The bridge is always a fuss if it doesn’t just come along with the birth. Then again, I have some that need choruses, intros and more verses! Oy!  I think he’s worked it out beautifully on this one, don’t you?

I like the vibe he sets up — I have enjoyed a lot of salsa, mambo,  guaguancó, rumba, punto, and son for quite a few years, probably as a result of studying Al di Meola’s stuff way back in the 1970s! LOL! Later, I got “into” Bal-Musette and even electric/ modern tango, like The Gotan Project.  I really like that he gives his song some of that flavour; it adds a lot, it evokes that whole decadent insalubriousness mood!

You can buy his album, “The Beggar Heart” from right now for buttons. Greg is the best thing out of Canada for years! This is one chap I would definitely go to see live should he ever tour the northern wastes of the UK!

As I may just have whet an appetite, I had better do my web-duty and provide some links! The first one is obvious:, then this is a nice link:

Finally, the record company — the fabulous Candyrat Records (what would the world be like without them?). Enjoy!




Way back in the day, I noticed the name Steve Gadd among the credits listings on far too many of my LP records.

The name Steve Gadd seemed to be everywhere, man.  He began to achieve legendary status (with me and my muckers anyways) for his work on Steely Dan’s “Aja”.

The other thing he may be bestest known for is Paul Simon’s “50 ways to leave your lover” which is for girls, but we forgive Gadd, for he has to earn a crust same as us all.

Anyhoo, here’s an interesting link to Steve Gadd doing what-made-him-famous — courtesy of  Check it out, man — isn’t that kool?

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You know what is sooo good about the clip is that you get it all over again halfways through, but in s-l-o-w motion — and that is really what drives home what is going on – what he’s doing.  Pretty enlightening, but if (like me) you craved more information, why not check out the reply posted on YouTube by “Prof” Jeff Indyke, where he teaches the Steve Gadd paradiddle — informative AND entertaining.

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Here is Steve Gadd himself playing “50 ways”:

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Oh! and amazingly, I came across a RECENT videoclip — just uploaded in July (2008) where Steve shows the drum fills he used in “Aja” — no kidding!  Ain’t Youtube the dawgz?

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I have always clicked with Steve Gadd’s work; it’s free, but still tight and he’s always interesting.  I guess the thing I admire most about Steve Gadd is that he gets away with doing what he does almost unnoticed!  Let’s face it, much of the work on “Aja” is a drum solo, yet people don’t even think of it that way!

In “Aja” and in “50 ways” you see the side of Gadd that pushes the drums into a new place — somewhere kinda equal to the other instruments, do you know what I mean? it’s no longer merely a beat or percussive feature, but as strong in the memory of the piece as the melody.  I would guess that most folk who know the song would recognise “50 ways” as soon as Gadd’s drum line is heard!

The drum lines in these tunes are intrinsic — without the Steve Gadd drum lines, these tunes would be radically altered (and much lessened).  The drumming is very much part and parcel of the tune and the arrangement, and in that respect Gadd was part of that movement from the late 1970s to elevate drumming to new heights.

In that, he was probably in the same movement (for want of a better word) as the likes of Billy Cobham, Lenny White, and Bill Bruford.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these clips of a truly great musician as much as I did.




Western Spaghetti by PES on YouTube.  This is stop-motion animation at it’s best.  I just love the creativity behind this; it’s perfect, and great fun.

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A brilliant piece of work from charlesfondue on YouTube.  Daft Punk soundtrack added to a very old film of guys dancing the Charleston. Mind-blowing 1920s stuff… enjoy!

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I have no idea how I came across this video, but it’s amazing!

It seems to be a sort-of teaching English thing, a language course, but there seems to also be an aerobic exercise routine involved. OK, it’s weird.  It’s Japanese!

Anyway, they are teaching people English phrases for when they get robbed! Bizarre!

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There’re a couple of Glaswegian Ukelele players taking You Tube by storm! Gus and Fin are their names. Yes, I know that the Ukelele is not usually thought-of as the most rock’n’roll of instruments, it’s not usually considered “cool” — until maybe now!

[embedded video “Are Friends Electric” on]

They have taken the You Tube philosophy on board — they are broadcasting themselves — and it’s fabulous!  I love ’em.  It shows that mad hairy Glasgow drunken fools can have a laugh — and entertain.

[embedded video “Down Down” on]

Fin has his own YouTube channel —, and Rumproast has quite a few of the videos —