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1 January 2013

Ancora un Pò

One of the projects I've had up my sleeve for a while has been to do a cover of Enzo e il Cattivo Tempo's beautiful Ancora un Pò. I've threatened that I might do it on a number of occasions without ever having tried to play the song. Actually, the bit I was most worried about was reproducing the lyrics; I don't speak a word of Italian and the song is completely in Italian! :-O Am I losing my tiny mind!?!?! Ha ha... I think that I am!

King Uke and the Bad Weather

I spoke with Enzo of ECT about my harebrained scheme and he was supportive if a little scared. He kindly went to the trouble of writing down the lyrics for me! Thank you Enzo. Unfortunately, even with your fantastic assistance, I wasn't able to get the words quite right. I sent Enzo a mix to listen to and asked him how I'd done. Enzo's response had me laughing... "something is wrong but it certainly is successful, bravo!" I am sooooo sorry for all my Italian friends out there. Now you know how our Hawaiian brothers felt when I butchered Hawai'i 78. Ha ha.

(c) Enzo Azzara

I had big plans for this being a minimalistic uke version. There is uke in the final mix, but I just wasn't happy with the sound I was getting. I also wanted to do something a little bit different to the original. My version is different, but not in the way I'd hoped.

I've stuck pretty close to the original arrangement. Enzo and Peppe have a lot more variation in pacing and playing style in their version with missing beats and all sorts of traps for the unwary. I dispensed with all that which simplified things a lot for me, but I think by doing that I may also have lost some of the magic. However... on the plus side... if you know the original, then my version is going to catch you out every now and again! Aha!

Predominantly, what you hear in my version is one acoustic guitar supported by simple bass. Mixed really low is also one soprano ukulele. You might catch it here and there, but most of the time I think it is subliminally low. The riff of the intro and the Hawaiian-like embellishments in the verses were done using my Kingcaster electric uke with a very clean setting. Actually, everything is very clean. This surprises me; The acoustic tracks were all recorded via mic and with the family in the house, there was a constant rattle of background noise in my headphones. I'm amazed that the end mix is as clear as it is.

Well... there is one bit of background noise that you can hear... I was doing what would end up to be my final take on the vocals and all of a sudden I heard what sounded like machine-gun fire. I'd got all the way to the final chorus. "What on earth are the kids doing?" I was wondering as I quickly decided whether to continue or abandon the take. I almost fluffed it in my shock. Actually, it wasn't machine-guns, but rain! What I could hear was a heavy downpour thundering against the window. Rather than do the vocals again, I've left the rain in the final mix.

Instead of Enzo and the Bad Weather... I present to you King Uke and the Bad Weather! Brilliant!

In the video you can just about see me playing my son's Mahalo Flying V ukulele. That really is a difficult thing to hold and play. The recording was actually done on my prized Barnes and Mullins.

Thank you to Enzo and Peppe for letting me do this song. Please go and give this talented duo your support by buying the original and then you can come back here and tell me off for even considering doing my version. :-)

Update 3-Jan-2013:

I seem to have caused quite a stir with my singing on this tune. On the whole, people seem to be enjoying my failed attempts at Italian. I've even been compared to a gentleman by the name of Shel Shapiro! Ha ha. Enzo of Enzo e il Tempo Cattivo was moved to say the following: "hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah! Your version of Ancora un Po' is already more popular than ours!" I don't believe that for a moment. But... maybe I've missed my vocation? :-D

"King" Shel Shapiro

One final observation...

Think back to Happy Bloody New Year, the tune I penned for Darren from Briz. Check out the lyrics to that song. In the same way that the Mayans predicted the end of the world, I might have been doing a little bit of predicting myself. In particular.... What was I saying about rain?

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