Tag Archives: ukulele

Traditional Music — Because I Love Christmas — O Come All Ye Faithful

So remember in the last post when I said I hated most Christmas music? That must not be construed with me hating Christmas in general. I actually LOVE Christmas. I know there were so many negative overtones to the holiday spirit in the last post, but really… I mean come on, can’t I be a traditionalist and cynic at the same time?

I grew up in the tradition of celebrating Christ–rather than Winter–on Christmas day, so you can see from whence my negative and sordid attitude comes toward camps that glorify gift-giving and merriment solely because “it’s the holidays.”

In the spirit of the real meaning of Christmas (and I mean this in the real Christian way, not the overly-done 1960s crappy animatronic Rudolph way), I present to thee a cover of my favorite Christmas song, O Come All Ye Faithful. Don’t let me get too sappy here, but I believe this song is a truly great composition that commemorates the most basic tenets of the Christian foundation. This cover does the same, but it does so in a very modern and alternative way that I think Christmas lovers–Christian or otherwise alike–will enjoy. That is, you don’t have to be Catholic or protestant to enjoy this great piece of music.

Having grown up in the church, you’d think that I’ve heard every possible version of every Christmas song ever, but this song proves us all wrong. Pomplamoose Music (which you’ve seen here before with their cover of Mrs. Robinson by Simon and Garfunkel) takes some very creative steps with this version of a Christmas carol. They introduce the accordion and ukulele to a genre primarily dominated by piano, choir, and orchestra, and the entire song is complemented with a steady percussive beat. However, their alternative steps don’t stray too far from the original tradition. They include a totally a capella interlude that reminds me of the choirs I heard on the stereo on Christmas morning every year, complete with angelic harmonies. Enjoy here:

This song, according to wikipedia (yeah, that’s probably accurate) has unclear beginnings, but here’s one American icon singing this song:
Nat King Cole singing O Come All Ye Faithful” on YouTube.

Estelle — American Boy

As an American expat, I really like this song, American Boy, by Estelle (feat. Kanye West)–it makes me feel sexy just for being American. On top of that, I like the original because it’s got a catchy beat, melody, and bass line.

The covers today very much reinterpret the original song–again, they cast it in an acoustic, string-heavy composition, which is a big change from the original electronically produced song.

I searched for a lot of covers of this song, and I like this first one the most. It’s from a youtuber called jmiclovesyou. What I like most about this song is that they include Kanye’s rapping in the cover, because most of the youtube covers kind of gloss over that part. Secondly, I really like that there are multiple parts: two strings, multiple singers, tambourine, etc. Not to mention that one of the strings is a ukulele! Even though they aren’t exactly 100% accurate on all the lyrics and parts, this one wins major creativity points in my book. Watch here, then check out the youtube page:

I think the next video, by youtube artist MJBBOY, flows more smoothly and shows technical skill, but unfortunately he skips out on the rapping. This is not a huge problem for me, as I enjoy listening to the melody and the way that he casts the chord progression on his guitar. He also covers one of my favorite songs by The Decemberists, “Eli the Barrow Boy,” so I think it’s worth checking out his page. Here’s the vid:

Be sure to check out these guys on youtube.

And, here’s Estelle’s original: Estelle feat. Kanye West on YouTube (warning: you may have to confirm your birth date in some jurisdictions)