Ukulele Guy and The Decemberists (Huh?)

Alright, the title might have been slightly misleading, but stay with me.  You see, roughly 6-7 years ago, a good friend of mine, Andy Smetanka, made a video for The Tain, by the Decemberists.  The Tain is basically the Irish Beowulf and the Decemberists' version of it is nearly 20 minutes long, so this thing is pretty much a freaking epic in every possible way.  Anyway, you should definitely watch the whole video, the animation will blow your mind.  Especially when you realize that Andy did it all by hand.  Yup, he painstakingly cut paper with an X-acto knife and filmed all the action frame by frame using an old super 8 camera.

What does this have to do with Ukuleles, you might ask?  Hang on, I'm getting there.  If you've ever seen any of Andy's other videos you'll notice that the credits are often as long as (sometimes longer) than the actual video.  And, usually there is some rad music underneath.  This video for The Tain was no exception and that's where I (and to a much greater part, many of my friends) came into the picture.

A big group of us used to meet once a week for something we called The Sharing Shack.  Basically it was like a potluck but the hosts of the potluck would have to teach everyone something or involve everyone in some sort of artistic project.  So, you might all come over to my house and I'd teach everyone candle making while my wife would teach stained glass.  Or, maybe we'd all head over to someone's house to do light painting or tamale making.  Frankly, I can't remember when I had so much free time and I often think back wistfully to these days.

Anyway, at one particular Sharing Shack hosted at my house, Andy wanted us to all help him make the music that would go under the credits of The Tain video he was working on.  So, the whole gang brought all manner of instruments and we got to work.  If you aren't going to watch the whole video (shame on you) then you can start at 19:10 and hear our interpretation of The Tain.  I engineered this recording and played ukulele.  Lots of other people contributed as well, thankfully there are credits for the credits, so you can read about all that.  My wife and (at the time) 6 month old son are also listed in the credits.  Enough gabbing, here goes!

Missoula, Montana… and BEER!

Andy Smetanka posted a link to a video today that I figured I could get away with re-posting here. For one, I just need to start posting again (stupid real life getting in the way of my blogging) and for another, I'm actually playing Ukulele in the music of this video.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself.  Andy is a long-time friend and full-time Renaissance man.  I met him around 1997 or so when he was fronting Humpy, a great Missoula hardcore band.  If you've seen any Volumen videos, then you've seen his work before.  He made videos for Sexy Astronaut, Snakes and Lost in the Baltics.  Heck, he's even made videos for The Decemberists.  Heck, he even officiated my wedding, if you can believe that.

This particular video was made for Big Sky Brewing, a local Missoula Brewery.  However, the music that's featured in the video was recorded, I think, for another project.  I think he was making a Tolkien-inspired video for Le Force.  This music was supposed to be for the Hobbit's merry-making and whatnot, I think?  Anyway, besides me on the Ukulele, Al Pils is on the jawharp and I think Bryan Ramirez and a few other folks (Andy as well) are stomping, snapping, etc.  I'm actually a little surprised that there is no musical saw in this song because Andy is also the king of musical saw, if you can believe that.

Oh, hang on!  I just found a link for the Le Force video as well.  I'm probably stretching it by including this video here, but hay, it does have some ukulele in the beginning. 😉  Besides, the video is freaking RAD!