Wednesday, June 06, 2007
glisten: son of tofu hut
Son of Tofu Hut is a collaboration with The King Open School of Cambridge, Massachusetts. King Open is a mix of races, ethnicities, social class and nationalities; a melting pot of opinions and perspectives. I've been sending discs of music to King Open to have them played to a class of seventh and eighth graders; the kids give them a listen once or twice and then write a brief critique of what they've heard. I'll be compiling their responses to present you with music, links (when available) and lightly edited (spelling and obvious typing errors are corrected, grammar and slang is not) teenagers' responses.
Jake Shimabukuro - 'Heartbeat / Dragon
John sez: In addition to being a grand virtuoso, Jake Shimabukuro is one of the nicest and most completely genuine people I've ever met. I've seen him play live three times now and he's absolutely floored me every time.
I was first exposed to Jake when I did a capsule review for his album, Dragon. I was struck by how much I wanted to listen to the man on the uke play solo and ditch the modern jazz production that mucked up his fascinating intricate fingering. You can imagine how overjoyed I was to discover that his readily available on the internet live shows generally consisted of Jake with an amplified uke and nothing but.
Gently Weeps, which Heartbeat/Dragon hails from, is an entirely acoustic album and, while it makes for an interesting listen, it simply can't compare to the exhilarating experience of seeing Jake live. If he ever comes to your town, don't miss him.
Student 1: Boring. The begining is too long and sounds like old fashioned chinese music. I dont like it. It is boring and... god, it is boring. Very asian-ish and very boring.
Student 2: The song sounds like some one is very sad. It makes me want to cry because it gets me into a really deep thinking point. I am happy this song has no singing in it because singers would mess up my train of thought. If i were really sad or was bored, I might actually listen to this song. I really like it. Wow, I can't believe this song is played on a ukulele, oh my god!!!!! But I still like this song.
Student 3: This sounds like a traditional Asian song. I would listen to it to relax. This guy is really talented. I like the sound of the heartbeat in the beginning.
LISTEN 2 A JAKE FULL-LENGTH LIVE SHOW
BUY 'Gently Weeps' direct from Jake
Student 4: The instrument in this song is lovely but it has too much of the same beat at the start. It's like a song that you would listen to if you wanted to cry because it sounds so sad.
Student 5: This sound like a person is going to a open mic stage to perform and that person is just bobbin' his head back and forth.
Student 6: At first it sounds like a heartbeat and then it sounds like an Asian beat, but then it gets more clear and has different kinds of beats to it. I think the beginning is just too long. Can't it just get to the singing part, like oh my god its wasting my time. Anyways it sounds kind of calming in one way then fun and move-y in another way. I like the different beats it has to it, like it's pulling one way then another. It seems like a song you would meditate to.
WATCH JAKE PLAY DRAGON LIVE
Student 7: This song is very relaxing. I feel like I am in a life-sized zen garden. It sounds happy and remindes me of "A Princess Bride" (that movie is also great). It sounds as if fairies and elves are playing the harp (I know, that was cheesey, but it's true). The beginning of the song really does sound like a heartbeat. The ukulele is beautiful! I didn't know it could sound so relaxing!
Student 8: This song is very calming, something that you would listen to when you need to relax. I think that the maker of this song is trying to get you to come out of your shell and express yourself. It reminds me of rippling water.
Student 9: The beginning sounds like someone walking down a hall where they're not supposed to be at, maybe in a Chinese Garden. It's very repetitive and calming, but it's slow going. It needs some words. After awhile, it's getting boring and kind of giving me a headache. There are very few notes and then it goes into chords. I think this would be a nice song to go to bed to.
LISTEN 2 THE NPR INTERVIEW
LISTEN 2 MY INTERVIEW WITH JAKE
Student 10: VERY BORING. I NEED WORDS A.S.A.P. IT MAKES ME THINK OF WHY PEOPLE KILL THEMSELVES.
Student 11: I like the heartbeats in the beginning. The ukulele is nice and peaceful. It reminds me of some kind of Asian mixed with Western music. I like it, because it's not too happy and not too depressing. The music reminds me of music from this game on the web I played. It sounds like the kind of music used for foreign, graceful dances.
Student 12: I really like this song. At first it kind of sounds Asian, but then towards the middle it just sounds like cool acoustic "noodling", as some people call it. It makes me want to dance. It also makes me want to sing along, despite the fact that there are no words. It kind of reminds me of raindrops. At first it's light, but then towards the middle of the song/storm it gets heavy and frantic, but even with the frantic-ness, the song still sounds smooth. I wish I could play guitar like that. Kind of makes me think of that guy, I forget his name, but he was a gypsy and he only had two fingers but he was an amazing guitar player. It kind of sounds like that man mixed with Hawaii.
JAKE PLAYS KAMAKA UKULELES
If you'd like to leave any questions or comments for me or for any of the students who are helping contribute to the Tofu Hut, feel free to do so in the comments section, but PLEASE keep the criticism constructive.
Labels: son of tofu hut