Thursday, February 12, 2015

Personal dispatch #15

This is a dispatch from SarahJane Gembara. As you will see below, SarahJane was without the use of her D and A guitar strings when she performed this cover. Impressive! Equally arresting is how much fun she has with the vocals: She occasionally modifies Van Morrison's lyrics, inserts little theatrical pauses, gleefully stretches out particular words while repeating others machine gun-like. Here is what SarahJane had to say about her background as well as what went into recording her cover.
So my name is SarahJane Gembara (or SJ) and I'm from Brookfield, Illinois. I'm 20 years old and have been messing around with a guitar since seventh grade. When I went away to college, I left my brother my old guitar and got myself a little used children's guitar which did me well for a while. The D and A strings eventually broke and I didn't touch it for a while. One day I was dancing around my dorm to the song "Astral Weeks" (a common occurrence) and I suddenly had a strong desire to play it myself. So I made the most of the limited strings and the cover you happened upon is the product. There were a handful of songs I would play at the time using only the bottom three strings of my guitar. I used to play it on piano occasionally, but I rarely had a piano available so the guitar version ended up being stronger.

To record, I used a really nifty handheld audio recorder that I had checked out for a film class I was in at the time (I couldn't tell you exactly what it was.) I recorded it sitting at the desk in my dorm about a year and a half ago and just uploaded it to the Soundcloud account my friend convinced me to make awhile back.

I've done a little singing for friends who make music but I've never performed by myself. I truly love making music and have written a little, but I definitely do it for myself more than anything. I don't really know what drove me to record my version of "Astral Weeks." I hadn't recorded anything before and haven't since. I'm honestly shocked that it got any attention at all. I'm flattered!

I'm a huge Van Morrison fan! I was raised on Moondance and discovered the magic and wonder of Astral Weeks myself in high school. I absolutely love how visual his lyrics are. "Between the viaducts of your dreams." I don't even know how to explain how beautiful that line is to me. His soulful self is strong, yet the album is still light, wispy, and magical. Any mix I make for anyone, something off Astral Weeks will always make the cut.

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