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.
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.