We recently featured The Beatles Complete On Ukulele as a member’s choice (actually my own webmaster’s choice on my birthday!) and were delighted when German musician, Christian Jahl, agreed to write us this guest article about his experience working on the project and his music. Jeanette
How did you get involved with The Beatles Complete On Ukulele?
I joined the project in 2009 after listening to a radio show about David Barratt´s idea of producing each Beatles track newly with the uke as lead instrument. That sounded so weird to me that I got in touch with David via mail. After he had heard my music, we got on well together and so I started recording Wenn Du Jemanden Brauchst. That version from the video footage was recorded in my hometown Düsseldorf, which you might know as the city where the German pop avant-garde band Kraftwerk comes from, and New York. David got my tracks with guitars, Wurlitzer and vocals and he and Roger [Greenawalt] added uke, bass and some of the effects. So, that’s what I call a real long distance production. I played all instrumental tracks and sung all vocal tracks.
Why did you pick If I Needed Someone? Was it a particular favourite song?
George Harrison has always been such an inspiration to me, his character and his way of seeing things in general. So I picked up one of his beautiful songs, with a melody that is really catchy and in some strange way “endless”. I listened endlessly to If I Needed Someone when I was a teen. Everybody used to ask me why I was listening to that “old crap”. Harrison was also the one who led me to the ukulele. Once he said, he always had a uke on him to be able to play wherever he was. That sounded reasonable to me. This instrument is like a little orchestra in your pocket, wow!! I always enjoy playing it and am happy about the renaissance it has experienced lately.
Please tell us a little about yourself and your music.
Since my youth I’ve played in various bands and had my first “gig” at the age of 9 at primary school which was quite a big adventure at that time. But I really started playing music five years later after listening to the Let It Be album, especially Two Of Us, which affected me so much. Later I studied classical guitar and musicology, produced songs, played for several productions and worked with a music publisher in Cologne and London. At this moment I am establishing the label Smiling Lizard Music with my partners, which plans to publish and produce music in different ways and for many channels. It will also run a webpage for music knowledge, theory, exercises and so on. We are working on all that and hope to go on-line by February 2013.
The digital version of my new album Café Deutschland is out now. My music mixes rock, pop and Latin with German lyrics that are sometimes ironic, sometimes critical and sometimes serious. It is available on all platforms on the net. So, there´s a lot of work at this moment.
Thank you very much for your comments, Christian, and good luck with your new music label. If you are ever back over in London, please do come and join us for one of our PLUC club nights.
It´s great to have some new connections in the UK. I haven´t been there for a couple of years now and I sometimes miss London very much. For me it´s one of the best cities in the world. If there are any possibilities in the future, I will come over to play along with you on the uke. It would be a pleasure for me!