An Interview with SJ FEMALE: the Uruguayan Super Junior Cover Group

Last week I had the chance to interview Angela and Melisa, two young sisters from the City of Carmelo that created SJ FEMALE – a group that covers songs by their favorite K-Pop outfit, Super Junior. As you know, I’m, a big fan of manga and anime, so it was easy for me to sympathize with what they were doing – essaying such a genre in a country like Uruguay (where you really can’t look or act differently) is a bold move. And it can also be highly frustrating. Yet, their answers were so full of optimism and hope that I was moved beyond belief when the interview came to an end.

sj female

Who created SJ FEMALE?

SJ FEMALE was founded by Angela Cuello (group leader, artistic name “Lee Kutaka Tiaoca”) and Melisa Cuello (artistic name Rinku).

Where did the idea to make this group come from? Who are your idols, and the people you look up to?

The idea to make this group came from a dream.
Our leader (Angela Cuello) had a fondness for singing, from a very early age. She loved K-Pop, and she was also keen on dancing. On a summer’s day, she set down on paper the idea she had for a group; she wanted to create a cover group of her favorite band, SUPER JUNIOR. She always knew she would not be getting a monetary gain from this. So, she focused on the dream of realizing musical talent while defending interculture and fighting discrimination, she created an international cover group. She gathered girls from all over the world, and chose the voices that could convey the intended message.

Originally, the group was named “RSSSJFO” (Really Summer Song SJ FEMALE Project), and she added her older sister (Melisa Cuello) to the project.  She also invited other friends of her that had a fondness for that music and culture. Angela gathered the singers, classified them, and arranged everything in a way that ensured there was a singer for each member of the original group (SJ).

The group recorded many covers, and when we learned that Super Junior was coming to Argentina on the 23rd of April, we shot a video that was seen all around the world. It came with an English translation, and it revolved around their loved for the band, and how much they lamented not having the money to see their idols perform live.
It was highly frustrating, not being able to go to Buenos Aires when living so close (in Carmelo). Yet, we shed tears of emotion when seeing our idols on TV. It was a short interview, but it was great seeing some recognition come their way in such a foreign territory.

When the summer ended, the group changed shape.  The line-up changed, and so did the name – it became just “SJFEMALE”. The new named signaled that we were moving forward, and went from being just a “project” to an official covers group.

Originally, we recorded on a PC, with nothing but a standard mike that really saturated the sound. Eventually, we struck a deal with a recording studio, and had access to its facilities in exchange for some mentions on our own radio show (see below).

Our idols are Super Junior. They are a K-Pop band, they come from South Korea, and on the whole there are 15 members (including the ones from the Chinese unit). They are Leeteuk (the leader, currently serving conscription), Kangin, Eunhyuk, Kibum (who is into acting), Ryeowook, Siwon, Sungmin, HeeChul (who rejoined the group after serving conscription), Kyuhyun, Hangeng (who’s no longer in the band, but we want to mention him) and Shindong.
SJ was started on the 6th of November, 2005. The band originally had just 12 members, and their first single was entitled “Twins”. Their first line-up included 11 guys from Korea, and 1 member from China. Continue reading

“Infinity” by The Bear Season gets a Symphonic Treatment

The Bear Season

Man, pause your porn and check this out, it’s worth it.
Somebody came up with a symphonic version of The Bear Season’s “Infinity”, and uploaded it to SoundCloud.
The Bear Season! My friends! My precious! They were first covered here, and I have made a point of staying on top of all their latest releases. And (as you probably don’t remember, because not even their groupies read that particular post) my favorite song of theirs is “Infinity”.

This new symphonic version of “Infinity”, now, is the one to harbor in your heart, and rediscover time and again.
If I ever walk away from an exploding building in slow motion, then I want this to be playing in the background.

Check it out, dude, it’s a sweet sweet deal. Like angels’ pay. I can only think of a couple of things that are sweeter.

One is Rocket:

The other is, obviously, Gregorian! They should have been huge! What a shame Enigma took the cake instead!

And then, there’s this version of The Police’s “Fallout”, which is memorable if only because you can’t listen to Sting’s vocals!!

Ha! Ha! Take it, your ego douche!! See what happens for having confiscated half of Stu’s kit away for the recording of “Every Breath You Take”?? Karma has no deadline, my high-pitched friend…
Seriously, what a version from the deepest abyss of hell. Stu has been miked like crap, Andy sounds like he’s making the song up as he goes along (which is highly likely, if you ask me and my monkey), and that solo is the pits! And then, Sting ends up this “stellar performance” by doing a “splenetic jump”. Dude, Pete Townshend is pushing 72, and he bounces around with more flamboyance! Do us a favor, and keep dreaming of blue turtles, will you?

10 Incredible Beatles Covers (Part 2)

Finishing off the series that was started yesterday, on this post you can find 5 Beatles covers that I find either zany or moving. Or both ; )

I hope you like them too, and if there’s any significant cover that you think I’ve missed feel free to share the link on the “Comments” below.

Yesterday (Walk Off The Earth)

I Will (Jasmine)

This Boy (Andrew Lubman)

I Wanna Hold Your Hand (Natalie Hawkins)

Come Together (Sungha Jung)

Young Musician Tanner Patrick Covers Katy Perry’s “Part Of Me” Using His iPad As A Drum Kit

Texan musician Tanner Patrick has just recorded a viral version of Katy Perry's "Part Of Me" using his iPad as a drum kit, and apps like Easy Beats 2 and Pro Tools

I just love these videos that show us what can be done with an iPad and a little imagination. I’ve written about creating music with an iPad and GarageBand before, and I recall a post I wrote about a year to this date about the first music video that was actually shot using an iPad 2. And now, I’d like to share this new viral video with you. It shows Texan musician Tanner Patrick playing the drums on his iPad for a cover of Katy Perry’s latest hit, “Part Of Me”.

On the video (which had 100,000 views in six days) you can see Patrick using an app named EasyBeats on his iPad to set down a basic groove, while he mixes his vocals and other instruments using a digital audio platform known as Pro Tools.

What do you think? Do you ever see yourself doing something similar when it comes to recording your own covers, or even your own demos? Sound off in the comments below, please.

Playing For Change Cover Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground”

Playing For Change

Playing For Change is a collective devoted to bringing music and arts education to underprivileged children in the furthest corners of the world. It became a global phenomenon on the strength of its first release, a cover of “Stand By Me”.

And to mark the very first Playing For Change day ever, this collective has now recorded a cover of Stevie Wonder’s classic track “Higher Ground”.

This is the clip. It features the joint talent of vocalist Clarence Bekker (from the Netherlands) and percussionists from countries as distant as Mali, Senegal, Brazil, Colombia and Jamaica. A 21-string West African bridge-harp is also in evidence.

September the 17th has been designated as the annual Playing For Change day, and the theme of the first one is “Power To The People”. It’s supported by no other than Yoko Ono, and the aim is to raise $250,000 to be able to subsidize the collective’s operations for 2012. Music festivals and personal celebrations have already been announced in all five continents in support of this special day.

Willie Nelson Covers Coldplay’s “The Scientist”

Willie Nelson Has Just Covered Coldplay's "The Scientist" As Part Of An Awareness Campaign For Chiplote

Ask people in South America to name some emblematic country artists, and one they’re sure to mention is Willie Nelson. His long, unstoppable career and his cross-genre collaborations (sometimes with best-selling Latin artists like Julio Iglesias) have made him one of the better-known country musicians in Spanish-speaking countries. And as far as Uruguay is concerned, the composer of “Red Headed Stranger” must be one of the most popular country performers ever along with Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers and Alabama.

I think the video embedded below does nothing but underline the versatility which has made Nelson so popular worldwide. It’s a cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist”, recorded as part of an awareness campaign for Chiplote.

The video (which depicts a farmer who regrets turning his organic farm into a factory farm) has clearly been created to highlight the importance of sustainable food, and also to emphasize the focus on natural, organic products in Chiplote’s restaurants. It’s interesting to point out how this clip (which has been named “Back to the Start”) is similar in approach to Coldplay’s original video, in which everything is told in reverse order.

Willie’s version of “The Scientist” is being sold in iTunes, with $0.60 of each download going straight to the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation.

100 Different Musicians Cover Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog”… In The Same Video!

100 Different Musicians Cover Led Zeppelin In The Same Video... Does The Song Remain The Same?

How many good Led Zeppelin cover bands do you know? One? Two? Three, maybe?

Well, now you can take that number up quite a bit – to one hundred, no less.
Israel-based producer Ophir Kutiel (better-known as Kutiman) has assembled the ultimate Led Zeppelin cover fest by stitching together 100 different cover bands (and individuals) in the same video.

Sounds quite intriguing, huh? Well, the results hold together admirably well.

Check the finished piece. The song is “Black Dog”, from “Led Zeppelin IV”.

Rebbeca Black Is Covered By… Bob Dylan?!

 It Was Only To Be Expected - Rebecca Black Has Begun Getting Covers Of Their Own. But The Actual Quality Of These Covers Has Surprised Everybody.

It Was Only To Be Expected - Rebecca Black Has Begun Getting Covers Of Her Own.

No, not really. What has just happened is that her recent viral hit (“Friday”) has started being parodied/covered by the dozen. And one of these comes from nobody else but a Bob Dylan impersonator that has really been doing his homework.

Here you have the clip. And you can also watch two more remarkable versions below: one that is banjo-driven, and another which has been embedded into the timeless (no pun intended) Groundhog Day .

Bob Dylan

Banjo Version

Groundhog Day

A Contest Will Let One Unknown Band Be Featured On The Cover Of Rolling Stone Magazine

A Battle Of The Bands Will Let One Lucky Winner Be Featured On The Cover Of Rolling Stone Magazine.

A Battle Of The Bands Will Let One Lucky Winner Be Featured On The Cover Of Rolling Stone Magazine.

My, how things change… in the mid-70s, Dr. Hook had to use every trick on the book to be featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Today, the magazine itself is launching a contest that will let one lucky band be featured on the cover of its August issue.

This contest is named after one of The Byrds’ most recognizable tunes (“Do You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star”; Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers do it on the live Pack Up The Plantation disc), and it will let one of twelve unknown bands be featured on the cover of the magazine when the time comes. What’s every bit as important, the band that gets this accolade will also get a contract from Atlantic Records. Continue reading