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Saturday, January 29, 2011

An original birthday song... for you

Okay, I just came up with this today. I was supposed to play this birthday party tomorrow but the dad called to say that his daughter was running a high fever and that they'd had to cancel the event. Very sad. Seriously! We've had a lot of sick birthdays in my house. I hate 'em!

I decided to record a special version of "Happy Birthday" for the sick birthday girl and post it on my YouTube channel. Then it occurred to me that lots of kids would probably like to have their own version of "Happy Birthday" to sing with at home. I decided to record a version with the birthday girl's name as well as the names of a few other kids whose birthdays are coming up.

Being a prudent independent musician, however, I first checked to see if "Happy Birthday" was in the public domain. It's not (not until 2030).

So I scrapped the whole idea. Until later today when I was walking around a brand-new original birthday song came to me...

That song is now on YouTube in three versions. If your name happens to be "Paula" or "Grandma," you're in luck. If your name is something else, try the third link here: in this one I just mouth some silent gibberish that you can fill in with your name.

Paula, It's Your Birthday

Grandma, It's Your Birthday

It's Your Birthday

Or you can write me and I'll make a new video using your name. People around the world with your same name will thank you! (or perhaps curse you)


Friday, January 7, 2011

Support Dees pal Roy Nathanson's students

Dees collaborator and guest star Roy Nathanson teaches in a NYC public school when he's not touring the world with the Jazz Passengers or doing sessions with folks like Debbie Harry and Elvis Costello. As you might imagine, his student band is pretty awesome, much better than most grown-up acts I see.

The band is taking a big trip overseas soon. They're having a show tonight to raise money. And of course they've got a Kickstarter page. Here's Roy's letter about all of it:

Hi Folks -
The wonderful High School band and songwriting group that I teach at Institute for Collaborative Education is invited to go along with "Sotto Voce" to play at the Gateshead International Jazz Festival in Newcastle/Gateshead in March. They'e been working for a year on this, writing and arranging some great new subway songs. Everything at the festival is covered but we are working to raise the airfare for those families who have trouble paying the whole deal. So we have a kickstarter page:

You can either donate at the site or come to our big benefit gig this friday Jan 7th at 6pm at Rose Music Live in Williamsburg. I'll be playing there as well. You can buy tickets for the event at the kickstarter site as well.

Thanks and have a happy new year

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Our NYC musical: Phase One

On Saturday we're going to try out songs from our musical, Major Deegan, How Ya Feelin'? It's a show that follows the Deedle Deedle Dees on a typical / fantastical day as they deal with cranky drivers, nutty public school administrators, sidewalk philosophers, and other New York City characters on their way to multiple shows. The Dees stop their journey frequently to sing about the history of the places they're passing through -- and are often aided in their storytelling by important people from the past who conveniently make appearances to offer their side of things.

It's a huge undertaking so we're putting it together in pieces. To start, we're just going to be playing programs of the show's songs (many of which you already know) as concerts. Then, as we finish the filmed and live elements of the show, we'll start adding more layers -- and of course inviting you to come watch as we stumble through...

This Saturday (Jan 8) we're doing a selection of songs from the production for our monthly variety show. Audience participation will be strongly encouraged and if you come early, we might ask you to take part in the show. (Come early! We want you to be in the show!) If you it seems like you and/or your kids might be a good fit for these performances, we might even ask you to take part in a more elaborate staging in the (hopefully) near future.

See you Saturday!

The Deedle Deedle Dees present
a concert version of
Major Deegan, How Ya Feelin'?
an original musical about NYC
this Saturay, January 8th
Knitting Factory
361 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY