New video! My version of a true classic – Summertime by George Gershwin

A short background to my version
The classic song is, as you probably know, from the opera Porgy and Bess, by George Gershwin. It was first performed in Boston in 1935 before it moved to Broadway, New York.

I was lucky to be a part of a short summary staging of the opera when I attended a music school in Sweden back in 1992. I had the role of Sportin’ Life and sang the song “There’s a boat that’s leavin’ soon for New York” and ”It ain’t necessarily so”. Sportin’ life was the drug dealer, and possessive lover of Bess the main character. Porgy the other main character wanted to rescue Bess from him…

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Twenty-six years later… I guess it’s about time to do another song from the classic opera
”Summertime”, by far, the most classic and recognizable song from Porgy and Bess. It has been performed by countless of musicians across the globe since 1935 and onwards.

My version is quite short. I present the melody twice, first instrumental with the melody played on my Kala California acoustic-electric fretless Ubass. Then sung and harmonized the second time around. All vocals by yours truly. 🙂

I decided to incorporate my fretting hand tapping plus plucking hand percussive technique that I have used from time to time since 2014.
It all started when playing in the country duo M&M’s Honky Tonk with the great friend and lovely guitar player, Marcus Måttgård. I wanted to add some percussive parts to mimic a drummer and experimented using the body of the Ubass as a percussive acoustic drum.

Recently I started to use a acoustic pickup by Ehrlund microphones to enhance these percussive sounds. Before playing with this technique only really worked in the studio, where I could use a separate mic to pick up the percussive sounds, or in a small intimate live setting where the audience is near the performance.
The pickup is blended with the built in piezo and this makes it possible to play bigger venues and the percussive parts can be heard alongside the tapped bass part. More about this in a later blog post!

Besides the core parts of bass line/percussion played and recorded live on a small dock by the lake Storsjön in Jämtland, Sweden I added vocals and, for the first time in any of my videos, ukulele parts!

I hope you will enjoy my version of the Gershwin classic!

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New video! Eva Stenström Limited ”Allt under himmelens fäste”

Eva Stenström | Magnus Sjöquist | Daniel Björnmo

This song is a traditional folk tune from Gotland, Sweden. Eva and I started playing it as a duo on our trip to Brazil back in 2015. We wanted to bring some examples of traditional Swedish folk music on our trip. To make it work in a ubass and vocals setting I played the bass part through a delay pedal. I thought the extra rhythmic motion we got using this technique really helped us capture and deliver the haunting melody in a great way. I use a combination of arpeggios, chords and regular bass lines in my bass part.

In the trio version Daniel Björnmo adds an extra layer of color with his world class guitar playing. The added grit with close cluster like harmony through distortion pedals makes the song even more ethereal and haunting, I think. The ubass have some added modulation and octave up effects blended together with the delay.

This is a live in studio recording but we also added some percussion parts. I played some suspended cymbal swells.

You can also hear what we call ”the submersed gong”. This is a gong gong that we recorded as it is put under water after it is played. This bends the sound in a very nice way. I first heard this on records and live with one of my musician heroes, Indian percussionist, Trilok Gurtu.

We really hope you will enjoy our version of this Swedish’s folk song!

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For the best listening experience please listen to this song with good headphones or speakers that can reproduce a wide frequency spectrum!




Playing classic Swedish pop on the Ubass!

Hi again!
I just got home from two great gigs. This weekend I’ve been playing concerts featuring music by Ted and Kenneth Gärdestad. Ted has been one of the most celebrared Swedish pop artists and has even been said to be the best Swedish artist of the 20th century!

These concerts features his music and we are lucky to have Kenneth Gärdestad (Teds brother and the lyricist of all the songs) telling their story between songs. The guitarist on most of the original recordings, Janne Schaffer (know for his work with ABBA), is also featured on these concerts. And the great Erik Linder sang lead vocals on some of the songs!

I decided to use my Kala UBass on a couple of the tunes. As usual it worked like a charm! I will do a style/song lesson of one or two of the songs from the concerts soon!

Joining me in the band is good friends Fredrik Kjellgren, piano/organ; Gunnar Hjorth, guitars; Oscar Eriksson, drums and me on Kala UBass, a fretless Rob Allen and my trusty old Ares 5-string bass.

This concept was the idea of more good friends; Magdalena Eriksson (featured singing lead on a couple of songs) and conductor of the choir Krister Kallin. (We studied at the Orebro University together!)

Stay tuned for the lessons!

Please check out the links below for more info on Ted, Kenneth, Janne and Erik!

Ted Gärdestad
Kenneth Gärdestad
Janne Schaffer
Erik Linder

Janne Schaffers red Larrivee guitar and my UBass!
Gunnar, Fredrik and Oscar - the band!
Janne Schaffer during his solo guitar spot!