Friday, July 29, 2016


When things get too familiar, too routine, too repetitious, too obsessive, too frustrating, or too whatever, I like to try something that gives me a kick but doesn't necessarily lead anywhere or mean anything except a momentary YES!

Singing is like that for me - not serious singing, not proper singing, just fun. Songs I love, done my way. Best fun of all is concocting a different musical background for a well-known song (I use Garage Band) and singing over it. I recorded a few of these 'covers' and probably uploaded some in past blog posts but I don't remember when or where.

I must thank Roderick whose recent attempts to post a sound recording of his own voice led to my proposing variously convoluted techy options but the problem was finally solved by commenter MikeM who suggested a very straightforward solution. I've now used picosound myself to post two recordings.....

(Click on the titles to hear the clips)

1.  Nat's No Regrets  (Je Ne Regrette Rien)

2.  Nat's Cucuru  (Cucurucucu Paloma)


Allan Lloyd said...

Wow. Thanks, Natalie, for the picosong link. I've just joined the game and uploaded one of my own song demos:

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Terrific! Many thanks. You sound a bit like Bob Dylan but also quite different. Were you doing this professionally? Is this song on a CD? Why not put it on Youtube, I mean with you playing it? And please post the lyrics - I'd like to see them since my hearing isn't great.

Vincent said...

This is magnificent, Natalie. Such an appealing voice, so strong and sure in Cucuru, so vulnerable in Je Ne Regrette Rien. They make me want to play them again and again, but the accompaniment, to my perhaps old-fashioned ear, is too loud and strident. A simple workaround it seems to me would be to alter the balance: voice more foreground, the rest turned down very low. Which raises the question of what kind of karaoke kit was used. Anyhow, I merely give a layman’s opinion on all these matters.

And I wonder if you have been hiding your light under a bushel all these years. I can’t believe that a voice like that could have lain undiscovered all these years.

Allan Lloyd said...

Hi again, Natalie. First, let me say what I meant to include in my original response, that I enjoyed your songs, especially 'Nat's Cucuru', although I agree with Vincent about the balance of the mixes. As for my effort, it was just a homemade demo, and no, no Youtube for me. I'm a bit private about this kind of thing, and only included the url as a kind of 'thank you' to you. But here, as requested, are the words:

You can say what you want, oh but I understand
You can say what you want, I am wise to your scam
You can say what you want, you can blame me and taunt me
And lie, criticise and demand
You can say what you want, but it ain't what I got in my plan

You can say what you want, see if I give a damn
You can say what you want, I will find my own happiness just as I am
Only me, but that's good enough if I'm free to live and to love
And believe I can be what I'm dreaming of

You don't know what I want, you don't hear what I say
You don't know what I want, you don't care anyway
You don't know what I want's not a token response
To my prayers and despairs and my pain
You don't know what I want, but you throw me some promises
Hoping I'm gonna see only your way

But I'm me, and that's good enough if I'm free to live and to love
And believe I can be what I'm dreaming of
Let me be what I want

In a world full of need and anger and greed it is so hard to see where I stand
But I'll follow my creed and take my own lead and go on to be all I can
All I am

Let me be what I want, nothing more, nothing less
Let me be what I want, I assure you there'll never be any regrets
Coz I'm me, and that's good enough if I'm free to live and to love
And believe I can be what I'm dreaming of
Only me, etc, rpt...

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Vincent, thanks very much. I agree absolutely that I should lower the volume of the music in both those recordings, I just haven't got round to doing it yet but I will and then re-post them. I don't use any karaoke kit, I do it all with Garage Band (an application that's built into the Mac). The original songs don't have the musical accompaniment I gave them; I made those up, like a collage, with bits of instrumental loops.
I've never been a 'proper' singer but when I was married, Reg played the guitar and we used to perform a whole repertoire, in English, Spanish and French, at parties or at the occasional folk club. I'll still do my thing now and then, if asked, or just for myself. I can carry a tune but am totally untrained, too impatient and/or lazy to take lessons.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

FM, many thanks to you too, and I much appreciate reading your lyrics - it's a good song and sounds as if it comes from the heart. Did you write/play many more songs? I hope you'll be posting some more via picosong.

Sometimes I wish I'd taken up music, song-writing/performing, but one life just isn't enough to do all that onewould like to do.

Roderick Robinson said...

For ages I believed the line, Je ne regrette rien, could only be encompassed with a French throat. Too many damn Rs. Then I discovered it was in the present not the future tense (one R fewer) and things got slightly easier, though not easy. Listening to your version - much less nasal than Piaf's - I finally got the hang of it: seven syllables, all elided, all equally stressed. Presumably all squeezed into one bar though I can't be sure about that. Now, for the first time ever I've managed to sing it satisfactorily to myself, noting how Rien de Rien acts as a verbal springboard to the line that follows. But I'm not reaching for the microphone; the song still needs to sound as if it's emerging from one corner of a mouth occupied at the other corner by a Gitane. And you manage this impeccably.

In the end I believe most amateurs sing for themselves. Various people have suggested I join a choir. I don't rule it out but it might mean having to sing stuff I don't like, G&S for instance. What matters to me is the journey of discovery, learning to sing provides technical evidence about why certain songs are as good as they are; I no longer have to depend wholly on difficult-to-articulate emotional reaction.

I only recently realised I've been spelling your name incorrectly. Or perhaps it's you that's at fault. Don't you think the added h is classy? More French?

Delighted to see FigMince has woken up from his slumbers.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Roderick, "Nathalie" is in fact correct, it's how my name was spelled at birth and still is in France. But I dropped the h somewhere along the way, don't know why, and now I'm h-less. If you say that quickly it sounds like "ageless", which is fine by me.

Thanks for listening to my recordings. Will improve them. Oui, there's a lot of rrrrs rrrolling about quand je ne rregrrette rrrien and I'm glad my version was helpful to your pronunciation. My throat must be at least half Gallic since that's where it originated but no Gauloises were ever inhaled.

Did you like my Cucurucucu?

Anonymous said...

What fun! I might try exploring these resources myself.

I like "momentary yeses" too. Perhaps, to a similar end, I need a big lump of Plastascene!

Allan Lloyd said...

Hi yet again, Natalie. I write lots of instrumental music using Logic on Mac (the basis for Apple's GarageBand), and since you introduced me to Picosong, I've started uploading. Here are a few links so far:

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Dominic, yes it certainly is fun. Do upload some of yours and let us know the links.

FigMince,thanks! Will listen today.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

FigMince, I like "Wondering Why" best, lovely melody and arrangement, just crying out for lyrics! It would be fun to try putting words to it, if you haven't already done so? I'm willing to have a go, if you agree? Just as a challenge as I've never tried this before.Send me an email?
endapress AT blueyonder DOT co DOT uk

I liked your other compositions too - they're like film music or would be good with video visuals (sorry, I always think visually).

I did attempt to compose some songsa few years back when I took an evening class in keyboard but have now forgotten everything. Still like fooling around in garage Band and also took a one-day workshop in Logic which was very enjoyable but the software is too expensive to buy. Will find the one experioment I did with logic and put it on picosong.

Allan Lloyd said...

Go for it, Natalie. I originally called the piece 'Wondering Why' because I felt it as a song sung by someone wondering why his/her lover had left, but I've never got past a few half-baked attempts at lyrics for it. (Mind you, the story goes that Paul McCartney wrote a melody that he called 'Scrambled Eggs' until he replaced those opening words with 'Yesterday', so anything's possible.)

Unfortunately I upgraded my OSX a few months ago, and belatedly found that my old-ish Logic didn't work with the new system (same with my old Photoshop, grrrrr) and new versions don't come cheap when you're enjoying the benefits of relatively impecunious retirement, so I can't open the original file to provide you with a mix sans the lead melody guitar that you'd be able to lay a vocal over. But you're more than welcome to play with the song.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

FM, I know just what you mean about upgrading OSX and then finding most of my software no longer works. It's the most (if not the only) infuriating thing about Apple's tactics and a deliberate plot to force customers to buy new stuff. I sometimes get around this by devious means as I too can't afford to buy new software versions (which, in any case, are generally not as good as the earlier ones!)

I'll try some lyric experiments with your "Wondering Why"- probably by importing it to Garage Band - but it may take a while. Thanks for humouring me! Will keep you informed.

Davoh said...

"no regrets" O, remembering "the little sparrow' Piaf?

Davoh said...

and while am here .. was reading the online Australian version of the 'Guardian' newslink and the subject of Jaques Brel came up.
Long story, but if anyone is interested - there is an online film version of the American Theatre production of -
"Jaques Brel is alive and living in Paris".
Highly recommended (by me?). Anyhoo, there is an image of Jaques Brel himself vocalising ... Nikita pa??? can't spell the French - "if you go away"

Davoh said...

O, Natalie. my laptop thingo does not have the technics (speakers, audio facility) to give me full understanding of listening to your songs. Once upon a time was an 'audio engineer' and is somewhat frustrating when tinsy, tinny audio on this laptop does not allow me the 'full spectrum' experience.

Davoh said...

Natalie, am only Australian. The only language that knew as a child, was polyglot English, with a bittuva slang Aussie.

There are times when i do regret not traveling to, and through Europe learning the languages and dialects - but my country is the country my parents and grandparents were born in .. This island continent Australia is a peculiar place - and probably the last place so far where 23 million people can almost control it's culture ... slipping away, slipping away ...

Have been watching "commercial" TV here ... Sheesh, how many cars, buildings, people - can Hollywood destroy?

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Hi Davoh - Jacques Brel was one of my favourite singers and some of his songs are among those I sang in my amateur repertoire, including "Ne Me Quitte Pas" which actually means "Don't leave me" and not, as it mis-translated in the English version "If you go away".
Sorry you can't hear my little recordings on your computer but they're only a bit of fun. If you've got a CD player I could send you a disk if you want to email me your address. my email is on my website:

Davoh said...

Natalie, i grew up in a country where guns were only used to "knock of the rabbits" to feed the dogs. Where a 'disagreement' became a shouting match .. then "pushing and shoving" .. then perhaps a "biffup behind the pub" - but there were always witnesses.

The use of firearms for personal problems were never part of my understanding.

Ans if any American claims 'O, the right to bear arms. it's in our constitution' - would ask them to re-read it. Firstly the 'second amendment reads
"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Whatever happened to the notion of a "Well regulated militia"?
Also, bear in mind that this was written when the most 'up-to-date' weapon was a flintlock rifle .... !!??

Davoh said...

Ooops, apologies Natalie - self sort of drifted off onto an irrelevant hobby horse ...

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Yes I wondered why you brought up guns. I'm totally anti-gun myself so the American gun craziness is beyond my understanding.

Davoh said...

Natalie - have several philosophical annoyances - bear with me - and one of them is why females plaster their faces with hundreds of dollars worth of chemicals in the attempt to be "beautiful".
Natalie, cutting a long rant short - beauty comes from 'within'.
As am sure that you have discovered.
So. would you mind if i think that you are 'beautiful'?

Davoh said...

O, apologies, have been reading yer comments - um, languages.Am fascinated by the very subtle use of the tongue. Did once upon a time, work as a stage actor. Could, almost get my tongue around a sort of lilting "Irish" accent (though was told that that was unreal - there's a difference between Dublin, Belfast and Galway .. meh).

Can almost achieve the 'glottal stop' of East End London cockney; but would never convince a local .. heh.

Davoh said...

And yep, Natalie, there's a 9 or 10 hour 'time' difference - which also fascinates me. What do we really believe about "Time". heh. cheers.

Catalyst said...

My god, the talent that is hidden on the internet, only to emerge when someone (you, Natalie) persuades it. I've thoroughly enjoyed this.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Bruce, lots of talent, yes. There will be more to come.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Davoh, of course I don't mind being considered beautiful! As for your 'philosophical' annoyances, I suggest you discard them along with any other unecessary baggage. Travel light, that's a good philosophy!