There are some inventions so perfect and unlikely that their inception can only be put down to a moment of pure genius. For example, who was it who first stood on beach, looked down at the sand and thought, “You know, I reckon if we melt that down we could see through that.”? And who was it that got so bored one winter’s evening that they went rummaging through the tool shed and decided to play a saw with a violin bow and created a ghostly wail. Luckily for us they did as musical saw and ukulele make a near perfect combination.
The British electronic music scene isn’t the first place you’d expect to find a saw and ukulele player but the entire genre can be justified for producing one, Mara Carlyle. Carlyle has appeared on records by Plaid and Matthew Herbert. Her scene stealing vocals quickly earned her a record deal. She released her debut album, The Lovely (sadly not a Debbie McGee concept album), in 2004 and the fantastically named EP I Blame Dido a year later.
But she first came to to my notice with her uke and saw version of Jamie Lidell’s Game for Fools (which appeared on his album of remixes Muliply Additions). The original version of the song is an Otis Reading style but from Carlyle’s version you’d think it was written for ukulele. It’s a masterclass in ukeing up song.