Wookiee Bellydance + Klingon Band

Deserae dancing to “Muaarga” original song in Shyriiwook with music and lyrics by Jon Silpayamanant and performed by the il Troubadore Klingon Music Project

UPDATES:

  • (Oct. 8, 2012) Word of the Nerd Podcast interview with me about the Wookiee Bellydance video!
  • (Oct. 22, 2012) Just signed a release for the usage of the video on Objective Scotland‘s “50 Funniest Moments of 2012” programme to appear on Channel 4 in the UK.

Several months ago Deserae, a wonderful bellydancer dancer I’ve known for years and who I’ve finally had the pleasure to play for about a year ago, decided she wanted to do a performance as a Wookiee bellydancer.  Back in March I recorded an excerpt of what such a Wookiee bellydance tune would sound like.  I pulled some phrases and words from the Star Wars Galactic Phrase Book and Travel Guide and created a sample audio with drums, cello, cow horn and vocals.  I titled it “Muaarga” (the Shyriiwook word for “Peace”) and posted it to my Soundcloud account:

http://soundcloud.com/jon-silpyamanant/muaarga-excerpt

A couple months ago Deserae asked if my band, the il Troubadore Klingon Music Project, could come to Chicago to play for her at an event called “Raks Geek” which took place at the Viaduct Theatre.  Basically billed as a Geek Bellydance event–probably the first “official” type of event dedicated solely to bellydancers and movement artists who happen to be big Sci-Fi and Fantasy fans.  Most of the event on Friday Night (the Saturday Night show was not filmed as far as I know) was filmed by Bob Nicholas.  We ended up playing two tunes for Deserae (as well as short sets before the show and during the intermission) including the Wookiee bellydance tune and a Klingon Opera-Ballet tune (“be’ joy’ luqaSa”) I had written for another dancer a couple of years ago.  Here is the Wookiee performance:

And here is the Klingon Bellydance performance:

Apparently the video has since gone viral.  While the video above, which I’ve posted to my personal youtube account only has some 8,000 hits (earlier yesterday it had roughly 2,500 views) the original video, which was posted here, currently has 130,000+ views (up 15,000 views from yesterday afternoon).

I got an inkling something was afoot on Tuesday when a student I had known from the High School I do cello sectionals and teaching at told me that a video of il Troubadore was on the front page of Reddit, the self titled “Front Page of the Internet.”  Doing a quick search didn’t turn up any videos of il Troubadore mainly due to the fact that it was the Raks Geek video (linked in the previous paragraph) rather than the one on my personal youtube site.

Yesterday morning the Geeks Are Sexy website had posted the video which I found through its facebook page (which has close to 400,000 followers).  Within a couple of hours it was shared over 200 times by various facebook users.  As I was doing searches around the net, I did finally find the Reddit link as well as several other sites, forums/bulletin boards, and blogs which had been posting various links to the video within the past day.  Some of those include sites which report on viral videos (such as Viral Viral Videos; Metatube; Break.com; Viral Kings), news sites (G4TV’s Attack of the Show & Around the Net; MSN Now; Right This Minute; New York Magazine’s Vulture), and other popular internet meme sites (Cheezburger; Know Your Meme; Dlisted).

I’ve had people tell me they’ve seen me on tv as some of the news sights (listed in the previous paragraph) have syndicated their short segments or are associated with more traditional networks.  Someone in Alabama mentioned seeing the Right This Minute clip and Fox 2 news in St. Louis apparently aired an excerpt as part of a segment of Tim’s Take.  ThinkGeek has tweeted it (roughly 600,000 followers) and Jeri Ryan posted it at her Google + page (whether this is the actual Jeri Ryan is unknown to me).

When I conceived of this piece, I wasn’t thinking it would lead to some that could potentially become viral–but I think that’s half of the point I try to make at this blog.  We just don’t have as much control over potential audiences as we would like and more often than not it’s easier to pull from a pre-existing one than to create one anew.  With 140,000 + hits to the video(s)–not including how many folks saw the actual news segments, it will be interesting to see how far the original video goes over the next few days!

_____________________________

Credits for the video:

“Muaarga” (“Peace” in Shyriiwook)
Composed/written by Jon Silpayamanant
Performed by the il Troubadore Klingon Music Project and Deserae
Video by Bob Nicholas
Raks Geek organized by Dawn Xiana Moon

Viaduct Theatre in Chicago, IL

August 3, 2012

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Which Came First, the Music or the Brand?

If you think your music is a difficult sell, try playing a piece of amplified sheet metal. This is me, performing as Noiseman433, in St. Louis (9 May 2003) during the Rotten Piece 2003 Tour. Photo by Carol Kelly.

As I mentioned in a previous post, if you’ve Branded yourself well, then Marketing (to raise awareness about your music) and Selling (to get gigs) should be much easier to do.  Branding is the totality of your public image and having a good Brand is tantamount to making all other aspects of your business move more smoothly.  As Peter Montoya stated (I quoted him in the post above):

Branding happens before marketing or selling; it’s their source. Without a strong brand, marketing is generally ineffective and selling is like beating your head against a wall of sales resistance. A strong brand is the rock-solid foundation for all marketing, because every other aspect of a product’s identity–its logo, how its ads are written, who its spokesperson is–is based on that brand. Branding is the reason customers consider a product in the first place.

When you have a strong Personal Brand out in the world working for you, you’ll attract new business without even trying. Prospects will come to you after multiple exposures to your brand, and they’ll come 90 percent sold on you already. All you’ll need to do is close the sale. We’ve seen it time and time again. New business with no work. If that’s not cool, nothing is.

Continue reading “Which Came First, the Music or the Brand?”

Yo-Yo Ma’s Romulan Music Project

Jen Usellis Mackay as a Klingon

Nerd Lunch has a podcast about the upcoming Commedia Beauregard’s production, “A Klingon Christmas Carol,” with a brief mention of my group’s (the il Troubadore Klingon Music Project) involvement with the soundtrack.  I composed all the music (you can hear a couple of samples here and here) and my band will record the final versions for the production.

 

Cast member and official tweeter for A Klingon Christmas Carol, Jen Usellis Mackay, joins us at the lunch table this week. Jen gives us the inside scoop on what it’s like to work on the first play performed in the Klingon language, how to get in on this year’s performances in Chicago, and Yo-Yo Ma’s Romulan music project (not really). Later the Nerds get a mini language lesson from Jen and we all play a few rounds of “our favorite Klingon things”. Listen and find out why tlhutlhlu’meH QaQ jajvam!

 

We’re mentioned around 31:30 with a funny blurb about Yo-Yo Ma’s so-called Romulan Music Project which I thought was humorous.

 

Links to the podcast may be found at the links below.

http://nerdlunch.blogspot.com/2011/11/nerd-lunch-podcast-11-klingon-christmas.html

http://blog.paxholley.net/2011/11/15/nerd-lunch-episode-11-a-klingon-christmas-carol/

DaHjaj QeylIS qa’jIH.

A scene from Commedia Beauregard's production of "A Klingon Christmas Carol"

“I am the Spirit of Kahless Present.”

Sometimes I have to be in the business of creating culture, not just re-creating culture (or ‘re-presenting culture’ as I sometimes refer to my musical activities).  I’ve been watching a DVD of the final performance of  “A Klingon Christmas Carol” which is a production by the Commedia Beauregard that has been running during the Christmas season for the past four years.  This is in preparation for scoring incidental music that my group, il Troubadore (or more properly, the il Troubadore Klingon Music Project), will be recording for the live production this season.

As I’ve been developing Klingon Music and the possible theory behind it for the past year or so (though my interest in Klingon music dates back many more years as I’ve mentioned elsewhere) sometimes projects like this are incredibly satisfying.  Nothing like creating not only original music, but a completely ‘original’ style of music for a culture from a Science Fiction series.

While I won’t be posting actual examples that will be used for the score/soundtrack of this production, I will continue to blog about (with other examples) the music as I spend more and more time immersing myself in Klingon Culture.  As I mentioned in a previous status update at my facebook page that I still haven’t gotten the typical post conference/event blues after having the chance to play a concert with Yo-Yo Ma–this project and the project in my previous post are the reasons (amongst so many others).

I’m just so thrilled and pleased that I can have all these exciting musical experiences without having to leave this little quaint part of the world as I’ve said regarding this past month or so of such wonderful strangeness!  As the saying goes–“Show me a bored person, and I’ll show you a lazy person.”

Or, as the Klingons would say, Hoch ‘ebmey tIjon (“Capture all opportunities!”)!

“World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King” sheet music

Original sheet music edition of "World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King" by Alfred Music Publishing

So last Saturday I was doing some shopping at one of the local sheet music outlets (Noteworthy Music) and I came across a piano/vocal score of “Wrath of the Lich King” from World of Warcraft.  For those of you who don’t know, World of Warcraft (aka WOW) is an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game).  I’ve never played it and with only brief stints on Second life and some of the online browser games like Travian, I’ve only seen this played by some friends.

I do admit that I have played the computer game versions of Warcraft, however, so I’m not entirely immune from knowledge of the franchise!

So, as I said, I came across this piano/vocal reduction I just had to buy a copy.  I think it will be a perfect tune (or set of tunes) to do with the il Troubadore Klingon Music Project because.  Really, who wouldn’t want to see Klingons singing a World of Warcraft tune?

Even better would be Klingons dressed up as the undead–I wanna be Kel’Thuzad, though Arthas (in his Death Knight incarnation) would be a close second choice.