Thursday 26 March 2009

Why Naudo is Best

Those who have followed my work will probably realise that Naudo is my guitar hero.  I study, analyse, transcribe, re-arrange his work and spew it out myself, never to his level, but enough to satisfy me.  I've emailed with him a few times, and with Juan his friend and cameraman, and of course sent him some money to further his incredible talent.

Okay, so out of all the fantastic guitarists out there, why does Naudo click with me? Well, more importantly, why did he click with so many people he became #1 most subscribed musician in Brazil on youtube before he was ousted "for copyright infringements"?  Sure he is an amazing guitarist, with an incredible repertoire and he seems like such a nice gentle fellow - but let's dig a bit deeper.

Us humans are creatures of habit, and music is no exception.  When we were young - and probably not so young - we would hear a song on the radio that we simply loved, and listened to it over and over and over until is was pretty much permanently burnt into our brains.  There would probably be a hundred songs in your brain right now just like that , and thanks to our socialistic tendencies I bet what is in your brain overlaps with what's in other peoples brains; ie, popular songs.  For starters, that's what Naudo plays - popular songs, and there will be one he plays that you love.  Click number 1.

When you hear your favourite songs performed by someone else - specifically *sung* by someone else - you immediately begin comparing.  Singing is such a personal thing, and such an infinitely variable thing, that the singer either needs to be singing it identically to the original, or in a way that really, really appeals to you to win you over.  How many times have you heard a professional band redo a song you love "and it's just not as good as the original"?  Well Naudo doesn't suffer from that problem, he doesn't sing, but he plays the melody of the song clearly enough that you know exactly what you are listening to, in fact you can't help but sing the words in your head as he plays it.  And when you sing in your head, it is the voice of the original artist.  Click number 2.

Then there is the gobsmack factor.  Yep, plenty of guitarists have this and what gobsmacks you might not gobsmack someone else, but generally, when you see someone playing something complex on the guitar smooth and fluently, you tend to go "wow, that's pretty good" and be drawn into click number 3.

Bringing all this together, Naudo arranges these popular songs you love in a complex & stylised manner, injecting a bit of humour (love the 'whit-whews' and snippets midway through from songs such as jingle bells) but most importantly he captures the essence of the song into his arrangement.  It is as true to the song, in his style, as it can possibly be.  Click game over.

I've played the guitar for many years, playing what I want to hear.  But now I want to play not just what I want to hear, but what others want to hear as well.  Naudo is my guide, as a solo fingerstyle guitarist, how to achieve that.

Here is an example of one of Naudos arrangements I've transcribed, in video lesson format: