'Copacabana' presenting several challenges, not least that I wouldn't have considered playing it for longer than it took me to say 'no'.
My musical chum and fellow Flying Aspidistra, Harriet B., asked if we could give it a go as it was one of her favourite songs. I can't say I was overjoyed at the prospect, but should one want to expand ones musical vocabulary, variety is the key.
Many people, calling themselves musicians, I've met in recent years are, at best, reluctant or, at worst, dismissive of anything that falls outside of their comfort zone. Me? Oh no, bring me to the uncharted waters, fill my sails, an' I'll have at it till I'm flogging a dead horse up a creek without a paddle in a flaming pit filled with snakes.
So, 'Copacabana' (lyric written by Feldman/Sussman on a suggestion from Barry Manilow who provided the music), the version Harriet B. directed me to appeared to be in the key of Dm. In this key I can, not very nearly, sing the song in either a Paul Robeson subsonic rumble or an eye watering shriek only bats can hear. Harriet B. let me have her audio demo which she had to stand on a step ladder to sing. It was around this time I noticed the instruction at the end of the sheet to capo off at the 3rd fret.
N.B. Capos are more of a guitarists than a uke players kind of thing.
I tried a version in the key of Fm the suggested capo placement would produce. All well and good, still a bit on the high side, the major difficulty being a bloodly awkward chord sequence.
A trail though Interwebshire brought me to another guitar based version in the key of Cm7. Bingo!
It is at this point that an iPad appears.
I've been footling around with the app version of GarageBand for a while, the first products being 12 tunes to accompany singing in a performance of 'Sweeny Todd the Barber' (not the Sondhiem version!). I decided to record a demo of Copa to give me something to practice playing the uke against. The hit version runs at 113 BPM, but for practice purposes I decided 90 BPM was a better pace.
My first version featured grand piano, double bass, drums, and (cringe) strings. It was okay-ish (except for the strings) and was perfectly adequate as an accompaniment, but I'd become so involved with the mechanics of the song I couldn't leave well alone.
After several re-jigs I find myself with a Hypno-Bachelor-Pad-Psychedelic-Lounge version of the piece, possibly suitable as a soundtrack for a soft-core pr0n movie, if there are are still such things in this day an age, which I very much doubt:
The downside, to what is essentially a successful experiment, is that I now seem to have Barry Manilow's f#%king 'Copacabana' encoded in my DNA.