You can now hear a collection of the "Radio Songs" Jon has written to air on WBAI's weekly NYC culture show, The Artsy Fartsy Show over the past 3 years. Current events, life reflections, songwriting on-demand. Check 'em out on Jon's Bandcamp page and check back for more as new tunes will be posted periodically…
Profile of Jon in DNAinfo!! Great way to start getting excited about the Special Edition Re-Release of "You and Me" in January 2013. Thanks to Emily Frost and DNAinfo for telling the story of the music.
Jon Braman (energy efficiency consultant by day, father of ukulele hip hop by night) digs the revolution. In fact, he just wrote the new unofficial anthem to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Here it is, for the first time, available as a demo for your listening pleasure: The 99.
Let us know if you want to help record it, contribute a verse, put it on the radio, post on a website, make an accompanying video, etc. etc.
MTV News also recently caught Braman hanging out down at the park during a recent lunch break.
Hip hop in America hits its golden age. Artists like Notorious BIG, Outkast, Jay-Z, Tupac, make universal music that will last for 1000 generations.
Totally unaware that this is taking place a short train ride away, bushy-haired adolescent Jon Braman finds a baritone ukulele in a garbage can on Main street, Port Washington, NY.
Hip hop music suffers losses and yet rises to the forefront of American consciousness, eclipsing almost everything else in popular culture, except maybe the internet. Bush steals the presidency for the first time and guts our nation's environmental laws, among other things.
Still largely unaware of hip hop, Braman begins to carve his musical outlook based on ideals of organic, heartfelt, funky, lyrical music, playing trumpet, guitar and ukukele. Winning 1st place at the Schreiber high school Battle of The Bands as a member of the United States Blues Corporation in junior year. Conducts experiments on his own mind by reading James Joyce while listening to Ornette Coleman's 'Free Jazz' at high volume. Seeds of hip hop are planted in his subconscious by roommates with tunes like 'Hard Knock Life', 'Liberation', and 'Rosa Parks'
50 Cent dominates the radio waves with the 'Get rich or die trying', Beyonce's 'Crazy in Love' puts horns, harmonies, rap and dance into sparkly and universally-addictive combinations. Kanye West gives old soul and blues samples new life by underlaying them irresistible beats that link the past and present. Bob Dylan's voice gets even worse as he somehow maintains a wizard-like control over the minds of aging baby-boomers and introspective shaggy college students, alike. The war in Iraq starts on false pretenses no one believes anyway.
Coasting out into the world, Jon's music is distilled down to the basics: a man and his ukulele. Two thoughts pop into his head while driving cross-country in his grandmother's station wagon listening to 'Ms. Jackson:' Thought 1: "This rap thing is pretty cool". Thought 2: "I think I could do this."
Braman is knocking on doors 14 hours/day in a quixotic, exhausting campaign for clean air, leading bands of starry-eyed and ridiculously dedicated young people searching for hope in the era of Bush and Bin Laden. Having memorized all of the lyrics to 'Stankonia', Braman purchases 'Southernplayalisticadillacmuzac' and listens to it in full one night after work while cooking spaghetti with hot peppers, then goes to sleep with his ears throbbing in the sweaty night.
The next morning he picks up his ukulele, walks out onto the sidewalk, and, without thinking, strums the opening riff to 'Tip top', then opens his mouth and starts rapping. Ukulele hip hop is born.