Ukelele fans: Jon DeRosa’s Cover Of “O Holy Night”

December 11, 2012

If you’re good, the BDA House Choir might treat you to some stylings. If you’re very good, then we won’t.

“‘O Holy Night’ is perhaps the single Christmas song I grew up with, with a melody I find completely beautiful and moving. It has always stood out to me, I have always loved singing it. Here’s a very small and humble arrangement I put together with just vocal and ukelele. To all my friends and family, I wish you a safe and happy holiday season. Enjoy!” — Jon DeRosa

Jon DeRosa (b. 21 December, 1978) is a guitarist, composer and singer/songwriter from Brooklyn, NY. Raised in the small shore town of Manasquan, NJ, DeRosa grew up idolizing Glenn Danzig, while studying classical and flamenco guitar and memorizing the entire output of 4AD and Projekt Records. It was with this eclectic background that he began his approach to writing and recording music. DeRosa has been involved with many musical projects including dark folk/goth band Dead Leaves Rising, followed by the dreamy atmospheric sounds of Aarktica. In 1998 Jon DeRosa lost nearly all hearing in his right ear which sparked the birth of Aarktica (a project that remains active over a decade later) as well as his study of Indian classical vocal music with La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela.

In addition to Aarktica, Jon plays guitar with with New York City chamber pop ensemble Flare. DeRosa also briefly recorded under the name Pale Horse and Rider, releasing two albums of urban country songs during this time. Rob O’Connor at CMJ remarked “DeRosa’s not unlike the downcast end of Springsteen. ‘Jersey Coast Line’ [from 2002’s These Are The New Good Times] could very well be Nebraska‘s 11th track.”

In 2006, DeRosa lent his voice to Stephin Merritt’s opera “The Peach Blossom Fan”, as the role of Hou Fang Yu. Some of his contributions were first featured on Merritt’s Showtunes album (Nonesuch, 2006). “The Peach Blossom Fan” became available in its entirety in 2008 (Nonesuch).

DeRosa continues to record as Aarktica, his most recent releases being 2009/10’s In Sea and In Sea Remixes.

In 2011, DeRosa unveiled his first eponymous release, the Anchored EP. Novelist Ed Park (The Believer) said of it: “At first, Jon DeRosa’s Anchored EP, a quartet of gorgeously layered chamber-pop shanties, seems leagues away from the voluptuous Lovecraftian drift he perfected under his moniker Aarktica. But there are dark spaces here, too, room to brood in the sweet gravel of his voice, in Julia Kent’s penetrating cello lines, and in the quiet violence of the lyrics. With a depth that belies its brief running time, Anchored is so perfect that it literally gives you the chills.”

In April 2012, DeRosa self released a limited vinyl edition of his debut full length A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes in the US, and on November 5/6 2012 DeRosa will release the album on CD internationally via RocketGirl Records.


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