Paul Ubana Jones “One”

2002-paul-ubana-jones-oneThis is folk musician Paul Ubana Jones’ cover of the U2 song from 1992 – reportedly done with Bono’s approval. The song feels like something from the ’90s. It’s a pretty simple arrangement – the man, his guitar and some hip hop beats – and judging by the YouTube comments it touches many people.

The video keeps it just as simple, and also feels like something out of the ’90s. Most of the video is Paul singing the song, alone with his guitar in a black space. He’s a very striking person, with his big Afro and expressive face, and the video lingers makes good use of this visual.

Cut with this is footage of people (mostly women) posing artfully – a pregnant woman, a couple of little girls playing, an elderly woman and her daughter wearing saris, another old lady holding a picture of a solider, a farmer holding a gun and a teen couple having a moment. It feels a bit like a by-the-numbers ’90s music video. It’s nothing remarkable.

But I don’t think it needs to be. The YouTube comments are full of remarks from people who have had emotional reactions to the song (as well as teens excited to discover that their guitar teacher is so cool).

With so much of NZ On Air funding (rightly) being given to music that is so hot right now, sometimes it’s nice to find a song that exists in its own universe, away from the world of pop.

Best bit: little girl swinging on a washing line.

Next… more of the shimmy.

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