Category Archives: blog

For a more personal take on things than the offical news announcements.

Geekpop Summer song writing challenge – Prizewinner!!!

Karmadillo are pleased to announce that the song entry for the Geekpop Summer Song Writing Challenge has won the Most Contrived Rhyme Prize! Why not peruse the lyrics of our biographical song on Gregor Mendel and figure out which couplet was the winner. Or listen to the geekpop podcast and hear it for yourself!

[audio:Mendel-GeekPopAcoustic.mp3|titles=Mendel Acoustic|artist=Karmadillo]

It is the same day the career killing Mercury Award prize is announced – I’d rather have this one as if my career nosedives from here I’ll never get to play at Glastonbury again!

The overall winner was a fantastic song on the nature of Google. I didn’t catch the singers name (Naomi F…?) properly but someone worth watching out for. While lots of geeky songs are clever this was also quite moving, funny and poignant.

Thanks to the Geekpop team and the judges for their decision. Now to decide what to spend £25 of science vouchers, supplied courtesy of the Graphic Science.

Don’t forget if you like contrived rhymes more can be heard during the chorus on our single at

You Must Be Mendel – Geekpop Song Competition entry

The Babble

I’d sat down a few days ago to think of a science song for the Geekpop Science competition due tomorrow. I couldn’t come up with anything musical, though I vaguely had the idea of writing something about Gregor Mendel, who pioneered the work in genetics while a monk with loads of time on his hands (Over 25000 pea plants in 6 years!). As I have plenty of other stuff to do with a single just launched and the Bard For Life album launch coming up, as well as recovering from my knee injury, I decided to let it go.

All that changed this evening as I went to get a pint of milk at the Co-op. I started humming a tune in my head and once I’d also come up with the phrase ‘Mendel Arithmetic’ there was no going back. I didn’t have my mobile on me to get the ideas down so I am particularly proud to not loose the tune or the lyrics I was constructing on the way to the shop. Also before getting down to writing the song I had answer a quick phone call from Mrs Karmadillo and hunt around for a number in Germany for her. It was then recorded in one take for the charango, one take for vocals and then sent off as the competition entry!

The Music

[audio:Mendel-GeekPopAcoustic.mp3|titles=Mendel Acoustic|artists=Karmadillo]

The Words

You grew up on the family farm
Moved to a monastery with an experimental gar-den
Six years of wrapping bags around the flowers of plants
Giving us the music for the genetic dance

You must be Mendel Mendel Mendel Mendel yeay oh yeah

You analysed traits of the plants that give us peas
Then controlled how they got to breed
You then analysed the plants that grew from the seeds
Eventually proposing living things had genes

You must be Mendel Mendel Mendel Mendel yeay oh yeah

Its a shame they didn’t believe / in the theory you got from you plants
It was only after you died / that they gave the peas a chance

Growing 29000 plants was not the only trick
You still had to perform some Mendel arithmetic
Probabilities of hybrids, dominant and recessive traits
Giving us genetics and showing us the way

You must be Mendel Mendel Mendel Mendel yeay oh yeah

Noone Else – Karmadillo’s first ever single release!!!

One month after having been crowned winners of the Cambridge Busking Festival 2010, Karmadillo are proud to announce the launch of their first ever single!

The song is Noone Else from the forthcoming Bard For Life album and is available from iTunes UK and iTunes US. It should also be going up on Amazon soon!

Here’s a video made to go with the song. Footage was shot in a day and was hastily put together for another project, but hope you enjoy!

Single Available from iTunes (and now with added Amazon!), released September 2010. More stores coming soon

You may not have the time and money
To get psychiatric help
But you can get on to the online stores
And buy Noone Else!

Unlike X-Factor contestants this single is autotune free and features James Thomas on bass and Pip Johnson on drums. Produced and recorded by Tom Gaskell. Cheers guys!

Congratulations to Kate & Simon

Last weekend saw the wedding of ex-Karmadillo member Kate Newell to Simon in Wales. It was a pretty amazing wedding (though not as good as the previous one I’d been to 😉 ) and I was honoured to do a reading at the ceremony on their special day.

I was also inspired to put together a little photo montage as a tribute to Kate set to the song I wrote after hearing her play the oboe, and she came and wrote and recorded a brilliant solo over to the top of the song ‘Still’. Hope you enjoy.


The song (remastered version of an earlier one) will be part of our Bard For Life album coming out August 2010. If you want to know when that’ll be released why not join our mailing list?

Karmadillo – Cambridge Busking Festival Winner 2010

So in the midst of a day of migraine pain on Wednesday I had a call from Heather at the council who organised the Busking Festival we played at last week. Karmadillo were voted by the audience as their favourite act of the Festival! That was great news, and I bounced around for at least five minutes before going back to holding my head going ‘Ow Ow Ow’. Thanks to all who voted! Your support was great and appreciated greatly.

You can read the full tale of my days out at the busking festival. I’m also busking later on this month raising money for Cancer research as part of the big busk for cancer. This is happening between 17th – 25th July 2010 – I’ll put more information about it up here next week when I’ve figured out what I’m doing.



The Cambridge Busking Festival Experience

So the weekend just gone was the Cambridge Busking Festival. This was organised by Cambridge City Council – in particular many thanks go to Heather Bevan-Hunt for her efforts in making it happen. There were many great musicians and entertainers to be seen across town, from Ukeylove ukuleles and Karmadillo to ZimStrings playing their classical music and Chancellors of Vice playing their soul-funk mix. I enjoyed everything I saw.

Luckily it was a sunny day out on the streets of Cambridge, and although I had some criticism of my choice of busking socks on the Friday I think it still went well!

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The first place I played was following Planetzim from the UkeyLove collective. These guys came up from London and we had them crashing around our place. Meant the start to the days was a bit more archaic than usual, and was already in a party mood by the time I left the place!

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I had various slots around town on Friday and Saturday. The first day was the one that saw criticism of my socks and unfortunately no photos exist of the much better and groovier socks I was wearing the next day!

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After playing a couple of the slots I had a wonder round. I don’t have the names of all the artists I caught sight of unfortunately, but the mellow world music sounds of the guys with the giant xylophones was something different and special.

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Unexpectedly the place I enjoyed playing at the most was the slot at the end of Friday in St Giles Church. Slightly out of the centre of town and being indoors, it was never going to be a place to get passers by being drawn to watch, but there was a small but appreciative audience. For a start the room was cool, and the ladies running the cake sale offered some deliciously refreshing orange juice. Once ready to play the acoustics were fantastic and I would like to go back sometime and make an acoustic recording in there at some point.

There are monthly cake sales for a charity happening there as well – I’d recommend popping in and trying some of those cakes out when that happens!


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The Bling Ya Ting / Cambridge Corn Exchange Experience

Doing a gig at Cambridges largest venue was something I was looking forward to, though the fact the appearance was due to happen on April Fools Day did have me worrying that this was Cambridge City Council japery organised solely for my benefit.

The first hint that this was going to be a different type of gig happened in the soundcheck, when the 10 year old opening the night started crying as the music backstage was too loud! It was an urban/world music festival and as such there were a number of teen performers. This did cause problems for Aidy, the guy I’d asked to film the performance of me as security banned all filming due to the presence of minors.

I was more nervous than usual before going on stage – this was a yoof crowd (with probably was only a trendy way of expressing this 20 years ago) warmed up with Cheryl Cole covers. I was nervous that so many school children would be taking the piss out of me and the laughter would evoke painful childhood memories of being the sole Electric Light Orchestra fan swimming in a Smiths Morri-sea. Its always brings on the nerves playing to a sober audience – the bar was closed as there were so many under 18s there. In fact, this made it extra nerve wracking as it also meant there was a sober performer.

I went with the crowd pleasing When The Sun Comes Up, but all my nerves evaporated away as the audience grew the song, started cheering, clapping, waving their arms. The unveiling of the charango playing scissor kick worked well. Although Guinness wasn’t there to confirm I do reckon I am now the worlds highest jumping scissor kicking charango player. Its funny how I spent most of the evening feeling out of place amongst the urban crowd, but for the performance on stage it really felt like it was being at one with the audience.

The overall competition winner was another song writer who played a glorious song called Clouds. I’ve forgotten his name alas, but definitely someone worth watching out for. The first half of the show was the music and the second half of the show was the dance, though I did miss some of that as we went to the pub to make up for not having had a chance to drink earlier in the evening.

A DVD has been promised by the organisers and it looks like as a result there’ll a performance at the Big Day Out in July in Cambridge, which will have to make do with as there’s no Strawberry Fair :-(. But at least there’s some partying happening!

Ode To Arabidopsis

A Musicians favourite plant’s supposed to be marijuana
But I prefer A dot thaliana
Unravelling DNA and all the drama
that entails

A model organism standing alone
With your 5 delectable chromosomes
Your genes provide a knockout selection
That I just wanna grow

The papers you’ve provided have been ample
Your my favourite genus of which to prepare a sample
For a run on
the Illumina machine

That the public don’t know you / thats unfair
But they can get your genome / thanks to TAIR
All the info’s there

A girls favourite flower is of the genus rosa
But a man who gives you those is just a poser
I wanna woman who knows the
ideas that mustard seeds

In a hundred years from now they’ll forget these days
How your hundred and 57 million base pairs paved the way
helping scientists investigate the function of genes in the DNA


Why are there no pop hits / about arabidopsis

And all the hard work you doooo for plant science

noone knows your story / roses get the glory

but lets celebrate you in these modern times