To help the children learn how to yodel, Jewel wrote a kids’ book! Meira Bienstock

BETHEL — On one particular day, Jewel Clark was debating which gas station to go into. Like most Mainers, she pulled into the more desolate one. While looking for the items she needed in the store, someone called out her name. It was a young man, about 21 years old. He said he remembered her, she had come to their school when he was in first grade and taught him how to yodel. He can still do it to this day.

Jewel smiles as she shares this memory. She had taught her granddaughter’s first grade class nearly 14 years ago how to yodel. At first, she wrote a song for the kids, to help them learn the practice. Then, realizing they were too young to read the song, she drew together illustrations and put together a kids’ book, with the song lyrics matching the illustrations. As Jewel explains how the kids all sang together on that day singing, “Little Old Lady Who” outside in Bethel, her eyes water up and she smiles at the happy memory.

As a kid, Jewel grew up listening to yodeling from her Dad, Yodeling Slim Clark.

“As a kid, I used to just mimic him,” Jewel says. “I’d listen to him, he was my Dad, I loved him, I’d mimic him. I’d just play around with it. In the mid-90s, I started thinking about it. I realized what an art it was.”

It’d be to come that years later, Jewel would end up singing for the Fryeburg Fair every year. She still performs three shows in a row in the afternoons.

One day, when singing virtually because of the pandemic, she wrote a song about the Fryeburg Fair. The marketing manager combined it with pictures of the fair and put it on YouTube. It was a huge success.

Jewel combines her yodeling with folk singing and guitar, which she strums easily and sings lightly and delicately. She says her yodeling is comparative to that of laughter, so she’s always smiling on stage. With the blend of the three sounds, it’s like listening to a symphony and river all at once.

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