Poetry: finding your happy place…now with ukulele!

Kailua Beach, Oahu, HI. “I hear it in the deep heart’s core”

William Butler Yeats’ third quatrain of “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” (see below) talks about going to a happy place which exists in the “deep heart’s core”. His Innisfree, an uninhabited island filled with happy childhood memories is my Kailua beach. The iornwood burrs and the half-flowers of naupaka, the view of Popoi’a (Flat Island), a cup of black Lion Coffee from the Kalapawai Market at sunrise, the curve of the shore and the color of the water comes back with all the smells and sounds in need to take me far away from the maddening crowd. It’s the place I go in my mind when I when I need to find peace. I pick up my ukulele for that same reason; the practice of music is a place where “peace comes dropping slow “.

This spring, Daniel and I will visit the island of Molokai for the first time. I will be teaching a songwriting class at the Uke Ohana Molokai Retreat, April 5-9. Besides basic u’kulele techniques and song form, we will talk poetry: Ancient Hawaiian, contemporary, classical. Not every song has words, but poetry influences all songs, for poetry is the distillation of thought as music is the essence of feeling. It can be as naughty as a limerick, as simple as a haiku, or epic as the Aeneid.

Please join us as we immerse into Hawaiian culture and the beauty of the land. Breathing deep the warm, moist air filled with green and blue, letting softness and color return to the pavement grey of the city bleached mind. Finding a new happy place to arise and go to.

Molokai. Arise and go now.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

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Ukes in Libraries: Check It Out

Daniel and I are thrilled to start 2019 off working at the best place in the world: THE LIBRARY!!!!

“It’s one of the last places you can go that you don’t have to buy or believe in anything to come in.”- Annie Spence, librarian.

Below is a list of the branches where we will be teaching in the Los Angeles area. There will be a limited number of instruments to borrow at each session, and learning materials for all to utilize. You can bring your own instrument, whatever shape it is in, and we will do our best to make it playable for you, or check out a ukulele kit from your local LAPL branch!

While we are on the love-affair with libraries topic, listen to what This American Life has to say about them.

JANUARY

17th San Pedro Branch LAPL 4pm

19th Memorial Branch LAPL 2pm

26th Santa Monica Main Branch Kids 2pm, Adults 3pm

26th Venice Branch LAPL 3 pm

28th Fairfax Branch LAPL 5pm

FEBRUARY

2nd Venice Branch LAPL 3pm

9th Santa Monica Main Branch Kids 2pm, Adults 3pm

9th Venice Branch LAPL 3 pm

16th Los Angeles Central Library 2pm

21st Playa Vista Library 6:30pm

23rd Santa Monica Main Branch Kids 2pm, Adults 3pm

23rd Los Angeles Central Library 2pm

MARCH

2nd Los Angeles Central Library 2pm

6th Jefferson Branch LAPL 3pm

7th Playa Vista Branch 6:30pm

“A library is a place that is a repository of information and gives every citizen equal access to it. That includes health information. And mental health information. It’s a community space. It’s a place of safety, a haven from the world. It’s a place with librarians in it. What the libraries of the future will be like is something we should be imagining now.” ―Neil Gaiman in The Guardian

DAFT DAYS 2018-19

In Scotland, where New Year’s Eve is called Hogmanay, the 12 days between December 25th and epiphany are called “Daft Days”.  I get that, especially before New Years. I am full of cheese and glögg and I never know what day it is; it’s a week of Saturdays. By the time the ball drops I am ready to reform and resolve. My favorite New Year’s eve activity is the purge. Excess coffee mugs, eraserless pencil stubs, undarnable socks, threadbare bedding and frosted mystery foods from the freezer…? Out with the old!

I received beautiful new black boots from my girls this Christmas. Letting go of the old brown ones will be hard. It’s been nine years, hundreds of miles, two sets of souls and three pair of heels. They are old friends, and deserve a proper Scottish send off. I won’t light them a’fire and swing them into the river, Hogmanay style, but we will cross arms, join hands and sing Robert Burns’ Auld Lang Syne.

And so should you, for old friends and old times’ sake. The song is older that Burns himself, and is sung around the world to a pentatonic Scots folk melody.  If you have a low G on your ukulele, you can start there and pick it out, while brushing up on your pentatonic scale, pull-offs and hammer-ons. If you have resolved to work on your playing, take a look at the music Daniel Ward has prepared as your holiday gift.

Here is Burns’ first verse in the original Scots, an English version, and some Hawaiian words by Lili‘u-o-ka-lani.

Aloha my jo- Daniel and I hope to take a cup ‘o kindness and walk a mile with ye in 2019.

SCOTS

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my jo, for auld lang syne,

we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

ENGLISH

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and old lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,

we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

HAWAIIAN

E poina ‘ia anei ke hoa  ‘a ‘ole e ho omana ‘o?

E poina ‘ia anei ke hoa   o na la i ‘aui a‘e?

E poina ‘ia anei an hoa o na la o ka makali‘i?

E mau ka ho‘omana‘o ‘ana no na la i ‘aui a‘e



12 hours of fun:McUkeFest

Sunday, December 9th at McCabes 10:30am-10:30p

Starting with a 10:30 am concert (tickets HERE) for the littlest fans of ukulele and their family, with a UKULELE PETTING ZOO- so everyone gets a chance to play!First we start with a 10:30 am concert (tickets HERE) for the littlest fans of ukulele and their family, including a UKULELE PETTING ZOO- so everyone gets a chance to play!

There are small workshops upstairs with amazing teachers- Daniel Ward, Abe Lagrimas Jr, Del Rey and Jason Arimoto- the same virtuosos who will be preforming in the evening concert!  Buy tickets HERE– they are likely to sell out!  Also, FREE events open to all, including a play-along and a beginner’s class.

The concert that night will feature a performance by HUG, the Heroes Ukulele Group (check out this story about them in Ukulele Magazine) Also on stage, the illusive KING KUKULELE plus the song stylings of Miss Pickles and the Pants. 

BUT WAIT, there’s MORE! BRING YOUR INSTRUMENT to the concert, as the stars on stage want to lead you in some strum and sing along numbers! And during the intermission we will be drawing the winning raffle tickets for some amazing items, including concert tickets, ukulele gift packages and a beautiful new OHANA spruce and willow concert ukulele- just like the one I will be playing all day!

In all, TWELVE HOURS of ukulele good times! Don’t miss a minute of it!

see you there!

HOLIDAY 2018 GIFT GUIDE

Spicy? Sparkly? Plucky? Looking for something for the uke disciple, a gift-to-self,or  a show of affection or appreciation?I believe in gifting life skills, not landfill, sharing experiences over swapping expendable. If you are counting your blessings and scheming about giving, I have a few gift ideas for you. From FREE to fantasy, here are some priceless gifts you can give,and five of them are absolutely free!

GIVE AN EXPERIENCE Go to the source: take trip to Hawaii. Immerse yourself in old-style Hawaiian music and culture on the quiet island of Molokai. Daniel and I are thrilled to be sharing Uke Ohana at this intimate retreat at the Pu’u O Hoku Ranch and Halawa Valley, April 5-9. Every level, from beginner to advanced will share in the magic of the Island and the beauty of Aloha. This would be an extraordinary gift to share with a beloved, adult family members or to give as a gift to yourself.

GIVE A SONG Work up a tune, just one. Doesn’t have to be perfect or fancy.  Maybe make a card, letting them know the song is their gift. And sing it to them, in person, on Skype, over the phone: to a group- maybe your whole family! Sing it with them. Print out copies, share it with the world.  Free!  Priceless, really. (Mom, are you reading this? Now you know what I want!) A GIFT TO YOU from Daniel– a great song to learn and share! FREE! The first study in his Arpeggio Meditations book is available online with a tutorial from Ukulele Magazine!

GIVE AN INSTRUMENT Beginner? Child? You can’t go wrong with an Ohana SK-10. Solid durable, great intonation, a real instrument at a starter price. These are the instruments I requisition for schools and library programs. They come in some delightful colors, too. (with bag, strap, button and tuner,$79 at Mim’s)

Intermediate, or adult beginner? I love Ohana’s CK 50 WG.  I play mine almost every day.  Big bright voice, classy rope binding, highly figured wood, geared pegs. Get a cute tweedy case to go with it and it’s an instant classic.  String with either hi or low G, concert size is versatile and not too big. ($239 at Mim’s)

Missing your bass strings? KoAloha has a tenor sized 6 string guitalele.  It’s like a guitar with a capo on the fifth fret (tuned ADGCEA). If you have guitar a repertoire hiding in your past, this instrument gives you an opportunity to share with ukulele players. Great intonation, portable and sounds great. Daniel is digging his!( $748 at Mim’s )

GIVE BEAUTY AND UTILITY Beautiful sparkly UKULELE STRAPS.  Liz Olney is busy at her workbench making these beautiful straps. Lined with lambskin, studded with Swarovski crystals they are all the jewelry you will ever need to wear. Daniel and I have one for each of our “on stage” instruments. Liz just finished this lovely custom strap to go with this GORGEOUS Michael DaSilva ukulele. (Michael builds dreams. I don’t know a player who doesn’t lust for one of his instruments) Breath taking.  If bling is not your thing, she also makes them plain or with studs.($80-$150+shipping, custom straps may be more)

GIVE BOOKS and LESSONS

Arpeggio Meditations Book for all levels ($20) Video tutorials for Arpeggio Meditations($6.99) This has become a favorite for students of all levels.  The first piece is easy for beginners,Classes and groups LOVE playing this together! Later studies are challenging for advanced players. They are beautiful to listen to– especially when Daniel plays them! The Arpeggio Meditations Companion Mp3s are great background soundtrack to relax you in your day, and a good gift idea… FREE!

Color-Along Ukulele for children and adult beginners– be sure to download the FREE soundtrack!($15) They will make you laugh, contain tons of additional verses, will teach you the songs by ear, and are useful in a classroom. There is a section in the back of the book of tips for how to integrate the lessons into a kids class or club setting.

Ukulele Magazine subscription Lessons, articles, festival listings… A great way to be part of the ukulele community.  We love getting our copy in the mail, learning about other artists and innovations. Daniel and I are regular contributors, check out his lessons with videos that he creates for them! (On sale now! $20 for 1 year/4 issues)

Death By G-String by C.C. Harrison – murder mystery set in a ukulele club! Great fun read! Available in most bookstores or at Amazon

Sign someone up for a LIBRARY CARD. Many libraries now have ukulele to lend! Plus learning materials and fantastic events. I will be teaching ukulele at several libraries this spring- and it’s always FREE!

GIVE EL SABOR! Ok, mom, I lied. This is what I really want: CHENCHO’S CHIMAYO CHILE! The best red chile in New Mexico comes from the village of Chimayo, and as far as we know, the best chile in Chimayo comes from Crescencio Ochoa’s mule-plowed farm. Call him or text him at (505) 573-9801. He will grind your order the day he sends it priority mail and include an invoice written on a scrap of paper, you mail him back a check. Old school, pure (red) gold. ($30. a pound)

GIVE NOURISHMENT This year, our gift to you is Daniel’s Holiday Bean Recipe.  You might need to order some of Chencho’s red chile to make it authentic, but if that is not in range, look for powdered New Mexico Chile Molido in the grocery store where the Latin foods are sold. These are delicious any time of year, straight out of the pot, but if you want the best low-brow feast on earth, consider serving them as the chili in Frito Pie, as we did in Santa Fe at the Culinary Uke Fiesta this November.  That is, put some Fritos in your bowl, cover with a dipper of the beans, then top with your favorite condiments, including: shredded iceberg lettuce, chopped tomatoes, finely diced onions and shredded cheddar cheese. Now THAT’S a Holiday dinner!

DANIEL’S HOLIDAY BEANS

1 ½ Cup Dried Pinto beans

2-3 wedges Ibarra brand Chocolate (if unavailable, another Mexican Chocolate or  2 oz darkest chocolate)

1 Bay leaf

½ teaspoon Smoked Paprika

1 Tablespoon crushed Oregano

½ teaspoon Ground Cumin

1/4 Cup Chencho’s Chimayo Red Chile powder (or more according to taste)

3-4 turns of a pepper mill

2 whole cloves

heaping ½ teaspoon salt

5 Cups Water (or more)

1 Whole Orange (unpeeled)

Splash Olive Oil

Cook:

Approximately  5-6 hrs in a crock pot, on on stove, or 1 hour in an Instant Pot. open kettle and reduce liquid till saucy, or if dry, add liquid.

Squeeze juice out of orange and discard rind before serving

McUkeFest 2018

Something for everyone, every level of player and all ages!

Join the SukeyJump Band in the morning for a kid’s show and ukulele petting zoo, stay for a free beginner class with me, and a free play-along, go upstairs to take advantage of one of the INCREDIBLE workshops taught by some of ukulele’s brightest stars and best teachers.  Go grab a bite in one of Santa Monica’s fab eateries, then come back for a ALL-STAR UKULELE CONCERT!  Special guests, the HUG ukulele group, recently featured in Ukulele Magazine,  will be joining us from the Sepulveda Veteran’s Campus.

There will be raffles of fantastic instruments from Koaloha and Ohana, prize packages from McCabes and MORE!!!!

What a day!

December 9th   10:30-10:30 at McCabes Guitar Shop 3101 W. Pico Blvd Santa Monica CA

Spring 2018 and Beyond

Paddling soon to a port near you!

Daniel Ward and I love traveling, near or far- and our schedule for 2018 is packed.  Here are some of the events we have scheduled.  Hope to see you there!

March 23 FAIRWAY LIBRARY, Sun City, AZ 4pm   FREE and open to the public.  We are thrilled to be dedicating their new ukulele lending library, teaching and performing.

March 24  7-8:30 pm  $10.00   Sundial Recreation Center, 14801 N 103rd Ave, Sun City  Special guests Craig McClelland (Santa Fe Ukulele), Doug Nottingham.     BONUS!!  Author CC Harrison will read from her ukulele murder mystery Death by G-String 

March 28th HUG  Los Angeles Sepulveda VA Campus, 16111 Plummer Street, Bldg. 22, Rec Room, North Hills, CA 91343   Daniel and I will be joining the Heroes Ukulele Group at their regular meeting at 10:30 am.  This group is free, and open to all friends of veterans. Read all about them HERE

April 3-5 Artists in residence WESTBOROUGH MA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

April 5th  7-9pm   WCUW 910 Main St, Worcester, Massachusetts 01610  $15 advance/20 door  Workshop and music!

April 27, 28, 29 VANCOUVER UKULELE FESTIVAL Vancouver, Canada

May 2 Bellingham, WA House Concert (contact me for more info)

May 4th SWEDISH CLUB,   1920 Dexter Ave. N.  Seattle, WA 98109 Your favorite two Swedish Meatvballs, Daniel and Heidi serve up musical fun with special guest Casey McGill and Matt Weiner.  We will even sing one song in SWEDISH!

May 5th PRIVATE house concert.  Jealous? You could book us too!  Just send me a message.

May 25-28 ASHOKAN UKULELE FESTIVAL Ashokan, NY

June 3 MCCABES KIDS SHOW, Santa Monica, CA

June 22-24 MIDWEST UKE CAMP Olivet, MI

June 24-July 27 Heidi is teaching MARLBOROUGH SUMMER SCHOOL for fortunate kids in Los Angeles, CA

July 12-15 Daniel will be at the ROCKY MOUNTAIN UKULELE FESTIVAL with a crazy all-star ukulele band! Durango, CO

July 16-22 Daniel will be teaching at CALIFORNIA COAST MUSIC CAMP Palo Alto, CA

September 21-23 TUNES IN THE DUNES Otis, OR

November 7-11 NEW UKE CULINARY FIESTA Santa Fe, NM