Oops- the flier has the wrong date! Haha! I’ll fix that soon, but for now, take my word for it, it’s SUNDAY THE 17th of NOVEMBER!!!!
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.
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
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.
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.
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
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
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
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!
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
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
Lights and feasts and family and song- It’s that time of year! We all want to share something meaningful with those we love. This year, why not make it musical? Here are four ways to give gifts to self, gifts to the universe and gifts for all ages on your list this holiday season.
First- why not bring a song to your celebration? How about learning the uke just in time for the season of song? Here are our class listings for December at McCabes:
1-DAY INTRO TO UKULELE (HOLIDAY EDITION) JUST ADDED
Learn the basics of playing ukulele to your favorite holiday tunes! Pick up strumming, plucking, and chording a ukulele while singing along to Christmas, Hanukkah, and secular seasonal songs from many cultures.
Heidi Swedberg 10:30 – 11:30 AM Saturday, Dec 9 (1 session) $40
HOLIDAY UKULELE JUST ADDED
Follow up Heidi’s one-day ukulele class with this more challenging course. Learn fun tunes that consist of few chords and simple arrangements. You’ll leave with plenty of songs to share with your family and friends this holiday season.
Heidi Swedberg 10:30 – 11:30 AM Saturday, Dec 16 (1 session) $40
ARPEGGIO MEDITATIONS FOR UKULELE JUST ADDED
Learn a collection of warm-ups and short songs that help develop your tone and dexterity (and sense of rhythm), all while producing beautiful, meditative music. These arpeggio “loop” exercises can help beginning and advanced players develop more expressive playing. Practicing doesn’t have to be a chore. With these tools, you can relax with your ukulele and get better everyday!
Daniel Ward 12:00 – 1:00 PM Saturdays, Dec 9 – Dec 16 (2 sessions) $70
Death by G-String C.C. Harrison, a uke pal from Arizona has published a grand ukulele murder mystery. I LOVED the galleys, you’ll LOVE the book
Arpeggio Meditations for Ukulele Daniel’s long-awaited book is out and hot. Already entering it’s second printing, the book is a unique take on the ukulele, offering musical studies which are meditative and beautiful while being educational. (Right now he is offering a special holiday offer- FREE shipping when you buy any 2 or more items, including all our CDs, his book, and Color-Along Ukulele)
Color-Along Ukulele Want to learn ukulele? Like to color? Why not do both at the same time! Download the FREE companion recordings so you can listen and learn. Learn your first twelve chords, play great songs- even one in Hawaiian, and do that doodle that you do so well. FUN FOR ALL AGES.
Ukulele Magazine Daniel and I have been enjoying contributing articles and lessons to Uke Mag, and I think you might like to have it delivered to your mailbox! You could get a digital only subscription, but there is something mighty fine about the definite article and with their Holiday Subscription special it is really affordable! (We are giving more than a few of these to those on our list)
Mim’s Ukes Her motto is “Every uke deserves a great set-up!” And when you order a uke from Mim, that is just what you will get!
Ordinarily I tell people to go to their local store, but with big chains eating up local merchants there are few cities lucky enough to have an honest music store with high-end and student models and a luthier willing to stake their reputation on the set-up of every model walking out their door. Many internet retailers know nothing about ukuleles besides their profit margins, and would never take the time to work on the action of an inexpensive instrument, or guide you to what level ax you should buy.
But then there is Mim. She ushers you into her living room, whether you walk in to her shop through the barn door in Meadows of Dan, VA or the World Wide Web. I have never met anyone so passionate and dedicated as Mim. Whether your needs lead you the most or least expensive instrument in her stock, she will be sure you are well-matched, and your instrument is the best it can be.
TERRY HARRIS If you want a hand built instrument, Terry is your man. Now that he has fully retired from ranching, the instruments he is building are more beautiful than ever- and the sound is… wow. We visited him at his Kernville, CA ranch over Thanksgiving weekend where he strung up his latest build for us to try out. It blew us away! He has a few more wood sets just like this, and if you are fast and smart, one of them could be yours.
Fourth and finally- SHARING
PICKLEBERRY PIE This year, Pickleberry Pie, an organization that sponsors concerts for hospitalized children is raising operating funds. Daniel and I have loved going room-to-room at Cedars Sinai’s pediatric ward, visiting kids and their families, making them laugh or sing a baby to sleep. The calm that music can give, the bond it creates is no small thing. Help this organization continue it’s meaningful work.
A lovely review of Arpeggio Meditations. Go, dog, go.
Arriving home after a late flight from Spain I was greeted by a large pile of envelopes on the doormat. Amongst the pile of white letters – most of them with those officious looking windows that you’d rather not receive – I spied an A4 sized yellow envelope. Dumping the rest on the kitchen table – who wants to read their bills at 4am – I opened the more interesting yellow envelope. First Class International from LA didn’t disappoint. Inside I found a signed copy of Daniel Ward’s new book Arpeggio Meditations for Ukulele.
The first thing that struck me was the title. Arpeggio Meditations for Ukulele sounded like my kind of book. It was playing simple arpeggios on the ukulele that awakened me to the beauty of the instrument and got me hooked. I was tempted to break out the ukulele and start playing through the pieces but that…
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