Seventeen (again)

Hello, 2017!

Today is January 17th, known in Nordic countries as the BACK OF WINTER. In France, 17 is the number one calls to get the police. It is a prime number, the ‘least random number”, and most happily, the alcolhol content of Baileys.  (Thanks, Wikipedia)

…And here we are. Seventeen Again.

2017 will be a historic year for all of us. We watch it unfold with trepidation, ehxilaration and know already that it will be a year none of us will forget. It is a call to action. A crucible. We have some private projects coming to fruition, things we are passionate about- sharing songs from other lands and languages, building bridges of music. As we roll up our sleeves and get to work we feel the courage of love and dedication.

There are also some exciting events on our schedule, a few  not ready to announce, but here are a dozen or so we may. They give us hope- something to look forward to, something to work towards.

January 19-22         NAMM   Daniel will be there the 19 and 20th. I will join him on the 21st.  If you are going- send us a message, and we’ll make a plan to meet up!

February 3-5           FLAMENCONE Dancers Jesus Munoz and Valeria Montes meet us in Kernville, CA for a festival flamenco! Classes in flamenco uke, dance and palmas, plus concerts, Spanish food and good times at the Piazza’s Pine Cone Inn.   Want info? flamencone.event@gmail.com

February 11              McCABES GUITAR SHOP 1-DAY INTRO TO UKULELE

March 19                   Sukey Jump Band (kids show) at MCCABES

May 12-14                 MIGHTY UKE DAY, LANSING MI

May 19-21                 LAS CRUCES UKEFEST 2017 Our friends in the southern NM put on their first full-on festival!

June 19-July 31        MARLBOROUGH SUMMER SCHOOL I will be teaching early childhood music and ukulele on a beautiful campus in the heart of Los Angeles. If you have little ones needing some summer day care, or older kids wanting enrichment, this is a chance to breathe some rare air at a (somewhat above) ground level price.

July 30                       SUKEY JUMP BAND AT THE SKIRBALL CENTER We loved our Bill Grahm show at the Skirball two years ago, and we are thrilled to retur for a show during the Paul Simon exibit.  Expect songs related to this great artist, from folk, to pop, to world beat. An amazing opportunity to really stretch and shine, teach and jam!

August 11-13           AUBURN GOLD PAN UKULELE FESTIVAL We are thrilled to join Dani Joy at this vibrant new festival in a town we have never experienced! Can’t wait to meet the lovely folks of Auburn!

September 20          CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL AND CEDAR’S SINAI KIDS SHOWS

September 27          PORT TOWNSEND UKULELE FESTIVAL Now that there is an OYSTER BAR on the premices, this event may be unchallengably the tastiest ever! This event sells out shortly after it is announced every year. If you are already signed up- see you there! If not, look into it, and cue up for next year.

October 14                ANTELOPE VALLEY UKULELE FESTIVAL   Honored to be returning to Lancaster to celebrate the love of ukulele and community with our desert ukulele ohana.

October 20                KYUke FESTIVAL  Lexington KY is ready to POP with ukulele excitement.  More info on this festival as it filters in.

 

 

 

 

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Lizzie’s Luxury Straps

I love people who make things, I love beautiful things, and I LOVE LIZ!  Elizabeth Olney makes BEAUTIFUL THINGS!    …and Christmas is just around the corner!

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Well-worn pieces from Liz- many are more than 10 years old

I have known Liz for years…nearly 30! We met, mere pups, in NYC at a time when every woman I met in Manhattan had an industrial sewing machine in their loft. It was a creative time for me and for NY, when artists could still afford to live there.  Like all the artistic women I know, Liz has done many things, but she is best known for her sought-after creations in leather.

lizzy, back in the day

Lizzy(with Seji and Mika), back-in-the-day

If you know me, or have seen pictures of me performing you have seen Liz’s work.  The flowers in my hair are her leather clips.  The sparkling bracelets I wear are hers. The handbags and wallets, key chains… Liz’s amazing leathers.

She’s put purses on oscar winning shoulders and belted the best of them.  This past year I asked her to make a ukulele strap for Daniel Ward, so he could shine as literally as he does figuratively.  They are EXQUISITE.

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Dazzling Daniel teaching a workshop at St Andrew’s Church, UFGB 2016

Like extended versions of her Swarovski Sparkle Bracelets they catch the sun or stage lights and shower a million rainbows around you.  Lined with lambskin, the strap is soft as butter against the skin.  Simple, elegant and dead sexy, this is the ultimate gift (or gift to self) for any ukulele player. She will also make them without the sparkles, if you prefer.

We worked together to make a versatile length strap, that would fit both me and Daniel as we share instruments on stage.  It slips on to either two strap buttons or on an end button and around the headstock. (On his tenor sized KoAlohas, Daniel prefers the strap around the headstock, to balance the length and weight, while on concert Ohanas we like it to go button-to-button, and keep out of the way of the left hand)

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Black-on-black: subtle and sexy

Liz prefers to make things one at a time, special order, and her prices are INCREDIBLY REASONABLE.  Check out her amazing color choices for leathers and stones, check in with her about what is available now, and ORDER NOW for the holidays. (She gets mighty busy from October on)liz purse

Liz’s Travel bag… Don’t leave home without it–  I don’t!

LA Ukulele EXPO 2016

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Join me next Saturday, July 9th in Little Tokyo, the heart of downtown Los Angeles, for a mass-celebration of ukulele! There will be jams, demonstrations, give aways, concerts, talks, and free lessons- Who knows, we might even break a world record!

I will be coming straight from McCabes, where I am starting a 3-week class– there is still room if you want to join- and will jump right in to leading a sing and play along, including Hawaiian songs, Japanese songs and favorites songs you can sing and strum along with- even if you have just learned your first chords!

HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!

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El Ukulele Goes To London

imageEl Ukulele Goes Abroad (with the broad)

Daniel will be playing at the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain this month, and making a mini-tour afterwards. I’ll be with him through June 24th and look forward to taking in a bit of the Brit Uke scene. Please, if you are in England, say “hi” to us at one of these events!

June 16th-19th
Ukulele Festival of Great Britain
http://www.ukulelefestival.co.uk/TheFestival.aspx

June 20th
Workshop and concert at Worchester Ukulele club 7:30pm
http://www.worcester-uke-club.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/drummondsbar

June 21st
Visit UnplugTheWood open Jam lead by Mike Krabbers
At the Lion Brewery in Ash
June 25th Workshop and Concert in Bournemouth at the
Southern Ukulele Store 2pm

June 26th Ukefest West
Fingerstyle workshop with Daniel at the Half Moon Putney –All day event with lots of activities:

Festival Date – Sunday 26th June 2016
Schedule based on start at 11:00 and end at 22:00
UFW organisers – Terry Smith, Michael Stannard, Tara Maysey, Lottie Livingstone.
With Geoff Price on the day.

Daytime events ‘Venue Room’
11:00 -12:30 Beginners workshop & Open Jam session. Run by TS, GP – Free
12:45 -13:45 Intermediate workshop. Run by TS & GP – Free
14.30 -16.00 Stage performance – West London Uke groups – Free U-Kew-Lele, Hanwell, New Malden, Teddington
16:30 –17:30 Decibelles workshop (Close Harmony singing) – £15

‘Outside area’
12:00 – 13:30 Open Mic sessions. Winners get to perform main stage at 18:00 – Free
14.30 – 15.45 Finger picking workshop – Daniel Ward – £15

Merchandise stalls in main bar.

Evening event – Main stage – £8 online adv, £10 online on day £12 cash on day
18:30 – 18.45 Stage Performance -Winners of Open Mic
18.55 – 19.15 Stage Performance – Daniel Ward
19:25 – 20.10 Stage Performance – The Half Moon Ukes
20:20 – 21.05 Stage Performance – The Decibelles
21:10 – 21:20 Joint Set / Encore –The Half Moon Ukes/ Decibelles
stage – £8 online adv, £10 online on day £12 cash on day Stage Performance – Winners of Open Mic.

Marching Forth (as April May)

 

Hope springs eternal. As does music.  Are they not, fundamentally the same thing?  Neither could I live without.  “So, in a world of snow, of things that come and go, where what you think you know you can’t be certain of you must believe in spring and love“.

Here’s some of what is on our calendar this spring:

3/26 KALA Ukulele Day in LA at USPACE with Jim D’Ville.  I will be using my new book “Color-Along Ukulele” for my all ages class, and you get a copy to keep with class admission!  Win a Kala Waterman uke– Giving away one per class!¡! 

4/2 WAKE UP with the Waves at the Santa Monica Pier   all ages- FREE!  10:30 am-noon  We will have a crazy fun band, including Paul the Trombonist

4/16 UKULELE DAY at WILMINGTON Los Angeles Public Library Branch  all ages- FREE!!!!  (Check out their free 6-week class for kids and teens starting 3/9!)

4/24 RACHEL MANKE  lets us sit in with her at the Coffee Gallery

5/5-8 WEST COAST UKULELE RETREAT in Asilomar. If you have never been… GO! (if there are still rooms available) This is a FANTASTIC retreat with great instructors in the most beautiful, peaceful place you can imagine.  And the food’s great, too!

 

We are heading across the pond to England in June, where Daniel will be playing the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain.  To prepare, he is scheduling private house concerts and a public show at U-Space on May 21.  More details to follow as they solidify.  This will be a great show with a guest bass player and El Uke will be debuting some very snazzy new material as well as playing selections from his CD EL UKULELE.  Give it a preview!

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Good Times at McCabes

This Saturday I will be starting a new 3 week session of UKULEAR FAMILY at McCabesand we have a SUKEY JUMP show there on Sunday February 21 at 11 am!

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photo by Jill Richards

What is the UKULEAR FAMILY?   It’s an all-ages beginning ukulele class. Sometimes I have a room full of kids (under 8 require a participating adult). Sometimes I have all grown-ups! No matter how the demographics come together, we always have a grand time and learn a lot. Mixed ages might seem impossible, but I treasure the space where we all learn together. The truth is, adults and children all need the same thing to learn: clear instruction, repetitive practice and patience. 

Childhood is a time of magical growth. There is a golden window when a child has achieved the motor skills and brain development necessary to play an instrument, but the self-critical voice that says “you aren’t good enough” does not yet ring in their ears. They are shameless! And that is their greatest strength.

Many adults leave music when the leave their childhood and don’t return until they are old enough to step past that wall of shame. When you no longer care what others think, you can be like a child again- fearless and ready to take things on. It is a glorious time in life! Some adults are escorted into freedom by their children, they come hand in hand. Some adults have longer to wait until they have the time to pursue the things that bring joy.

However you come to make music, (and I sincerely hope that you do), if it should be that this Saturday you are ready to start playing, all the better! Meet me at McCabes Guitar Shop in Santa Monica at 10:30 am.

…perhaps if you are really feeling fearless you can join us on stage for a number when we have our….    SUKEY JUMP!

What is a Sukey Jump? It’s a song and dance party, where people get together to make their own fun.  That’s why we named our band the Sukey Jump Band!

Sunday February 21 we are making up a set list of our favorite dance songs and are playing them in McCabe’s famous concert room for all ages at 11 am.  Funk and folk come together, and we will move and groove for an hour. It’s only $10 (kids under 2 free).

 

Why I Uke

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Thank you, Ukulele Magazine, for asking me to write this article.  I love reading people’s comments about the friends they have made through ukulele, about playing for Alzheimer’s patients, about songs of childhood which still sing in their soul.

May 2016 bring us all more opportunities to share, to love and to connect.  Here’s to raising our voices together this sweet 16!