MEDITATIONS FOR (and on) UKULELE

UPDATE: Daniel’s book is OUT!!!  And so are the VIDEO TUTORIAL!   Go to www.Danielward.net to get yours.

 

For the last year, Daniel has been writing “studies”.  If you are someone who has dipped their toe into classical music, you know that these can sometimes stand alone as solo performance pieces (think Villalobos) or be exercises to strengthen your playing (like Hanon for piano). Daniel’s split the difference.  They are simple pieces to play in loops, beautiful to listen to, calming and centering to play. Students and festival workshop participants have been enthusiastic about them, so he’s working on putting them together in a book.

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Daniel will be teaching a sampler of studies at U-Space this weekend, and the following weekend he will be joining me teaching ALL AGES- that means kids, adults and in-between.  And then, there’s that Sukey Jump Band show at McCabes the next day.

UKULELE MEDITATIONS WITH DANIEL WARD

This Saturday, March 11 at U-Space: TWO workshops with ukulele master Daniel Ward highlighting pieces from his forthcoming book “Arpeggio Meditations for Ukulele”.

Arpeggio Meditations are soothing, rhythmic and melodic instrumental compositions for repeated playing. They teach both right and left hand techniques, and offer a relaxing discipline for improving tone and musicality. The simplest exercises are great for all levels of player, from the novice to the professional, who is ready to focus intently on technical mastery and expression. The more difficult exercises include challenging patterns and Latin styles.

TWO one-hour workshops, $20 for one, $35 for both.         Sandwiches will be available for purchase between classes for attendee convenience.

11:30 am to 12:30 am   All-Level Arpeggio Meditation,

1:00 to 2:00pm     Montuno Arpeggio Meditation

 

Saturday, March 18th at U-Space: TWO workshops for ALL-AGES Active participation in the arts is one of the best ways to inspire creativity and confidence–and the `ukulele is fun to boot!

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Family style!

`UKULELE FOR All-Ages with HEIDI SWEDBERG and DANIEL WARD : A workshop for adults, kids, and families starting on their musical journey. Sing and strum a dozen songs in just one lesson. This class is open to all, ages 5 and up. (Participating parents MUST accompany children between the ages of 5-8. Children 8 and up may come alone, though parental participation is highly recommended)

10:30 am to 11:30 am   $25 includes “Color-Along Ukulele Method Book” and participating parent admission, (or $35 for both classes! Sandwiches will be available for purchase between classes for attendee convenience.)

CONTINUING UKE FOR ALL AGES- Kids, families, adults learn together, adding picking techniques, new chords and rhythms. Increase your skills so your musical enjoyment can grow.

12 noon to 1:00 PM $20

SUKEY JUMP BAND KID’S CONCERT at MCCABES

Sunday, March 19, 10:30 am  $10, kids under 2 FREE

Mccabes will be providing some percussion and kid-friendly instruments for the wee folk participate with.  Come play, sing and have fun with Heidi and the Sukey Jump Band at our favorite LA venue!

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Here are some other events we have scheduled:

April 8  ISLAND SOUL Daniel and I will be teaching FREE classes during the day (more details TBA)   Chapman University, Orange CA

April 29    BLACKBIRD GUITARS

April 30   DaSILVA UKULELE

May 12-14                 MIGHTY UKE DAY, LANSING MI

May 19-21                 LAS CRUCES UKEFEST 2017 Our friends in the southern NM are putting on their first full-on festival- My Mom and I are working up a piece!

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.

June 21    MAKE MUSIC DAY at the SKIRBALL CENTER  we will be teaching a ukulele class at noon.  Come play!

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 return for a show during the Paul Simon exhibit.  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 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.

 

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It’s All About the Kids… and the Booze

aka: Academia de Ukuleles de la Ribera / Consider the Cazuela

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See, I had this idea that I would write an extended metaphor about how the new uke program started by the Club Ukulele Laguna with the La Semana de Uke-Culinary retreat folks and the mixing of a great cocktail are complicated miracles, that when all the elements are assembled with art, love and diligence the result is magic.  And then I’d reference MFK Fisher…  but really, it’s just all about the kids and the booze.

Kids first, drink recipe later. Priorities!

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First strums and smiles. That’s what the ukulele is all about.

Rounding up enough instruments for the program was step one, but throwing a bunch of instruments out into the wild won’t make it happen.  It is the fun part, though, and that was where Daniel came in.  We had the pleasure of passing out a batch of 14 Ohana ukuleles, purchased by and hand carried down to Ajijic, Mexico by the La Semana de Uke-Culinary retreat participants.

Here they come, ukes in hand!

Here they come, ukes in hand!

The hard work, organizing the program, getting the ukes together and into the country, putting together the program, finding the teacher… was done mainly by Elaine DeMann, ukulele raconteur, and Ajijic denizens Sheila Ruof and Judy King.

The wonderful Sheila- as feisty as she is dedicated!

The wonderful Sheila- as feisty as she is dedicated!

Material support has streamed in from the local ukulele club, the CUL Kids. They have provided additional instruments to the growing program; a classroom set of our forthcoming book, COLOR-ALONG Ukulele (just a few more days left to pre-order!) and have raised funds to pay a teacher.

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***Tonight, March 24, 2015 is their FUNDRAISER event!  If you happen to be in Ajijic… ***

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Everybody loves Lalo! Elaine and Sheila are no exception.

The teacher: the key element in making it all work, and boy, did they get lucky on this front!  José Eduardo García Espinoza, aka “Lalo” is a beautiful musician and human.  His kind smile and relaxed, modest manner melt any resistance. The kids love him and are inspired to impress.  Young, handsome, approachable, he is an accomplished musician and an experienced teacher who can create an atmosphere of passion and discipline. Lalo has been working with the kids every week at the community center, and the videos we have seen show just how focused they are.  They have progressed beautifully.

Lalo, who plays guitar and a host of other strings is fairly new to the uke.  Underrepresented and hard to find  in Mexico, he picked up a very basic starter soprano while in the capitol about a year ago, and fell in love.  Louis Wu at Ohana has generously offered to send Lalo a tenor-sized cut-away with a pick-up fit for a professional.

NOW, on to THE BOOZE!!!!

Kristi and Ross didn't like theirs at all!

Kristi and Ross didn’t like theirs at all!

A Cazuela, a clay bowl, is used to serve the epimonus drink.  Elaine had commemorative bowls inscribed for La Semana de Uke-Culiaria which we drained and took home.  I believe her secret recipie, passed down from her mother who was an event caterer, used pepsi.  Maybe there was some other stuff in there too. Vodka? You can’t fault me if I don’t remember…  It was a highlight of the trip.   This one looks simple to make.  Try it out- invite me over!

2 oz tequila
1 dash salt
1 sliced lime
1 sliced orange
1 sliced grapefruit
1 sliced lemon
1 tsp grenadine syrup
fill with Squirt® citrus soda

In a cazuela that is made of clay, put ice, salt, a slice of lime, orange, lemon, and grapefruit. Add grenadine, tequila, and fill with squirt. Use a straws to shake, and serve. Hilarity will ensue.

CHEERS!!!!!

CHEERS!!!!!

Reno Uke Fest and the Ohana Bass

The last song... with everyone on stage!

The last song… with everyone on stage! Photo by Ivan Olarte

“How many instruments do you need?” the flight attendant asked as we boarded the plane with a guitar, the Ohana bass and two ukuleles.  The honest answer was more then we can cary on, as we had an additional re-enterant uke checked as baggage.  And of course my shakers.  If I had hands free I might have snapped a shot of us filling the overhead bin.  But honestly, beats schlepping a cello or two!

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Cell Phone star Daniel Ward teaches Sevillanas. 70 cell phones and one still camera- thank you Ivan Olarte

The festival was fabulous.  Smooth organization, happy workshops, collaborations with friends, and a great venue with great sound and a great crew.  Makes life mighty easy and sweet.

DaSilva Flamenca

Michael Da Silva has a little flamenca in him. Literally. Photo by Craig Chee

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Flamenquitas Olé! Photo by Deborah Haight

 

carrot girl

Catskills always kill with Gerald Ross. Photo by Craig Chee

and that theatre…

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Daniel and the Ohana bass were on stage most of the night, doing songs in our set, including “Play That Funky Music, White Boy” ( he would be the boy) and Gerald Ross played it for a few of our songs.  Daniel brought it back out for a bunch of songs in the second set with Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel.   The next night Jason Arimoto played the fretless version for Daniel Ho. Ohanabass Daniel

It’s a sweet axe, and Daniel’s made a video to tell you all about it- click HERE for his review.

Jim D'Ville proves there's no wrong way to play it!  Photo by Craig Chee

Jim D’Ville proves there’s no wrong way to play it! Photo by Craig Chee

Big Bunny!

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We had a hoppin’good time at the LA Zoo over the weekend, playing 10 shows in 3 days and hanging with the Big Bunny.  We packed breakfast burritos with green chili and lunch burritos with red chili to share with another New Mexican, Luis Guerra who played the sassy new Ohana bass.  (Can’t wait to take this little powerhouse to the Reno Uke Fest this weekend!)

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Who can resist a  carousel?  Sure wish we had the chance to ride in the Dung Beetle Chariot!

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The Lovely Lilly!

You never know who you are going to meet when you take (or teach) a class at McCabes.  Lilly came to Daniel’s Bossa Nova workshop last month, and may have passed out of our lives had she not WON THE KALA UKULELE!  I asked her a little about herself- and what a great musical story she had to share.  I wanted to pass it on to you.  We have serious designs on drafting her for the band now.

Ladies and gentlemen, LILLY (in her own words) AYCUD!

with her sleek new Kala Travel Tenor!

with her sleek new Kala Travel Tenor!

“I’ve been playing trumpet since the age of 12.  I moved to LA in 2003 from Virginia and have had the great opportunity to play trumpet with various artists and groups, most notably Ben E. King, Julian Casablancas (from the Strokes), and Matt Nathanson.  Currently, I sing and play trumpet, percussion, and ukulele with Mexican Alternative singer, Ceci Bastida. 

I got a degree in music education so I also teach general music and orchestra at a private elementary school here in Los Angeles. I enjoy learning how to play instruments.  At home, I have a piano, electric piano, trombone, flugelhorn, several trumpets, flute, theremin, guitars, bass, and drums, and a marching glockenspiel.  I’m obsessed with instruments! My students get my passion, so I have students, who, by the time they graduate in sixth grade, will know how to play 3 or 4 instruments.  I just had a 10th grader come back to play some double bass for my music classes today.  She sings and plays piano, clarinet, double bass, and bassoon.  I love that!

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As far as the ukulele, I bought one two years ago because I wanted to make a recording of “Tonight You Belong to Me” for my future step-mother-in-law.  She loves that movie, The Jerk. I love how Bernadette Peters plays the trumpet at the end and Steve Martin, of course, plays the ukulele.  So, I went to McCabe’s and bought my first ukulele.  I taught myself how to play ukulele from watching Ukulele Underground videos and printing out songs from Doctoruke.com.
I’ve started teaching ukulele at my school, too.  I have an after school ukulele club.  We just bought 6 Ohana sopranos so I can also teach some ukulele during school.  Everyone here thinks I’m the nutty uke lady, but the kids love it!
Last year, I went to Menucha Ukulele Camp in Oregon for a week-long workshop.  I was so impressed by the teachers there.  James Hill and Paul Hemmings really showed me the possibilities of using the ukulele as a solo instrument.  Last summer, I began taking private lessons with Abe Lagrimas.  He’s been showing me how to create chord melodies for jazz standards, improvise, and other cool things.  He’s so great!
Now, I am devoting way more time to the ukulele.  It is so different than the trumpet.  I really enjoy being able to sing and accompany myself.  I can entertain myself for hours and I can do it almost anywhere.  And now that I have a new travel ukulele, I really can take it anywhere and play!”
Thanks, Lilly!  And thanks Kala, for providing the instrument that helped bring us all together.  Learn more about Lilly at her website, http://www.lillyaycud.com/
And please, come join the fun.  This Saturday I am teaching a tidy closed chord family which travels up the neck and gives players superpowers.  Lots of fun and singing, and you never know who you might sit next to!
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Shows, workshops and MORE in PHX

Here’s our schedule for Phoenix later this month- with a big shout out to all the great people who helped us put these gigs together, especially Jim D’Ville!  If you don’t already know about Jim and his adventures, check out his website- Jim and his lovely wife live in an Airstream trailer and spread the love of ukulele around the country and the WORLD!  (we are thrilled that Jim will be leading the Weekend Ukulele Warriors to victory on March 1.  More on that soon!)

SATURDAY, February 22 10 am and 11 am

The Children’s Museum of Phoenix   All-ages good time music with the band.  Here’s a review of the last time we were there. (thank you Zooglobble, aka Stefan Shepherd) This time we’ll have Craig McClelland on Bass (and tuba if we can scrounge one! anybody got one to lend?) and Daniel on uke and more.

Our man Craig holds down the low end

Our man Craig holds down the low end

SATURDAY, February 22 6:00 PM to 11:30 PM

Global Family Philanthropy Imagine 2014    While we are in Phoenix we will be attending a gala fundraiser for GLOBAL FAMILY PHILANTHROPHY, the wonderful people we went  to Haiti with a few years back.  Please consider attending this event or donating to the charity- we will be adding a UKULELE BASKET to the items to be auctioned.  Tickets HERE.

The kids in Haiti enjoying a meal with the ukuleles hanging on the wall behind them.  We painted the mural and chords for 3 Little Birds on the wall for them to play!

The kids in Haiti enjoying a meal with the ukuleles hanging on the wall behind them. We taught them 3 Little Birds and they taught us Wi Wa!

SUNDAY, February 23 1-4 pm

The Refuge Café   4727 N. 7th Ave. Phoenix, 85013

Clinic and Concert with Heidi and the Sukey Jump Band at a FANTASTIC new coffee/wine bar- this place has endless great reviews and donates it’s profits to charity.  Did I mention beer and wine?! Lets jam!

$35. Concert and clinic

THURSDAY, February 27 3-6 pm

Sun City Ukulele Club   Concert and Workshop. Come and meet a great ukulele community.  You might find yourself joining!*** We will be raffling a beautiful OHANA Zebrawood CK 15Z

Ukulele with gig bag!***

$20 RCSC members/guests add $2

Come and get me!

Come and get me!

BUT WAIT- THERE’S MORE!!!

Daniel Ward and Craig McClelland (aka the Sukey Jump Band of the moment) will be doing a big, wild and crazy ROCK SHOW and there’s rumors that CHER might be making a guest appearance!

Daniel gets up close and personal with Cher at last year's 1973 fundraiser for PVCC

Daniel gets up close and personal with Cher at last year’s 1973 fundraiser for PVCC

7:30pm, Saturday March 1st,  2:00 pm Sunday, March 2nd

Spirit of ’76 – 2014 Fine & Performing Arts Scholarship Fundraiser

PVCC Center for the Performing Arts
   The 2014 Fine Arts Fundraiser, titled SPIRIT OF ’76, features some of the biggest hits from 1976 including songs from The Eagles, Bob Seger, Queen, KISS, Tom Petty, Boston, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, Billy Joel, Hall and Oates, The Doobie Brothers, Steve Miller Band,  Peter Frampton, Blue Oyster Cult and much more!