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!!!!
The SECOND EDITION has arrived!
With a few small corrections, the 2018 edition of COLOR-ALONG UKULELE is in stock on my website and at Ukulele Magazine’s store! This is a fun method book designed to be used by ALL-AGES. If you are an adult, you will enjoy the step-by-step lessons and familiar songs. If you are working with kids, this is a handy guide to get them going and keep them strumming, complete with a page of helpful classroom hints. Great for kid’s groups, classrooms, families and individuals!
Tunes start simple, with one chord songs that even the most newbie players can successfully strum. Every new song teaches a lesson and draws on a world of traditions, from Scottish, Mexican, German and American folk traditions. There’s even a song in Hawaiian at the very end!
LEARN BY EAR
A companion soundtrack accompanies this book, and it’s FREE! These recordings were created so that you can listen, learn and play along, and are extended with fun additional verses so that players can get their groove on. If you are a teacher, the long playing tunes allow you lead a class in a musical game, or let students listen while they tune up. Or, to the point, COLOR-ALONG to the songs as you learn them!
Kids too young to play can learn the songs by ear, and basic music concepts by listening. Families can learn together. It’s fun for all ages.
Books are available at Danielward.net
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.
I have written about Survivor Girl Ukulele Band several times here- These are girls in India, rescued from Human trafficking who are living in shelters and learning to play ukulele! They have a very modest Kickstarter project right now. Do not hesitate- SUPPORT THEM! A very small contribution will get you a copy or download. A larger donation will feel soooo goood! And- the music is LOVELY!!!! What are you waiting for? Click already!
Some New Mexicans are adamant about the spelling- CHILE is the good stuff: pedigree Hatch or Chimayo. Chili is the Texas dish, a stew, with meat and beans. Spelling NEVER having been my strong suit, I am agnostic as to how it “should be” spelled. I just returned from NM last night. What’s the first thing I do this morning? Pull some green chile out of the freezer!
Since Ukulele Magazine published my RED Chili (chile) recipe I have had lots of people ask me where to buy good red chile. I found a great source of Chimayo red chile, the BEST in the world, in Santa Fe last week during the Uke-Culinary Fiesta.
We were singing “Celito Lindo” under the water tower at the train station farmer’s market when I noticed the man in the booth next to us singing along. I skipped over, took his hands and we polkaed around. After the show he called me over and invited me to taste the red chile he had ground the day before. Divine! I left the market with a bag of his green and red as well as his card. If you want the REAL STUFF call Chencho!
We made posole and enchiladas and all kinds of good food last week, we made music and made merry; we made memories. I love these retreats. After each one I come home inspired and happy, with new friendships and songs.
There’s one coming up in Ajijic, Mexico at the end of January. I know we will be cooking with chile there, too. Chili- a great way to escape winter’s chill!
If hollandaise is the mother sauce of French cuisine, red chili sauce must be the madre of New Mexican food. When Old World meets New World magic happens- breakfast fit for El Rey! (recipe follows)
I am looking forward to the cooking element of our Santa Fe adventure as much as the music! First thing we will cook will be both red and green chili sauces. And I’ll be putting recipes and songs and photos together into a book. I hope you will reserve a seat at the table!
Even if you are not staying with us at the Inn, you can join in- there is a walk-in option on the registration form, and soon we will open individual workshops to registration. (if you want to be first in line for the open registration I suggest you subscribe to the Ukulele Adventures blog post.)
And everyone is welcome at the public events, including a full-on Flamenco show at El Meson on Wednesday November 4th, and the Smoking Jackets Giant Show at Tiny’s on Friday November 6th. Or come enjoy hearing the participants play at the Farmer’s market on Saturday morning or at La Choza Saturday night!
Full disclosure- the title of this post is the chapter heading from The Making Of A Cook by Madeleine Kamman. That’s the book which made me a cook. Everything I know about eggs, cakes and sauces comes from the 1971 edition of this book. I give it as a high school graduation present to every kid I know, as I think learning to cook a good omlette can save your life. My copy is held together by tape, nostalgia and love, and I still consult it every time I make crepes.
My hollandaise recipe has become somewhat free-form, but you can accomplish something like the sauce shown in the photo above if you try this:
Wisk 3 egg yolks into a cup of cold, good NM red chili sauce, add a little lemon zest and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Over a medium flame wisk constantly. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of COLD butter. The butter will melt as the chili and eggs come to temperature and you will have a no-fuss emulsified sauce. Pour over poached eggs nestled onto an english muffin or polenta or spinach…to make a NM Benedict. Or serve with fish or asparagus.
Just be sure to make enough for me, because once I hear you are making it I may show up on your doorstep- Or- join us in Santa Fe and I’ll make it for you!
A new card has been added to the deck.
My partner, Daniel Ward, is finishing up his first uke-centric CD, “EL UKULELE”. The crafty title alludes to his particular genius of infusing flamenco technique into pint-sized Hawaiian strings.
Daniel recorded at our favorite studio, Third Eye Studios in Tijeras, NM this summer, and David McRae, engineer extraordinaire, is mixing and mastering now. Listening to the roughs, hearing this take shape is a treat. The songs range from classical to pop, covers of the Beatles, jazz standards and original compositions. Some are instrumental single-take solo tracks, some are richly layered with bass and drums, backing vocals, even horn parts. It is a great journey; one which I know will be rewarding to listen to over and over.
His next step is mastering and art, then replication. He intends to have copies in hand for the holidays. There is an opportunity to pre-order through his website, and you can listen to a sampler of the songs, as well as see a video of him recording the Hawaiian classic “Aloha ‘Oe”.
Self-producing means artistic freedom, but it is costly. No matter how much you DIY, cost outlays can make production an unshoulderable burden. Song rights, layout and art, pressing actual CDs all require cash on the barrelhead. Pre-sales make it possible. Supporting the arts by buying music is a gift to yourself. Giving sponsorship to artists you love- that is a gift to the universe.
Go, look, listen. here’s the link —> EL UKULELE <— You’ll be glad you did. They don’t call him El Ukulele for nothin’!
Reason #1: Wardrobe. You get a swell looking jacket and cravat, plus a jaunty hat!
The Smoking Jackets are hitting the road in trio formation- John Bartlit, Daniel Ward and I will presenting the first Rocky Mountain Ukulele Festival in Durango, Colorado. We have a great day of workshops planned, starting Friday July 10th with our “song of the year”, Silly Love Songs. The next day will be filled with classes: 3 sessions of 3 classes, offering a beginning, intermediate and advanced class each session. (I wish I could take John’s ukulele percussion class!)
Reason #2: Smoking is good for you. When you are doing it on an instrument, that is.
At the end of summer John will be coming out our way and we three will head up to the Wine Country Ukulele Festival together for four days of ukulele fun, September 10-13. We will be teaching, performing and doing all things ukulele, including a public show at Velo Vino on Sunday afternoon, September 13. The festival in Wine Country is everyone’s favorite because, well…wine. Ukulele. ‘Nuff said!
We are working out details for a show or two in Los Angeles before John flies back to New Mexico, and will update the schedule with that soon.
Reason #3: It makes you seem sophisticated. That’s our motto- “Sophisticated, Educated, Medicated”.
In November all four of us will come together in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico for the New Uke-Culinary Fiesta. Highlights of this event include two public shows, one for the Smoking Jackets and a full-on flamenco show. There will be great workshops in a beautiful setting, plus we will be teaching cooking classes focusing on combining New Mexican and classic European dishes. Old world meets new- or as we like to call it, Nuevo Mundo. And there will be big-time BBQ- our other favorite way to SMOKE!
(For the record, none of us are smokers, nor do we endorse the use of tobacco. We’re just in it for the costumes.)
“And when we find ourselves in a place just right….”
I believe in the power of art to improve lives- music, dance, performance arts, visual arts… all forms of art are humanity’s conduit of connection, and every person has the need and ability to express through art. Stepping away from entertainment into engagement is the most healing thing I know.
Although it seems like a lifetime ago, just last month I was upstate New York at Ashokan Center teaching at their ukulele camp. A balm to the soul: beautiful place, beautiful people, beautiful music.
This time around I taught a class in overcoming stage fright through improvisation. Beginning improvisation is about getting out of your own way- letting go of the idea that you need to be funnier or smarter, thinner or younger, betterer. We focused on freeing ourselves from judgment and shame, knowing that we are all good enough as we are, giving ourselves permission to fail and to not waste time worrying about what other people might think. I believe I have earned an honorary Doctorate on this subject.
Working alongside people you love, and people who love you is a reward of it’s own.
This past week was more than a bit surreal. Returning to Hollywood from the sheltering paradise of Ashokan was abrupt and rude. I have an even greater perspective of how fortunate I am to be in a place where I am confident, happy and valued and I am thrilled to be doing work I consider meaningful and necessary.
I sang “Simple Gifts” a few days ago at one of the pre-schools where I do a music program. Wise, beautiful “Q”, a boy of 5, commented “Valley of delight? We don’t need to find somewhere else- we are already there!”
Yes, we are.
(Thank you for the images, Stewart Dean, imagovitae.org, CR 2015)
Bringing ukuleles to Haiti or India- isn’t that a bit frivillous?
Yes. It is. Ukuleles are silly and fun. But you know if you have ever been in a hard place, love and joy can lift you on to your feet. Here are a few stories about Haiti and India and ukuleles and love.
Two ladies I know with similar names, Laurie and Lori know a lot about this. Lori Goldberg is the Mother of Global Family Philanthropy. Daniel and I went to Haiti with her a few years ago with a dozen ukuleles in tow. Laurie Kallevig leads the Survivor Girl Ukulele Band. She is playing ukulele in India right now with a group of girls (and boys!) who have been victims of human traficking. It’s not about discovering the next virtuoso– although you never know– it probably won’t help any one of them make a living (I can tell you how well it’s working for me!) It is about else-something essential and intangible: hope.
With your help we will be sending both groups support materials, CDs and copies of COLOR-ALONG Ukulele. (The Kickstarter campaign is almost over- If you wish to order a copy or fund a program make sure you get in before April 1!)
Read this blog post of Lauries–It will help you understand… Why Does She Love Me? is about one of her girls, facing her struggle to understand love. Laurie now has two “chota teachers”(little teachers) helping her- her first part time employees! All the stories in her blog are so beautiful I can not do them justice by exerpting, I suggest you read them through.
The Haitian taxi is a pickup-truck. Rain or shine, 15-50 people sit and stand in the bed of old Toyotas and bump up and down the roads. Rain or shine, you get a great view from there.
Not only did I see the lives of the people who live there, washing laundry in streams, cookig by the roadside, but I got to see my own life flash before my eyes quite a few times.
The end of the commute to the orphanage was always the best part. As we crackled up the rocky drive the children would stream out of the whitewashed concrete block home, running to greet the truck, chanting “gee-tar, gee-tar!!!!!” (Their name for the the ukuleles) until we had taken them down from the wall and passed them around for the day’s first impromptu lesson.
I have no dillusions about my impact on other people’s lives- I fully realize that the gift I recieved was greater than anything I left behind. The laughter and the joy, the love I felt will be with me always and has made my life better.
Laurie has given a huge part of her life to the girls in India, and I think she would be the first tell you how much she is receiving in return.
There are many ways to be rich.
Be frivilous with your wealth, indulge in joy. Laugh. Play. With love, the more you give away, the more you have.