Yesterday Once More

“People never think of entertainers as being human.
When you walk out on stage, the audience think,
‘Nothing can go wrong with them.’ We get sick and
we have headaches just like they do.
When we are cut, we bleed.”
Karen Carpenter

One of my fellow bloggers, Erika Kind posted The Carpenters song Yesterday Once More, which reminded me how much I enjoyed this song back in the 1970s.

So, after spending all day at the Ukulele festival yesterday, I was inspired to learn how to play some of my favorite songs.

Here’s a beautiful ukulele rendition I hope to learn of Yesterday Once More.

Shine On

Ukulele Festival

“Everything’s gonna be okay. The ukulele player is here.”

LA Ukulele Festival

The beginning of this month I started taking ukulele lessons. It turns out my ukulele instructor, Mitch Chang is an accomplished ukulele player. Mitch graduated from the University of Hawaii music program and has been teaching ukulele since 1994. He studied with the legendary jazz ukulele musician Bill Tapia. Mitch is also a long-time promoter for the ukulele and helped put together The Los Angeles International Ukulele Festival.

The festival is a full day of continuous performances by today’s hottest ukulele fingerpickers, virtuosos and singer/songwriters. There are also unlimited workshops for all levels, children & adults alike, beginner to advanced: introduction to ukulele, chord melodies, strumming techniques, & more. I also heard through the grape-vine that a celebrity from the popular television series Seinfeld will be at the festival.

I’m looking forward to spending all day with fellow ukuelites Saturday, September 26th. So, whether you are a complete beginner, a casual observer or a seasoned player, if you love the ukulele and would like to spend a fun day in the sun in beautiful Torrance, come on out to the ukulele festival.

Shine On

My First Ukulele

“One thing you might want to learn before
you attend the world’s largest
ukulele lesson is how to say ukulele.”
Mary Schmich

My First Ukulele

Today I decided to shop for a ukulele. The class I’ll be starting next month suggest that we use a soprano or tenor concert size ukulele. Of course I’ve already Googled everything about the ukulele, since I signed up for the classes.

I was surprised to learn that the ukulele is a fairly new fretted instrument. It originated in the 19th century as a Hawaiian adaptation of the Portuguese machete, a small guitar-like instrument, which was introduced to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants, from the Macaronesian Islands. It gained great popularity in the United States during the early 20th century, and from there spread internationally.

Ukuleles are usually made of wood. Cheaper ukuleles are made from plywood or laminate woods, in some cases with a soundboard of a tonewood such as spruce. The more expensive ukuleles are made of solid hardwoods such as mahogany. The traditionally preferred wood for ukuleles is koa.

Typically, ukuleles have a figure-eight body shape similar to that of a small acoustic guitar. They are also seen in non-standard shapes, such as cutaway shape and an oval, usually called a “pineapple” ukulele, invented by the Kamaka Ukulele company, or a boat-paddle shape, and occasionally a square shape, often made out of an old wooden cigar box.

Most ukuleles have four strings; some strings may be paired in courses, giving the instrument a total of six or eight strings. The strings themselves were originally made of catgut, but modern ukuleles use nylon polymer strings, with many variations in the material. Some of the lower strings, particularly on the larger sizes, are wound with aluminum.

Thankfully, the ukulele that my instructor has recommended is the most common and standard type of ukulele. It’s the smallest ukulele and is known for its thin, jangly sound commonly associated with ukuleles. Because it’s so small, its perfect for my small hands and fingers as well as convenient for traveling.

Now that I have a little bit of knowledge about the ukulele, I’m ready to head off to shop for my first ukulele.

Shine On

The Next Dawn Ho

“If everyone played the ukulele,
the world would be a better place.”
Jake Shimabukuro

Dawn Ho

A few months back I put together some music for my husband that I knew he’d enjoy.

There’s one song in particular that he enjoys and it’s one of my favorites as well. The song is Izzy’s rendition of, Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Growing up, we both enjoyed listening to the ukulele. Don Ho was very popular four decades ago and was famous for his big hit, Tiny Bubbles. The only other ukulele players I remember were Elvis and Tiny Tim.

When my husband came home from the hospital last week, he asked me if I would do him a big favor. He asked me if I would learn to play the ukulele. “The ukulele?” I asked. “Why do you want me to learn the ukulele?”

He told me he had been looking through our local “Adult Classes” brochure and saw that a ukulele aficionado was teaching a class for beginner ukulele players. I didn’t realize how much he enjoyed the ukulele.

What can say, I love my husband, and if learning to play the ukulele will make him happy, I guess I can learn to play. I’m actually looking forward to learning to play this cool little fretted instrument. Who knows, maybe I’ll be the next, Dawn Ho.

Shine On