Changing the world, four strings at a time
Tonight we went to see Jake Shimabakuro at Bass Concert Hall in Austin. Jake is considered the world's best ukulele player and for good reason. He's taken a simple instrument places it's never been before, from a vibrant rendition of Queen's Hungarian Rhapsody to a heartrendingly delicate version of Schubert's Ave Maria.
His performance was amazingly vibrant for a duo, he plays with his whole body and never allows the audience time to get fidgety. His bass player Nolan Verner has exquisite technique (four finger picking) and complements Jake's music perfectly. He plays a four-string but I suspect he may have a BEAD tuning, at least I think I was hearing some thumping low notes.
We stayed to have our ukuleles signed by Jake. He spent time with each person who wanted an autograph and/or picture and made everyone feel noticed and appreciated. He's pretty much my ideal as a performer and a person.
Jake liked our Highland Lakes Ukulele Club business card; "Changing the world, four strings at a time."
Many thanks to our friend Daniel Adams for driving, his wife Carol Navarro Adams and our friend Katie Do for the wonderful company. It was a memorable and very special evening.
More photos soon!
We have Ukulele Club twice a month and we decided to host in a new location one of those meetings. Some of our regular members live in Marble Falls and we think another location might get some more members. The Marble Falls Public Library has great facilities and an enthusiastic staff, we were made to feel right at home. Here's our first meeting in our new digs!
What great good luck, our youngest members were able to attend this time. Abby and Micah came and had a great time strumming along. Daniel has obviously been practicing, because he sounds much better than he claims to, especially for a beginner! Thanks for coming out, y'all!
Here's some news. In order to meet a little closer to some of our members' homes and to try to build membership, we have booked the Community Room at the Marble Falls Public Library for the 4th Thursday of the month, beginning this month, same time.
Tonight was our bi-monthly Highland Lakes Ukulele Club meeting and we had bunches of fun. Our experienced musician/new member Lee was able to make it this time. Don fixed Liz's baritone uke that she played as a teenager, so that makes her an 'experienced beginner'. She jumped right in with enthusiasm and joy and she's got the fever like the rest of us!
We enjoyed our new members Daniel and Liz this meeting, both beginners and thinking this is just about as much crazy fun as they had imagined (or perhaps they were just humoring me). We played our old faves from the current songbook and I've vowed to get some new songs in for the next meeting.
Once again the computer and monitors are up and running so we can sit comfortably and read the song sheets. We had a couple of new members who got away before I could get a picture. Daniel got some advice from Don on choosing and buying a left-hand ukulele and Lee, an accomplished musician, came by to check us out and see what the club is like. Harriet stopped by and is seriously considering buying a uke, she gave all hers away to children.
We went over some of the regular songs and the Hawaiian/Island set list for the upcoming Luau at Gateway Villas in Marble Falls, should be lots of fun!
It's a great idea to tap your foot while playing, it improves your rhythm and adds a percussive depth to your performance. It makes learning strum patterns MUCH easier. Also, it's a lot harder to learn once you're an adult or you've memorized your favorite songs! Here's a great article on why and how to do it.
Here's the video, jump right in!
To celebrate summer, and for those of you with young children to entertain or teach ukulele, I've made a songbook of Children's Songs. They're on the Song Files page in a folder called Children's Songs near the bottom of the page. You can download them individually or as a Multi-Page PDF here or from the bottom of the Our Songbooks Page. The benefit of a multi-page .pdf is that you can scroll or 'tap' through the songs. They're a lot of fun and I must admit a certain inexplicable fondness for the Hokey Pokey. If you have any special requests, let me know by email.
Member Amber just asked me a question about ukulele straps. Personally I've found my hand gets cramped and painful trying to play and support the uke at the same time, so I've always used a strap. In some cases, constant tension can lead to tendinitis in the fretting hand. I found this nice video explaining the options and we can discuss it at future meetings. This will be a permanent item on our Resources Page. Happy Strumming!
Here's Ukulele Mike's take on Ukulele Straps
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