I’ve been playing Baritone Uke, (Buke) for a couple of years now, and getting a bit adventurous. In a town nearby to me lives a very talented lady named Leanne. Leanne is an artist, a teacher, a conductor, and a singer, amongst many other talents. In September of 2018, she ran a Spring Sing workshop. This workshop was for harmony singing in songs she’d arranged. 6 weeks during Spring, 2 hours on a Saturday morning in one of the prettiest towns near to where I live, only 1/2 hour drive away. Winner!
I went along for the singing workshop, and lo and behold, she was teaching the whole workshop, and the harmonies, using her Ukulele as accompaniment. And, as I found out,she was superbly talented on her instrument. Like no-one else I’d seen locally! I was blown away.
Now, I just need to clarify something here. I have a rather personal dislike of what I call ‘tinky tink’ on the uke. That ‘Tink, tinky, tinky, tinky, Tink, tinky tinky tinky’ strum pattern! Ggrrr. To me, it is this repetitive pattern that gives the Ukulele it’s name as a toy, rather than a serious instrument. I’m going to write further on this later, because it’s a pet gripe of mine, but I understand that some like this sound, and I don’t mean to offend you if it’s your thing.
Leanne never did tinky tink, or if she did, it fitted in perfectly with the songs we were singing. I learned so much, and…..we sang so well, given none of us were professionals. Here is a link to one of the songs we did.
But, more to the point, Leanne is going to run a monthly workshop this year 2019. And I’m going to be part of it! Yay!!
The learning list includes all the things I’ve been teaching myself online; picking and singing harmony at the same time, hammer-on/hammer-off, pick-strum, chunking, etc etc. Whilst the you-tube videos are really helpful, there is nothing like real face-to-face interaction, and with someone as talented as this lady, my next few months are going to be very exciting.
I had to buy a Concert Uke, (Cuke) because Leanne and I agreed that it would be better for her to teach everyone using the same tuning, GCEA, and then I could go home and transfer what I’d learned to the Buke.
And interestingly enough, now that I know a little bit more about music than when I first started, I am finding that I really enjoy the sound that comes out of the Cuke. I love finger-picking with this one, re-entrant tuning gives so many more options for single notes..
The Cuke was a cheapish one, but it’s okay for learning. I just have to experiment with strings a bit. I’ve purchased a set of fluorocarbon to try. Any suggestions on whether this will give a nicer tone, before I put them on? Uke brand is Aklot.
I know there are different types of learners. I know I can lock myself away in my room and go over and over and over what I want to learn, or I can listen and play along one hundred times. But the idea of learning directly from someone who plays the Uke exactly how I want to play, is quite thrilling to me. I am excited for 2019!
About the title. I haven’t titled this properly. The name of the song is actually Music for a found Harmonium by Penguin Cafe Orchestra It’s one I aspire to play on Uke, but that is a few years away yet. If you haven’t heard of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, they are worth a listen. There are other versions of this on you-tube too; an Irish version by Patrick Street, solo Acoustic guitar version and a Uke version too, all very nicely done.