TEACH

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Cat Porrit and Cheryl Hansford in a teaching moment, Red Station Room, Tillsonburg Station Arts Centre, January 2017. In attendance: 18 Beginner players + 10 regular players = full house.

Next month we head back to the Red Station Room at the Tillsonburg Station Arts Centre for the Beginner’s class for Ukulele. This year it’s called “Learn to Play the Ukulele”. We are starting our fall session on Tuesday, September 19th at 6:30. We are also upping our music lesson participation fee to $5, and the lesson will be half an hour instead of a full hour. Our Play-Along Hour will now follow from 7 p.m. til 8 p.m. for 2 bucks.

With that out of the way, I also have to announce that we, the Tillsonburg Uke Society, a.k.a. the T’UkeS, will be giving up our Meet-Up page. We have made the unanimous decision ~ between Cheryl and I ~ to make it defunct. Last year the price went up by 20 bucks and became an American amount which converted to over $137 Canadian dollars which put us into overdraft. Our aim is to pay the rent at the Station Arts Centre first and foremost, then have enough funds left over to photocopy song books and have a little gas money. We are a self-declared not-for-profit organization. What we really want to end up with is a ukulele group that meets once a week in a pub or other public place to play songs and sing songs and have a really good time.

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Graham Nash, right, with David Crosby.

That being said, one of our enthusiastic members sent us this great song over the summer. She actually hosted a back yard get together for the T’UkeS and it went really well.

The song is Teach Your Children Well, written by Graham Nash of Crosby & Nash fame.

From his own web-site: “Legendary singer-songwriter GRAHAM NASH is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee-with Crosby, Stills, and Nash and with the Hollies. He was also inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame twice, as a solo artist and with CSN, and he is a GRAMMY Award winner.”

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Graham Nash 2013

The song: teachyourchildrenwell   this version by Dr. Uke.

Here is the 2013 video of him performing the song where he clearly says: “….dedicated to all the singin’ and teachin’ in the world.”

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Only Sixteen by Sam Cooke

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I’m sad, my uking friends. Google does not support the tags I put on my posts or songs any more. I have been reading a few posts by many people who have discovered the same thing, whether it be on their blog or, more commonly, their YouTube vid’s. Apparently these individuals have gotten little to no response from either Google or YouTube reps. Related image

My hubby’s theory is that we have to pay to make our web-sites searchable, which in essence makes Google no long a free resource. Congratulations to Google for having joined the ranks of commercialism! I feel creepy, like if I am no longer searchable then I cease to exist? I am now wondering why I am paying WordPress for the dot com at the end of my name….

These are the thoughts I ponder tonight as I sift through ukulele songs to take with us on our upcoming journey out East. Heading for the Eastern seaboard, the fair shores of Prince Edward Island this Friday. That may be why I’ve been transposing and arranging so many songs lately. Itchy strum thumbs!

Not to take away from the fine work of Sam Cooke, but his song of 1959 expresses my sentiment of yearning and pondering the future of my site. If my views drop down to none there is no reason to continue, is there? Will my site whither and stall? And what are meta tags and can they help me become a search result again??? Whoa – deep!

ONLY SIXTEEN CP

 

Summer Heat

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Wouldn’t it be great if our love was just Soooooo hot that when winter came we just wanted to go deep in the desert and let our love thaw the snow?  Like, wow! Whatever that means, in “music-land”, that must be some kinda heat, ya know?

All the lyrics I find on the internet, by the way, claim that line as “I yearned for the snow”, but if you get really relaxed and then listen to the song, like over and over and over, you will indeed discern the words, “our LO-ove thaw the sno-OH!”

So here is my poetic license, if you will, of Orleans classic 1976 hit, “Still the One”.

Still The One revised

 

 

Good Ole Neil ;-)

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Well, I hope ole Neil won’t mind, but I transposed the key for one of his hit songs, “Long May You Run”, which he once revealed in an interview to be dedicated to a beloved car.

I was going through the Bytown Uke Groups songs and having a great ole time printing out songs about Canada, of Canada, and some that were written by Canadians ;-), when I realized that someone who does the posting of songs for the group must be a Neil Young fan. There are umpteen songs at their site by him.

For many years, while I was studying piano, and then later, guitar, I was always interested in performing Neil Young songs but just as equally disappointed, because the man has a high voice. Within the last decade of my music playing on Ukulele, “doors” have really opened for me with the discovery of transposing. Suddenly, no song is off limits. The reason you are surprised I’m sure is because of my musical background. To clear that up, I will tell you that I learned to play classical piano at a very high level. In those days my friend and I who both played piano like demons, were into the new music us kids would hear on the radio. This was 1977 to 1984/85. So what we did back then was buy artists music books, like “Hits by the Eagles” or “Fleetwood Mac”, and then trade them back and forth, pooling our resources. We also bought compilation books by multi artists. I can remember lovingly – and by that I mean at the top of my lungs – playing AND singing “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” by Crystal Gale and “Georgia” by Ray Charles, over and over and over……. as well as numerous Eagles songs, Van Morrison, Dan Hill, Carol King, Janis Joplin, many folk songs like “the Unicorn Song”, “Puff the Magic Dragon”, as well as campire songs, songs by John Denver, lots of country songs by Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, and many, many, others. My father in particular was fond of “Trailer for Rent” and “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”, and “The Green, Green, Grass of Home”. He could sing!

At our high school they farmed us out for lunch period entertainment in the caf during the month of December, where we were to play Christmas carols – once again, classical music – but invariably, as the kids would come up and sit on the bench next to us they would start requesting “Christmas songs”, that would always lead to a good ole singing session of modern hit music. The song that usually did me in was a so-called Christmas song, “Another Old Lang Syne” by Dan Fogelberg, which would lead to other current hits. I got admonished by the Vice-principal numerous times but they never did fire me from this gig, as I was given this duty every year for 5 years straight. I couldn’t help myself: it always turned into an hour of fun.

Back then, we also studied to pass our music levels, and I remember now having to study transposing, but I literally never used it so it got pushed out of memory and, consequently, ability. Years later when I was learning to play guitar, that knowledge would have come in handy, for there were many songs that went by the wayside because I couldn’t sing them in that key. When I finally resurrected my interest in music using the ukulele, things were different. For one thing, I was no longer playing at parties or for friends, I was now learning and playing in a group. And you pick up all sorts of skills when you play regularly with others. About 3 years into my ukulele playing the benefits of transposing keys became clear to me and I have never turned back. Love a song? Can’t sing it in that key? No problemo:  presto bango, transposo, and voila!

I used to love many many Neil Young songs but when I heard them over the radio, I was never able to sing along. The man has a high voice! But many times I wished I could have performed on my piano or my guitar such hits by him but I never could sing it so I would have to turn the page. It has been decades since I even remembered what the problem was. So yesterday while I was printing out all these Canadian hit song sheets by Neil Young I was feeling that old disappointment again. Particularly with “Long May You Run”. And I started trying the chords on  my uke and literally saying to myself, “this would be much easier in the key of G”. The only problem was there was this daunting chord to transpose, the F#m, because you know, nothing’s easy with Neil Young! A couple of years ago I had gone down to the MUD Festival in Lansing, Michigan, and they had two or three group sing-alongs where they projected the song sheets, and one that they taught us was in the key of A with a Bm and a B#m, Cm and C#m, which I practiced for weeks afterwards. Yesterday I was realizing that I could incorporate some of those chords into the song to achieve the same thing. So it’s G, Bm, D7, Em and C, and then he has this little instrumental bit at the end of the chorus, which threw me. I listened to it and the closest I can get is C, then Eb, which looks scarey but is actually simple to form, G then Gaug (same thing) and back to G. Related image

I really find it interesting to attempt to play songs that were composed on a guitar by a guitar player. I mean, maybe they wrote the melody for a song on the napkin of a diner while eating lunch, I don’t know the process ha ha. But I’m finding that transposing songs into a more singable key for me is opening musical doors, and enhancing my enjoyment of music.

For a detailed description of transposing and how to do it, try these websites, but first download my transposed version of “Long May You Run” by Neil Young!

LONG MAY YOU RUN CP

https://ledgernote.com/columns/music-theory/circle-of-fifths-explained/

http://www.circleoffifths.com/#axzz4mLtcHSeR

LONG MAAAAAY YOUUUUUUU RUN!!!!!!

 

I Love a Rainy Night

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Ever get an “ear worm”? A song, or part of a song, gets stuck in your head, and no matter how hard you try to distract yourself you can’t stop hearing it in your head! Playing over and over and over……. Sometimes, it’s a part of a song we totally hate, but which has unfortunately become popular over the air-waves. And the radio station seems to be playing it over and over and over…..

The best that you can hope for is something you like gets stuck in there, and you end up counting down the hours at work until “Miller time” when you can rush home and get to your Ukulele. I find that playing my ukulele and transposing songs can help relieve the stress of my job tremendously. Having to focus on the chords, the words and the melody takes my mind off my troubles.

In the winter we like to get out to as much karaoke as we possibly can, sometimes going to as many as 3 per week. We have a group of friends and family who enjoy going around the karaoke circuit too, so we always have a great time. A couple of months ago Jeff’s brother threw a house party for karaoke and we wound up singing well into the wee hours of the morning – on a weekend of course! – and one of the songs chosen that night was I Love a Rainy Night by Eddie Rabbitt.

Man, I hadn’t heard that song in decades I bet you. I had forgotton what a nice, simple song it was, practically unplugged. I can recall that at the time when it was a hit the radio stations seemed to play it several times a day, every day. Over and over and over….ha ha ha.

So, I’m not going to bore you with the background of this song, heck I’m not even going to tell you the year, I’m just going to post my arrangement of the song with an accompanying video (of Eddie Rabbitt, not me). I will tell you my arrangement is in the Key of F, DUE TO THE FACT THAT: the Key of C as presented to me on the internet was too low, and the Key of G, which is one of my favourite keys to play in, was too high, leaving me with the keys of D or F. (Not E, nobody plays ukulele songs in the Key of E unless they absolutely have to, there is no other alternative, et cetera and so forth.) So, by a little thing called: “process of elimination” (much like Survivor only you’re allowed to eat and also sleep in a bed) I chose the Key of F.

Now, if only Ukulele players out there could overcome their…..fear? aversion? dislike? fear? of playing “the dreaded B flat” chord, just think of how much pleasure they could derive from playing such songs as this. So, Ukulele fans and players, I leave you with this little gem of a song arrangement and I challenge you to master the chord of B flat in order to enhance your enjoyment of this song in itself. Perhaps this song will kick off an interest in this key, after all it really is quite simple and all of the chords in this key are fluid (one position leads well into the next). Also, once you master the difficulty of the B flat chord you will feel quite smug about your achievement and possibly even brag about it to other uke players, ie. “B flat? I play that one all the time!” So get ready to join  the club, here is I Love a Rainy Night ~ I LOVE A RAINY NIGHT

 

Say That You Love Me

Image result for christine mcvie 70s1976. Rural Ontario. Summer heat wave.  Radio blarin’ on the picnic blanket in the shade of the back yard. First crush, first kiss, holdin’ hands with that special someone. These are the memories evoked when I hear the iconic Fleetwood Mac song, Say You Love Me, performed by Christine McVie. Love it!

Say That You Love Me G 2

So here is a good video of the band performing this song in 1977.