Archive | July, 2017

DeG

 

DeG is an ukulele performer/Songwriter based in Atlanta, GA. He performs original songs and covers of pop songs, but also Hawaiian language songs at luaus and Polynesian festivals. His original music has appeared on 2 charity compilation CDs, Ukulele Underground United : Song Still Remains, and Ukulele Players United to Decrease World Suck, Volume 1.

He founded the Southeast Ukers ukulele club in 2009 which currently has over 450 members on it’s Facebook Group. He also is the organizer of Chattahoochelele, which is an annual ukulele event near Atlanta where a flotilla of innertube riding musicians drift down the Chattahoochee River playing their plastic ukuleles. The 2017 event expects upwards of 50 participants.

A multi-instrumentalist (bass, guitar, drums) he plays cajon in the ukulele reggae band Drop Ready, featuring Seeso and Greg Golden.

Follow DeG on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeG.ukulele/

Follow Drop Ready on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dropreadyukulele/

Support Kiva microloans to help improve the lives folks in developing countries by downloading this CD or donating to the Kiva fund: https://ukuleleplayersunitedtodecreaseworldsuck.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.kiva.org/team/ukulele_players_united_to_decrease_world_suck

Proceeds from this Ukulele Underground compilation will benefit the Duchenne Foundation for boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy:https://store.cdbaby.com/m/cd/UkuleleUnderground

DeG

Musician/Band

 

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Scrab’

 

I’m Scrab’ from Corsica (small island between France and Italy) About me and my music? After a few years of guitar between blues and metal I met my first ukulele. Click, musical turn, I stored the guitars and let my fingers drift on this little instrument … Little instrument that has charmed me for over ten years now. I do not pretend to play the ukulele… I play with a ukulele, not even to pretend anything, I simply follow the road that inspires my partner with four strings. Minimalist, simplistic, intimate pieces … Maybe a little bit of it all. I was talking about click: Do not look for more, on the contrary … undress, propose the simplest expression, if possible in modesty … I rely on your perception…
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And you can tell everybody, that this is your song – by Jon Rissik

A seventeen year old Bernie Taupin penned the lyrics to the seminal Your Song in 1967. They are simple, sweet and possess a glorious naivety of youth. The story goes that he scribbled the words down quickly on a scrap of paper over breakfast at Elton John’s parents’ house, where he was staying. Elton then followed up by writing the music in about 30 minutes. To paraphrase the song, it all seems quite simple, doesn’t it? Elton and Bernie went on to have their first pop hit, and the rest is…well, I’m sure you know the rest.

Okay, so we may not all find inspiration like Bernie and Elton, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from having a go at writing an original song, no matter their age or experience.
I began playing the ukulele about three years ago, having taken a twenty year break from singing, (and playing the odd clunky guitar chord), in a number of bands. As a young man, writing and performing songs was my passion. It was all I wanted to do in life. Unfortunately I spent most of my early twenties sitting sweaty-palmed in numerous record company offices taking painful rejection after painful rejection. Either the verse of the song I had co-written and sang was great but the chorus wasn’t, or the song didn’t get to the chorus quickly enough, or it got there too quickly, or there was one great song but the label were looking for three killer cuts. I just couldn’t get past that initial play through. As the process wore on I started to spend less and less time thinking about making music that I liked, that moved me, and all of my time trying to second guess the reaction of the next faceless record company executive I would be sitting across a table from. As a result not only did the songs become disjointed, but the musical styles became highly reactionary.

Quite simply, I would look at what was in vogue and create solid but uninspired versions of it. So, when the highly produced Stock Aitken and Waterman sound was all the rage in the UK and Europe in the late 1980’s, there I was singing about teenage romance in my Jason Donovan-inspired leather waistcoat. In the early 1990’s when the Manchester sound of Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses was in full bloom, I was on the periphery, hanging around the Arndale Centre in my Joe Bloggs t-shirt trying to get noticed. And when Seattle became the most important musical city on the planet, I was loitering just out of sight, desperately trying to clamber aboard the bandwagon. At one point I became so lost musically that I actually joined a group called Bandwagon! Oh, the irony of it all!
The point of all this is that I stopped writing music that I wanted to hear. It was like I turned up to the best party in the world, about five minutes before the power got switched off and everyone was sent home.
When I made my decision in 2015 to begin playing and performing with the ukulele, I decided for the first time that I was going to write my songs for me. If people liked it – great. If they didn’t like it…well, I liked it, and in my mid-40’s I could live with that.
For me, when you start writing original songs it’s a bit like jumping into a cold swimming pool. You can stand on the side and wonder how cold the water will be, or you hold your nose and jump in, knowing that you may feel chilly at first but after a few minutes your body will adjust and you will start to feel warmer and most importantly, have fun.
Over the past two years I have struggled with chords, melodies, song constructions and lyrics. It can be frustrating, and the temptation to stop trying and knock out another Van Morrison cover is high. But occasionally inspiration comes, and when it does it’s like capturing lightening in a bottle. Boom. There it is. A few weeks ago I wrote an entire song – chords, melody and lyrics – in about thirty minutes. It’s probably the best thing that I have ever written and I am mid-way through a series of studio sessions to capture the track professionally. I may not be Bernie Taupin or Elton John, but I have found my song.
I highly recommend you go out and find yours. It’s out there, if you just look hard enough.

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Craig Anstey

I am a musician from Newfoundland, Canada. I’m predominantly a guitarist but I dabble with a host of other instruments, one being the like.

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Mike Turner

Mike Turner is a songwriter/performer living on the Gulf Coast in the USA. He started writing songs 5 years ago, after taking an adult education class in beginner’s ukulele, and has over 85 original songs to his credit. He primarily plays baritone ukulele, along with tenor uke, tenor guitar and banjo, and dulcitar; and writes in multiple genres including blues, folk, country, gospel, jazz and trad pop. Mike’s recordings have received terrestrial and Internet radio play in the US, UK, Europe and on the US Armed Forces Radio Network, and are featured in the score of the upcoming WWII documentary film, “Path of the Past.” He was named 2016 Male Gospel Entertainer of the Year by the Alabama Music Association, and 2017 Male Gospel Entertainer of the Year by the North America Country Music Associations International. His original ukulele gospel song, “He Died For Me,” was awarded second place in the 2017 Worship Songwriting Contest. Mike is a member of the Port City Songwriters Assocation and the Bay Area Songwriters Association in Alabama, and is currently at work on folk and gospel recording projects.

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Aireene Espiritu


Aireene Espiritu is a singer/songwriter playing mostly original songs accompanied by latin/african rhythms, folk, bluegrass pickings and inspirations from gospel music – a mix of stompin’, swayin’, and timeless Americana.

She was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States at 10 years old, growing up in the third culture: the old country, the new country and a blend of both worlds. Mainly influenced by listening to Alan Lomax’s field recordings from the South and growing up listening to her uncles’ Filipino folk guitar fingerpicking, her music is reminiscent of front porch storytelling, of ghosts and the living, times of laughter and tears. She tours solo as well as with her band as Aireene & The Itch.

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The Naughty Corner Ukulele Band

The Naughty Corner Ukulele Band are a three piece outfit based in Worcester. They are all-singing, all-strumming, toe-tapping Ukulele players with a diverse songbook. The band formed at the start of 2015 primarily as a group of buskers to raise money for a band member to run the London Marathon. However repeated offers to play gigs, festivals and weddings encouraged them to commit more time to performing. Regular appearances at local venues and on the streets of Worcester have gained the band an enthusiastic following in the town and on social media.

Last year the band released their well received debut CD entitled “Ukulele Fundamentalists” playing much of it live at high profile events such as the Severn Sounds Festival, WestFest and the Worcester Music Festival.

Here are some of our recent original songs on YouTube.

Lost for words https://youtu.be/iPDTIloGFZI
Love my hats https://youtu.be/3OPfH71uzhY
First world problems https://youtu.be/ooIWImu3peA
Changing Behaviour https://youtu.be/EYgmPO-O3E0

You can also find us at:

https://www.facebook.com/TNCukuleleband

the_naughty_corner@outlook.com

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Songwriting with art by Alison Benson

Each year, Liverpool Acoustic (an organisation which promotes acoustic music) runs a Songwriting Challenge. The challenges are twofold: The first is that potential competitors visit a local art gallery and select a piece of art to write about and the second challenge is a time limit – there are three weeks for you to choose the art and then write the song.
In 2016 I was a finalist for the songwriting challenge and was winner of the audience vote on the night of the final. I thought I’d write my ideas about writing a song in this way because I really enjoyed the process, found the challenge exciting and wrote what I hope is a decent song!
The first stage was to select the painting and this one jumped out at me, in part because I love a good cup of tea and so was attracted to the teapot! In many ways, selection was the straightforward part of it. Then on to writing the song….

I printed a copy of the image, with space around it to write and then I examined it. I wanted to know every detail of the image and then try to build a story around it. I wanted to know why the woman on the book looked so similar to the reflection in the tea pot. I wanted to know what sad series of events had led this woman to sit alone in such a stark room. I could see a half full (half empty?) bottle of wine reflected. A story began to formulate, perhaps she was waiting for someone who didn’t expect her to be there or perhaps she was waiting for someone who had kept her waiting long enough to drink the wine they were supposed to share together. I wondered why there were no curtains and the moon shining on such a melancholic scene added a further shade of sorrow.

I pieced a story together – the woman was led along by the person she’s waiting for. She was given gifts (the black pearls she’s wearing) and promised all kinds of things only to be let down. Her sadness at what had happened turned her heart and she became mad with rage and that is why she’s waiting…she’s waiting to end the unfinished business.
I was struck by the imagery of the necklace she was wearing and thought that would make a good line in a chorus and so then I played around with words that would match, rhyme or contrast. I knew that the verses needed to tell the story and so I incorporated the story I’d made up, elements of the painting and idea about how the woman might feel. I played around with some chords and the tune fell in with the words reasonably quickly.
Having the image gave me some strong ideas about creating a story, reflecting upon the emotions I wanted to communicate and making a song that engaged the listener.

If you wanted to write a song in this way, I’d suggest the following:

• Choose a really interesting picture
• Spend time reflecting upon it, working out a story or scenario or even a mood
• Consider the kind of song that leads to – cheerful, sad, nostalgic
• Work on the music or lyrics or both to create something that draws the above points together
• Then share it with other people. It can be so hard to put a piece of yourself out there, but also such a joy!

It would be great to hear some of your art inspired songs on Original Ukulele Songs Platform. Here’s Black Pearls (Unfinished Business): https://soundcloud.com/user-34273884/black-pearls-unfinished-business

 

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