My Name, It Is Sam Hall

Ed very sad.

I just wrote several thoughtful paragraphs about my experience with something of a creative drought through most of 2006, then lost it with an accidental page-back or page-forward thingy I couldn’t recover from in OmniWeb.

OK. Here’s the file I was going to post: Sam Hall. The first ukulele song I’ve recorded, and very nearly the first I’ve played, in many many months. From the chords on Alligator Boogaloo’s uke songbook.

Gotta get to bed. Maybe I’ll write up what I can remember tomorrow.

If you’re not familiar with my glorious one-take-wonder uke songs from back when I used to post them here, they’re not being posted because they’re “good” but because I enjoy making them and like to share. Download if you want the experience of sitting in the living room with a not particularly skilled ukulele player playing while he reads chords and lyrics off a web site. Don’t download if you don’t.

Nighty night!

AFTERTHOUGHT: I have had the song “Harris and the Mare” by Stan Rogers in my head tonight. I’d love to play that. Anyone know where I can find chords for it?

Ukulele Category

The Ukulele seems to be becoming a full-on phenomenon. Who knew. I first started thinking about the uke when Topher turned me on to Israel Kawamiko’ole Kawakamiwo`ole (thanks Doug for the spelling lesson!). Then I heard about game designer Clinton R. Nixon picking up a uke. Then my bud Joe, already a fine guitarist, picked one up on a whim. I started getting interested in making music, initially because I wanted to try making some remixes… but then I started thinking about trying instruments. Joe offered to trade me his uke for some art or something, cause it was just sitting in his closet. It’s sweet.

Soon I was recording “Ring of Fire” and the Zippers’ “Hell.” Awesome.

Suddenly ukes seemed to pop up everywhere. Adam Black pointed out that one of his fave webcomics, Yirmumah, was running a “how to play uke” series in lieu of comics, and that they had in fact already presented Ring of Fire.

And tonight while reading metafilter I came across a Robot Ukelele Player Project. Lego based. (Mefi had already shown the uke some love in the past.)

Clearly the Day of the Uke is upon us.

So I need a category for it.

Life Update: Uke

“Work is pollution” — Bill Mollison

I’m getting better at the ukulele, without even trying.

Specifically, without the joys of the Inter Nets to distract me, I’ve done things like played the uke for fun. Without an intent to practice or get better or do anything but be happy playing with it and listening to the sounds come out, and see what happens.

And I can now switch from chord to chord (among the chords I happen to know, like G, C, D, Dm, A, F) a lot more smoothly than I could before. Enough so that I can sit there and noodle around and play a few strums on this chord, switch to that, a few strums on that chord, switch to this, and so on, and it sounds like actual music.

If I get around to recording any I’ll put it up as an mp3, but I’m almost afraid recording it will spoil the magic somehow.

Maybe it’s not magic, though.

Maybe it’s better to learn things when you don’t pollute the learning with work.

UPDATE: I’m so frustrated. For the past day or so my uke has refused to accept a tuning. It’s got the cheaper friction pegs, not the gear kind you see on a guitar, and I guess it’s the heat and humidity or something but they slip right out of tuning. I can turn it to the right tuning and let the peg go and SHOOF it turns a quarter turn and several notes out of tune. Most frustratingly of all I can sometimes get all but the last string tuned, and that one just never yields. Ah well. I hope it gets better when things dry out and/or cool off.

UPDATE 2: all is good, I noticed the little phillipshead screws embedded in the pegs that let you tighten them!