Archive | June, 2018

Chris Wilson Ukulele

Chris Wilson is an Artist composer Ukulele.
He make Master class and Workshop all over the world with his technics.
Like Children and people for share and Jam.
Long time ago he play and teach the art for show.
Welcome.

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When the muse moves you

I remain fascinated by the songwriting process, which is one of the reasons why I set up the OUS platform. Next year we launch the Music for The Head and Heart platform which is much bigger than OUS. This also has an element that looks at the creation and delivery of original music, but is not confined to any individual instrument.

Recently I was getting ready for a rehearsal for “The Caravan of Dreams” ensemble, playing the wonderful Gregor Nowak guitarelle. I found a really simple haunting riff that really stuck in my head. With 20 minutes before other band members turning up I scribbled down a couple of verses. This was one of those moments where the first draft is great and there’s a whole stream of consciousness going on where I’m writing as fast as I can to get down the ideas.

Instead of rehearsing what I had planned, we launched into this new track, literally hot off the press. My violinist and double bass player created an intro harmonizing both instruments which sounded amazing. We ran through the track 3 times with Agi on vocals and harmony vocals and it sounds so good, I putting it to the top of the list for July’s recording date. This is the fastest piece of writing ever, even faster than “There’s only one of you” which is on the first Small Change Diaries album and a favorite track for many.

My experience is that its helpful to be in a particular state when creating new songs and crucially not to start editing too soon in the writing process. This is a strategy used by Walt Disney when he created his films and Disney still adopt this way of working today. When the muse turns up its truly a fascinating process and its in my experience being like a channel for something to appear. Sometimes once the song forms I think “Where on earth did that come from?”

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Chrissy

Chrissy playing 2005. An original on ukulele

The following is a true story….

Once upon a time, in a country far away lived a little girl with a little red radio. At night she’d jump in bed, pull the covers over her head, and listen to her favorite artists. Sometimes she’d imagine herself on stage with them.

She raided her mother’s jazz collection and watched film musicals. She pulled a decorative guitar off the wall, restrung it, and taught herself to play. She performed in theatre, played on radio, started a band and toured, and wandered around the globe. She read tarot, and went to University to study music.

Many years later, she discovered a good portable instrument for the gypsy soul – the ukulele. She sold all her belongings  and joined a tribe called the Melbourne Ukulele Kolective in her native country of Australia. She played the likes of Hamer Hall and the Sydney Road Music Festival and appeared on Channel 7 News.

Then, the not so little girl embarked on her biggest adventure yet by moving to Los Angeles. She pet sit in a mansion overlooking the San Gabriel mountains and started a solo career and YouTube ukulele channel.

Chrissy has come a long way from her country town roots among snakes and kangaroos and now she’s exploring the USA. Join her for a night of indie pop inspired songs, rearrangements you’ve never heard before, and a good yarn or two.

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Writing to a theme: Liverpool Acoustic 24 Hour Songwriting Challenge by Alison Benson

As part of the Across the Threshold Festival, Liverpool Acoustic and the festival team ran a 24-hour songwriting challenge.  It worked that a theme was released at 1 pm on the Friday and any songs entered into the challenge had to be submitted (title and words) within a 24 hour time period.  The songs would then be performed the following afternoon.  Only the first twenty songs submitted would be performed and judged.  I wrote a song, composed on the ukulele with voice, and performed it…and I won, which I was really pleased about.  Here are my thoughts about writing to a theme – I’m going to ignore the deadline element.  The theme given in the 24 Hour Songwriting Challenge was Across the Threshold.     

The first stage for me was to mind map everything I could about the theme itself.  I considered synonyms for threshold which led me down a path of doors, being carried over the threshold, which then led to thinking about marriage. I went back to the idea of thresholds and was reminded of the poem ‘Gate of the Year’ about stepping out into the unknown new year.  For a moment, my mind went to the idea of the Greek God Janus, with a face looking forwards and backwards – both sides of the threshold.  None of these ideas stuck, but there was real value for me in pondering the theme and what it meant, playing with words and ideas.  I turned on the TV to the news that Tom Daley was speaking for LGBT rights at the Commonwealth Games.

The second part was then to run with the idea and link it to the theme.  Daley was speaking as though this was an opportunity to bring change, to step across a barrier that had been constructed – to cross a threshold. 

Perhaps the first and second parts aren’t so different!  The third part was the words, which gave me a bit of an idea for a melody, as well.  I worked around the idea of identifying what the problem is that I want to address in the song (the situation of LGBT people) and what would be a better situation.  The chorus, I felt, needed to include something clear about the theme but aware that the threshold has not yet been crossed, I referred to being ‘at the threshold’.  It was at this stage that I reached for my ukulele.

The final part was working it all into a song, so tidying the lyrics so they fitted neatly into the melody, adding a chord structure (which was already in mind, underlying the melody) and deciding how it would be performed.    As soon as it took shape enough, I began to record it so I didn’t forget it as I picked out notes and harmonies.  The first performance was on the guitar, although all subsequent performances have been on the ukulele. I’m still not sure which sounds best.

Something that was fascinating about the challenge was hearing the various ideas people had regarding the theme…there were no two songs the same.  I’d recommend choosing a theme or idea with friends and then going away, writing songs and sharing them with each other because you never what great ideas you’ll hear and how it develops your songwriting. 

If you’d like to hear the song Here we stand you can listen to it here: https://youtu.be/E5jUWQBBPFg

Or if you want to hear the guitar version, it’s here: https://youtu.be/7HfWZxHiilA

I’d be interested to hear which you prefer!

Alison Benson

 

 

 

 

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Pete SoHuman

Pete SoHuman is the stage name and philosophy for the musical creations of Pierre “Pete” Schumann. I write songs that range from folk to blues, Americana and country. The overall message is one of humanity, love and hope. Ukulele based music (Tenor/baritone) with occasional harmonica. I perform solo mostly, but do sometimes perform in duos and by groups.

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