October 14 2013
A very small rollup today (4 people!). But a very very worthy practice and arranging session.
We had a really good go at Royals, with Judy singing the lead. The SoundCloud and video will help others pin down the parts. Penny is off to Burma – enjoy Penny!
September 30 2013
Shirley was back with us today after a short break.
We started with Lily the Pink in G and D.The aim being to reinforce the importance of listening so we know when to change chords without reading them.
The quest for the meaning of the word ‘efficacious’ used in this song resulted in many suggestions and Mark’s love of language meant that this word was used non-stop throughout the morning.
Judy played her favourite Jack Johnson song for us on her new uke.
Sue D and Shirley seemed to really enjoy Let it be me.
Sway had plenty of swing with Judy and Yuki soloing.
We played Pumped up ukes and arranged it further. The chorus was made interesting with different singers while Yuki played arpeggio which Mark termed as most “efficacious arpeggiating”
We will be without Mark next week as he is travelling o’seas – ostensibly to have teeth repaired but most probably to get the real Writer thing happening –
i.e. 1.starvation from work on his teeth.
2.drug induced ravings that may come from the dentist’s drugs.
3.sense of alienation from being alone in a strange land.
23 September 2013
Another beautiful and fun morning at Fingal but with quite a few ukers missing.Hope everyone is back in the beer garden pronto.
The Bowlers even complained that the music was not loud enough for them this week.
We started with Red Hot and then You Are My Sunshine played extremely fast.
We played AJ Leonard’s lovely arrangement of What a Wonderful World.
The intro which looked daunting at first became easy when we played the A flat maj7 in the G shape on the 3rd fret then slid up and across for the Fm6 where we put the little finger on C and then took the first finger off for the Gsus.
At the end of the piece we kept that same G shape for the last three chords just moving from the 3rd to the 5th to the 7th fret.
Wooden Heart was truly international with Yuki singing the German in Japanese.
Susie thought Let It Be Me sounded like Beethoven’s 9th so it seemed logical at the time to play Purcell, which we did in 3 parts.
We finished the day in groups of 3 with someone playing chords in the 12 bar blues progression while the other 2 did the call and response using the D major pentatonic notes on all the strings and then using the C pentatonic.
After talk of discords and death metal, the devil’s interval, tritones, Stravinsky and blowing your brains out to get a good album cover, all the action we could muster was Michael throwing coffee over his ukulele.
However,maybe we were subconsciously into Speed/thrash metal while playing You Are My Sunshine!
With more people we could have lifted the volume and had headbanging Bowlers on the greens.
Monday 9 Septembe, 2013 – report by Penny
Back with us at Fingal today after a long stay in the U.S. was –Barbara C.!!
Our first song was All I have to do is dream.
Michael was doing such a good job dreaming he popped a string !
His A string, so he jumped straight onto one of Mark’s great sounding !! compact!! travelling !! Kala ukes!! (ed. too many !!!!!s Penny!!!!)
We learnt we could use the C pentatonic to improvise on All I have to do is dream.
“They’re red hot”, a new song, was fun and we took turns to sing the verses . We need to remember to “scan” words to see how they should fit into the rhythm of a song.
The old v8 supercar war between Fords and Holdens was revived for a minute there as Sue D introduced her own words into the song.
There are Secondary dominant chords in this song like most Tin Pan Alley songs and it is in the key of C . We can maybe try soloing in D.
Living next door to Alice came next and because we were only familiar with the chorus we tended to treat the verse in the same manner when there is really very much a laid back spoken type of thing going on in the verses.
We got out our fluffy dice (12 bar blues) and our woolly mammoth which is both a circle of fifths or 4ths depending if you turn left or right and finished by sitting in very close, (knee “touchingly” close) proximity in groups of 3 . One person played the chords in the 12 bar blues progression and the other 2 did call and response using notes from the C pentatonic or if you were clever like Susie,using many other notes as well.
And if any of us thought we’d opt out of uke and the discussion of the Key of C and its Secondary Dominants and join the Probus meeting inside the club, we were stopped in our tracks by the Dominants therein, presenting — Istanbul, in “Tur” Key– endless home slides starting at 1200bc .
p.s. we had a new person in the form of Jenny P, from LTP! Welcome Jenny!
Monday 2 September, 2013
Always love Mondays, Ukeing is always a great start to the week. Spring has definitely sprung, Mark’s Hawai’an shirt is a sure indicator of the weather.
Today we dived in to Daisy a Day by Jud Strunk, a sweet number from the 80’s. Unfortunately he had a heart attack whilst flying his plane and was taken to uke heaven at the age of 45. Could say he strunk out too soon.
Thence on to Royals by New Zealander – Lorde . Latest in the NZ hit parade Jun 2013. Interesting words Can’t see myself singing the line “and I’m in love with being Queen” . Oh and the lyric concerning everybody ‘s like should be Chrystal , Maybach, diamonds…. (Maybach being the top of the range engines used by Mercedes.. Jane) then it begins to make sense.
Next we were off on to the circle of 5ths. again Oh wow which part of the pie joins the the chords together or should we just head for the wooly mammoth in the centre. Sorry all a bit lateral. Then music like writing comes from the soul perhaps and is temperamental rather than of equal temperament.
Thank goodness we can tiptoe through the tulips before heading home. As one english comedien (who is now persona non grata) used to say TTFN ta ta for now.
Monday, 26 August, 2013
Editor’s preliminary note: Penny must’ve been all overcome with religious emotion when she wrote this. Just because we did three ‘spiritual’ songs to start off with. Anyhow, here is her offering…
Brothers and sisters, we opened our hearts this morning at Fingal and were truly set free! After being welcomed ‘into “his” arms’, we sang “keep on the sunny side ” with the atmosphere becoming electric as Dee -“received a message!”. Alice was a ‘ comin, Dee told us.
In a state of sombre penitence and anticipation we sang “wayfaring stranger.” We improvised using the C major pentatonic (with the G string as well), trying to hear what we should use with the D chord and the E7 so there wouldn’t be a clash.Yuki did a great job improvising even while puzzling over the meaning of the word itself. In the true spirit of the revivalist meeting our brethren were indeed given new life, even if it was after partaking from the coffee machine and none more so than Dee after a weekend away skiing.
Newcomer, Monica, swept up in the fervour, played well beyond her few short weeks of ukelele lessons. While we sang “makin whoopee,” Alice did indeed make an appearance !! Newborn baby Benjamin too. After “makin whoopee,” inevitable bad boy behaviour was evident with “busy line”. We had strayed well and truly from the path of righteousness by this time brothers and sisters and baby Benjamin seemed well pleased as we sang Margaritaville. “You don’t love God if you don’t love your neighbour” was a fitting, rousing climax to the meeting today and we closed with everyone gathered around. Around just 2 song sheets and Alice, for “living next door to Alice. ”
19th. August 2013
Hi Mark and all.
Having overheard the chat between Mark and Penny that I was not entirely reliable I knew that my time had come to add to the Tomaree Ukestra Blog.
What a great morning. Sun shine, warmth, and the butcher bird that was chimeing in with a perfect 5th (I think it is a tritone actually Michael – Ed.). Don’t know what it means but Mark sounded so wise. Not sure about the joke though !!
We welcomed another new member today thus started with a song with four chords Run Around Sue but then this was complicated by a brief chat on the pentatonic scale which makes everything just that more interesting and increases our knowledge. Sounds complicated, however once the fingers stop behaving like a bunch of bananas it very gradually begins to make some sense and some little solos began to emerge from Susie and Judy. It never ceases to amaze me how the brain starts making little connections and the joy of actually producing music together gives a warm and fuzzy feeling.
It wasn’t long before we were asking ” Do you know the way to San Jose” which has about 7 chords in one line. I have to revert to Zedding ( ie just pretending to play). No one notices and then it was time to find my from San Jose to home. A great morning thank you all
(I will have to keep my eye more carefully on Michael after that last comment – Ed.)
12 August – Mark is back from a 3 week break
Mark was back today and surprisingly unjetlagged ! We launched into My girl and from playing the associated pentatonics moved onto the circle of fifths and playing and improvising blues.
Sue D sounded particularly groovy as she played variations on the d minor pentatonic while Mark played in F.
We took turns choosing notes from the F minor pentatonic to jam with Mark. Michael in particular, played strongly.
We Tiptoed through the tulips while Judy and Susie HT danced through with their improvisations.
Sunshine of your love gave us more insight into the use of the pentatonic.
We finished with I’m gonna sit down and write myself a letter, always a favourite, despite the obligatory mass panic when approaching the 2nd time bar.
Fingal on the Fifth (of August 2013)
Hi Mark, don’t know if Michael is sending a message today.
Lots of people turned up on another beautiful morning at Fingal. With quite a large number we had some timing troubles. We had the “fast ” women on one side versus the foot stomping, uke thumping women on the other, with Michael in the middle.
Again, Marianne Faithfull would not have wept too loudly over ‘As tears go by’.
Sway,with Susie soloing strongly was impressive to the many workers dragging a seemingly endless supply of filled planter tubs right through our gathering.
Purcell’s Canon played in 3 parts was a pleasant surprise for a newcomer. Five foot 2, Ain’t misbehavin’, Iko Iko and Jamaica farewell, All I have to do is dream, My Girl, Ghost riders and Coffee kept us busy and nobody really noticed we had gone overtime.
22 July 2013
You were wanting someone to drop you a line about our sessions while you were away. You may receive many messages, I don’t know but here is one.
A strong feeling of sisterhood prevailed in our sunny beer garden at Fingal today as there were no males present.
This resulted in some very ‘heyebrow’ conversation concerning the merits or otherwise of tattooing eyebrows.
The most practiced ‘verses’ today involved dyeing ‘versus’ tattooing.
We could have done with a male like yourself or Michael HT,both good at bringing us down, in more ways than one, as we were singing old songs way up to the heavens as Sue D had brought along songs we may play for the ‘old folks’ at some stage.
However, we finally blossomed with oh you beautiful doll then forgot the old folk, had coffee, did a rollicking version of run around sue and came into our own with as tears go by.