bay area

"The Following"

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"The Following" is the latest single from the new album "Moment". Huge thanks to Aaron Almquist for such beautiful work and a fantastic concept. Shot on location at:my room, Ukulele Inspired Studios, Actual Cafe, MacArthur BART Station, Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland, CA and at the Ferry Building, Sue Beirman Park, Ferry Plaza, and BART car #3 from the back in San Francisco, CA.

This video has been a labor of love for both Aaron and I and it is incredible the amount of work that it takes to create something like this and share it with all of you.  If you connect with this in any way please stop by my Patreon page:  http://www.patreon.com/johnnash

The newest release from the new album "Moment", get a copy at: Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/moment/id901209059 Bandcamp: http://ukuleleinspired.bandcamp.com/ CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/johnnash1 Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ukulele-inspired

Workshop with Aldrine Guerrero

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I've been waiting awhile for the Ukulele Underground to make it to the bay.  I headed over to San Francisco last Tuesday for a workshop/concert by the world famous Aldrine Guerrero and Aaron Nakamura.  Unfortunately I had students until late that day and of course hit rush hour traffic on the bridge so I unfortunately missed the workshop section of the event.  The event was organized by  Edgar Dang of Aloha Warehouse.  If you haven't got a chance to check out his shop yet, do yourself a favor and stop by to talk ukes and drool over his incredible inventory.  Although I missed the workshop, the concert was well worth the trip over.  Aldrine and Aaron put on such a memorable performance and I haven't seen a crowd have a better time at any other ukulele event I've ever been to.  Aldrine was really funny and genuine and I loved how much he interacted with everyone in the audience. They played a good mix of stellar covers and some of my favorite originals all while keeping a very funny and informal vibe to their set. Check out all of us chanting for Aaron "The Voice" Nakamura to sing us another song.

Artist Spotlight: Ukulenny

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ulfullbanneruljump I had the opportunity to meet our newest featured artist at one of his local Bay Area uke jams, and he was nice enough to answer a few of our questions about the uke and where he gets inspiration.  Ukulenny is an amazing performer, educator, and youtube sensation.  Be sure to check him out, subscribe to his channel, and attend one of his events or performances if you get a chance!

UI: How did you first start playing ukulele? Ukulenny:  The seed was planted on a family trip to Hawaii when I was 10 years old, I picked up a cheap ukulele and some books and started strumming some chords (I had a little experience with guitar so it made sense to me).  The uke was too cheap to stay in tune, however, and I lost touch.  It wasn't until after college that I picked up the instrument again, and rejuvenated with Jake Shimabukuro as inspiration, I decided to buy a real ukulele and began taking it more seriously.  In 2010, the magic happened.  I was playing bass for a musical in SF, which meant commuting every weekend from the East Bay.  I decided to bring my ukulele each way, practicing during each trip, and eventually found myself playing and singing my heart out to the BART crowd.  It was then I started going by the name Ukulenny, and found my new favorite instrument, the uke.

UI: How long have you been playing? Ukulenny:  I've been playing music my whole life, started on piano at age 5 and moved on to the guitar through my middle school and high school years, picked up the saxophone in the Cal Marching Band, and everything in between - bass, cello, flute, clarinet, drums, among other things.  Officially I've been playing uke since 2008, so 6 years, but I've been able to apply all my love of music to this awesome little instrument.

UI: What is the best part about playing the ukulele? Ukulenny:  My favorite part about playing the ukulele is that I can play it anywhere.  Being the music addict that I am, the thought of making music at any given moment with the uke on my back brings me joy.  Its portability also means that you can practice virtually anywhere at anytime, which is great for any traveling musician who might not normally be able to find time to practice.  That I can play it on BART quietly enough to go unnoticed, yet loud enough to entertain a crowd, is a huge plus.  But perhaps even better than that is the fact that the uke is so accessible - it's an instrument for all ages and skill levels, which makes it such an exciting instrument to teach.  I enjoy teaching, and the uke is an incredible instrument for building community and gathering a whole bunch of people together to make music.

UI: Where do you find inspiration? Ukulenny:  The uke community is full of happy, joyful people.  How could one be sad with an instrument like this?  So I definitely find my inspiration from all those wonderful people out there who play the ukulele and make it such a pleasure to be a part of the uke world.  I have to give special shoutouts to my Uke Idols, Jake Shimabukuro, Troy Fernandez, Aldrine Guerrero, Kalei Gamiao, and the many others who have done so much for the ukulele.  But all of my friends who are making incredible music now with the ukulele continue to inspire me to do the same - folks like Ben Ahn, Melvin Gutierrez, Cynthia Lin, Craig Chee, Sarah Maisel, Robbie Lee, and Jion Jugo.  These musicians make me proud to play the uke and keep me going.  Finally, I draw much inspiration from the people I teach, whether it's folks at ukulele nights and workshops, students in my Ukulele Club at Oakland School for the Arts, or those watching my videos on YouTube.  Whenever I'm having a tough day I stop and read nice messages from uke players all over the world, some people that successfully played their first song or something or other from one of my videos.  It might seem cheesy but it really means a lot to me to know that people are learning to play the uke through me, and are thus inducted into our amazing community.  I'm just so happy to know that because of my work, somebody else is making music and gets to share in the joy I feel every day as an ukulele player.

LINKS: http://www.ukulenny.com/ https://www.facebook.com/ukulenny https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4NA3TVpatvSWx0rZ1P18Ow

Beginner Questions 7-10

7.  WHERE CAN I FIND ONLINE RESOURCES?Some of the best online resources out there and what they offer:

Ukulele Underground  http://ukuleleunderground.com/UUlogo The underground is a great place to improve your ukulele playing. They offer the highest quality instructional videos, and are consistently adding to there enormous amount of content.

Ukulele Hunt  http://ukulelehunt.com/ UkeHuntUke Hunt is one of the longest running blogs about the ukulele and offers such a wide variety of content. You can find almost everything uke related on this blog, from funny and informative articles to a wide variety of instructional and inspirational videos. They offer a large selection of ebooks, both free and for sale, that can be a good resource for introducing you to the ukulele.

Dominator Ukulele Tabs  http://dominator.ukeland.com/  got_tabs_1 Dom has created a great resource that is more geared towards the intermediate and advance ukulele player. His tabs are some of the only ones available that are specific for the ukulele and he has some great performance and instructional videos.

uke_inspired_small_logoUkulele Inspired  http://ukuleleinspired.com A little biased, but want to list it as a resource for getting inspiration and information. We want to offer high quality video and written content for all aspiring ukulele players out there.

 

15mins8. HOW OFTEN SHOULD I BE PRACTICING? The best way I’ve found to practice is for short periods of time as often as possible. Since learning an instrument involves a lot of muscle memory, the more often you do it the better. Practicing for 15 minutes every day is going to produce results much faster than an hour of practice once a week. Finding a qualified teacher for private lessons can be great in providing personalized instruction as well as accountability for your practice every week.

9. HOW DO I LEARN NEW SONGS?

searchbarThere are a lot of resources out there for learning new songs. If you are starting to become familiar with your ukulele chord shapes, then searching the name of the song and “chords” should get youyoutube to some links with lyrics and chords. You can also type the name of the song and “ukulele tutorial”. There are many videos on YouTube and other places of varying quality and helpfulness, but in general you are looking for a more detailed description of the chords and strumming pattern. There are a few ukulele specific tab sites out there as well:

http://www.ukulele-tabs.com/

http://dominator.ukeland.com/

10. HOW DO I STAY INSPIRED? ukulelecommunityLast and definitely not least, inspiration is something that I feel is so important when learning anything new. Inspiration can help you get excited about playing the ukulele, it will encourage you to practice and get better, and when you are ready can help to cultivate your creativity should you begin to write your own music. Inspiration is something we take very seriously here at Ukulele Inspired, whether it is our own video content, links to other videos, articles or interviews, we try to provide as much as we can for all aspiring players out there.  I encourage you to find and interact with your local ukulele community as well. There are so many local and regional ukulele clubs around the country there is sure to be a group that meets nearby. If there isn’t, maybe you can start one up! Stay on the lookout for performances by ukulele artists in your area, and start to listen to as many players as you can. Inspiration is out there, you just have to find it!

Click here to see the full list of beginner questions answered.

Thanks again for all the support, if you found this or any of our resources helpful be sure to [fblike url="https://www.facebook.com/UkuleleInspired" style="button_count" float="none" showfaces="false" width="200" verb="like" font="arial"] us on facebook and sign up for our email list under SUBSCRIBE in the sidebar to keep up with everything new at Ukulele Inspired. I want this to be interactive so don't be shy and send me some requests for the songbook and other content that you would like to see!

Artist Spotlight: Madeline Tasquin

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madelinebannermadelineukelarge We are really excited to have our first artist spotlight here at Ukulele Inspired, and even more stoked that it is the Bay Area's own Madeline Tasquin!  She is currently on tour in Europe, but before she left we were lucky enough to get a few questions answered about the ukulele and where she gets inspiration:

UI:  How did you first start playing ukulele? Maddy:  I was backstage at my friend's birthday party/show in San Francisco and this friend had been gifted a nice little Lanikai concert uke for his birthday. As soon as I started playing it I knew I needed to have one for my own. I went to my local music store in Berkeley the following week and scoped them out until I found one I fell in love with -- also a Lanikai concert.

UI:  How long have you been playing the uke? Maddy:  By my count, I first started in December 2010. So that makes it about 2 and a half years... a quarter of a decade. Wow it doesn't seem like it's been that long.

UI:  Best part about playing the ukulele? Maddy:  It's portability! My main instrument is the piano, which I find isn't all that easy to sling over my back to take with me on a hike or the subway or on my bicycle. The only thing more portable than my ukulele is my voice... my other main instrument. So together uke + voice is a perfect way for me to compose songs in places where I can't drag my piano.

UI:  Where do you find inspiration? For songwriting, in nature. I write the most when I'm far away from my computer and my mind isn't crowded.   As far as ukulele inspiration goes... all the guest performers, guest teachers, and participants at the monthly Ukulele Love-In gathering I put on at the Actual Cafe have inspired me to push my playing further.  Organizing that event really flung me into ukulele land, something I didn't expect or even know existed. For that I'm grateful.

Thanks again to Maddy for taking the time to talk with us.  If you want to stay up to date with her follow the links below and remember to mark your calendars for September 8th, when her Ukulele Love in makes it's return to Actual Cafe!

Websites: http://www.tasqu.in http://manamaddy.bandcamp.com http://soundcloud.com/manamaddy

Ukulele Love In

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DSCN0107 Wanted to say big thanks to Mana Maddy and everyone in attendance at the last Ukulele Love-In on May 11th.  I was the featured performer and had so much fun teaching a workshop and performing in front of 31 ukuleles and their owners (or temporary caretakers)!  For those of you that don't know the Ukulele Love-In is a monthly event started by the Bay Area's own Madeline Tasquin, that includes an all levels ukulele lesson followed by a featured performance then group sing-along.  Oakland North did a great piece about the event as well.  The event takes place place at Actual Cafe, a favorite Oakland hangout spot that has great food and drink, displays local artists' work, and has live music.  Please support local, and check them out if you haven't already.

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The BIG news is that Maddy is leaving very soon for her first European tour and the Love-In will be put on hiatus during her trip.  For all you East Bay ukers that want your monthly fix, there will be a new event starting at the brand new music school and venue Mynah Music at 543 Athol Street in Lake Merrit, every 1st Saturday of the month starting on June 1st.  The event will involve an all levels lesson of a song chosen by YOU!  Or one of you, or some of you...really I choose, but I choose from your suggestions so if you want to get your two cents in, shoot me an email at ukuleleinspired@gmail.com and tell me a song you have always wanted to learn on the uke.  Maybe you'll be the lucky one chosen! If you haven't already done so, you can sign up for the East Bay Ukulele Love group on facebook for more info and latest news.  Good luck Maddy, and we are eagerly waiting for the return of the Ukulele Love-In in a new second Sunday of the month time-slot starting September 8, 2013.  Set your calendars!  [fbshare type="button"]