Our good friends up in Hood River, Oregon, Nicole and Aaron Keim, also known as The Quiet American, have just published ‘A Ukulele Handbook for Beginners’ and I urge ukulele players in Tunes Nation and everywhere to visit their site quietamericanmusic.com and buy a copy. I read a pre-publication version and loved how Aaron and Nicole touched upon all the essentials a beginner needs to launch her/his own musical journey. They introduce ukulele strumming and music theory step-by-step — just what beginners need with a lot of fun songs to learn and play along the way.
For my group ukulele class here in Ashland, here’s a YouTube link to one of my personal favorites that they introduced me to, Music Alone Shall Live find here They show several variations, both the melody and chords, and hopefully their video will help each of you learn the song. Hearing them lead almost 100 people singing it at Tunes in the Dunes created one of those ‘highlight reel’ memories for me. Thanks, Nicole and Aaron for your music and also for this great new book.
In early 1999, two local bilingual educators, Pam Lucas and Carol Holm, asked me to record a series of children’s songs in Spanish. Together we created a tape cassette (really!) of 24 songs from Mexico, Central and Latin America, mostly small snippets, not the entire song. These tapes were purchased by bilingual educators and administrators to use in their classrooms all over Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. The snippets helped teachers recall the song’s melody and rhythm so they could lead their students. Recorded in July 1999 by Richard Williams at Lightsound Studios in Ashland, Oregon, these were the first songs I recorded on ukulele, played on Li’l Sistah, my 1950s all-koa wood, made-in-Hawaii soprano.
El Mes de Abril Traditional | Bryan Holley, vocal and ukulele
Mi Gallo Se Murió Traditional | Bryan Holley, vocal and ukulele
A couple years ago I created an ukulele chord chart that I use to teach my curriculum, The First 21 Ukulele Chords. I’m posting it here to make it available to all current and future ukulele players, offered in the folk tradition of sharing music. Click below to download the PDF.
Listen to my original Spanish song ‘Caras y Amigos’ (Faces and Friends) on YouTube by clicking the image below.
Bryan Holley | Solo vocal & Martin 0-15 guitar (made in 1959).
Recorded in 1999 by Richard Williams. This version digitally remastered and remixed by Barry Rivman in 2011. Mahalo to Richard and Barry!