Life on Earth

Thanks to new subscribers . . . more updates soon!  

Ukulele Fundamentals | A Workshop for Beginners

Hello, Everyone, I’m excited to share with you that on Saturday, March 12, I will be offering a workshop for beginners I’m calling Ukulele Fundamentals. It will be a 90-minute class from 5 – 6:30 at the Hilltop Music Shop in Ashland (the mall where Ashland Cinema is). All the details are in the flyer below […]

Kumu ‘Ukulele Irma Kahikina DiCenzo Coming to Ashland!

Hello, Ukulele Nation, I’m posting this today so that all my friends, former students, folks who contacted me with interest in ukulele, and local strummers will know about an exciting and unique opportunity to expand your ukulele skills and horizons. For the last four years, I have had the privilege of studying Hawaiian music (via Skype) with […]

Ukulollo Is Coming To Ashland!

From out of the blue, more specifically Lucca, Italy, comes Ukulollo, Lorenzo Vignando with his percussionist partner Gennaro Scarpato to Ashland, Oregon for workshops and a concert! Thanks to The Haven, a new community and cultural center, local music lovers, and especially you ukulele players and you drummers, should mark May 5, 2015 on your […]

How to Corn a Brisket of Beef

In 16th Century English, to corn meant to salt, as salt as we know it in all its refinements did not exist. Thus salt was available instead in blocks and chunks which could be broken down into grains, and the grains were known as corns. Turns out salting (thus, corning) meat is one of the oldest […]

Walt Whitman | ‘A Meadowlark’ from Specimen Days

The iconic American poet whose ‘Leaves of Grass’ transformed American literature also wrote letters and prose pieces. I learned this the day I bought ‘Specimen Days, Democratic Vistas, and Other Prose’, a collection of Whitman’s writings. Whitman himself explains the fragmented nature of ‘Specimen Days’ as it is taken from irregular journals at various locations. But […]

Where Have All The Colors Gone

Over the last three years, we long-time Ashlanders witnessed a public project at our historic Plaza. What I call the Plaza Destruction project — the worst example of poor judgment and reckless use of public money by city councilors, a dismissive city administrator, a compliant mayor, and an incompetent city staff in the last quarter century — resulted in […]

Elko, Nevada

I hoid it through the grapevine that someone posted about me on Facebook, and it must be true as I have some new subscribers (sign up if you’re here for the first time!) from my hometown, Elko, Nevada. Welcome, bienvenidos, e komo mai! Although I will not be joining Facebook, pass the word that I’d love […]


I decided to add a Subscribe feature to my site. It’s easy — just click on Subscribe on the right side of most pages, and when I post something new, you’ll get an email notification. I urge you to subscribe, especially if you are an ukulele player or one of my students, because that means […]

Iko! Iko! Ukulele Tutorial

We are learning this song in honor of Mardi Gras in our beginning ukulele class. I have recorded this song at educational tempo in 4/4 time, accenting Beat 3 to add some swing to the rhythm. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Music Alone Shall Live

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 and buy a copy. I read a pre-publication version and loved how Aaron and Nicole touched upon […]

My Paternal Grandparents

This is one of the few photos I have of my father’s mother and father, Ira Jewel Lanier Holley and Ocie Lee Holley. The story behind this picture is that in the original photo, there are 3 couples side by side. That’s because people were poor and for economy, wedding photos were grouped, maybe not […]

My Maternal Grandparents

Not many pictures exist in my collection of my mother’s side of the family, the Spanish side. The picture of my grandmother, Maria Concepción Vilor de Galban, was taken in her early 20s, in Spain or South America. You see my grandfather, Emilio Domingo Lopez de Lopez later in life, somewhere in Elko County, Nevada, […]

Two Ukulele Songs from Música del Sol

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 […]

¡feliz dia Valentina — happy Valentine’s day!

The holiday we love because it is set aside to recognize love and those we love and who love us. First among my many blessings is My Love and Bride and life partner, Nancy. In the sweet photo below, you see her standing in our front yard on Liberty Street holding her latest creation — […]

Three Little Birds Ukulele Tutorial

Thanks for visiting another of my online ukulele tutorials, which are designed as educational tools for my students.   ThreeLittleBirds

Tunes in the Dunes 5!

I’m thrilled to announce that I am honored to have once again been asked to join the amazing teaching faculty at Tunes in the Dunes 5 from September 18 – 20, 2015. Located on the northern coast of Oregon near Otis and Lincoln City, this unique ukulele camp is held at Westwind, a former YWCA camp […]

Library of Images

Here I’ll be posting a diverse selection of images from my collection. At left (click to zoom), a charming picture of three Hawaiian keiki (children) taken some time in the 1920s.

Up Above My Head
Ukulele Tutorial

First in a series of free online tutorials aimed at helping anyone launch his or her own musical journey! Shout out to my beginning classes at The Haven in Ashland, Oregon!

The First 21 Chords

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. First21Chords

Beginning Ukulele Lessons at The Haven in Ashland, Oregon

Come on down to my ukulele classes! Join me for my beginners’ classes at The Haven Thursdays from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Find out more at

Food and Cooking

To begin my postings at this online place where I’ll talk about food, my own recipes, and all things cooking, I want to tell you about the picture at the left (click to zoom). It’s our home prep area, in this case adorned with red chiles, green chiles, onions, carrots, spices, etc. It was taken just before […]

Gardening In Ashland

Welcome to the place in virtual reality where I will be sharing my experiences and observations as a lifetime gardener. Over the last quarter century, we’ve had gardens in each place we’ve lived in Ashland. For many of these years we have had one garden plot here at home and another garden plot at the Ashland […]

Music of the Spheres

This is the virtual place where I will be posting my thoughts on all the subjects and dimensions revolving around the Great Sphere of Music. Here’s my first post. Recent advances in neuroscience technology have allowed researchers to observe and record human brain activity in real time. When they asked musicians to get wired up […]

My Original Spanish Song ‘Caras y Amigos’ (Faces and Friends)

Listen to my original Spanish song ‘Caras y Amigos’ (Faces and Friends) on YouTube by clicking the image below. To listen courtesy of the Medford Mail Tribune online archive, click here. 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 […]

Wendell Berry

The concept of country, homeland, dwelling place becomes simplified as “the environment”—that is, what surrounds us. Once we see our place, our part of the world as surrounding us, we have already made a profound division between it and ourselves. We have given up the understanding—dropped it out of our language and so out of […]

Aldo Leopold – Land Ethic

The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land. This sounds simple: do we not already sing our love for and obligation to the land of the free and the home of the brave? Yes, but just what and whom do we love? […]

Ralph Waldo Emerson – From Self-Reliance

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you […]


Musical training is a more potent Instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the Soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace. – Plato