Well, I don’t know about fantasmic, but everyone who attended sure appeared to enjoy themselves at our January AUS meeting on Thursday evening, January 10, and Lil Rev’s workshop and concert on Thursday evening, January 17.
At our January 10 meeting, Bob taught the group how to play and sing “Barely Breathing,” a really big hit for Duncan Sheik in 1997–although when Bob asked the group whether they knew the song, many people did not raise their hands. Selecting the song was part of AUS’s effort not to always sing pre-1980 songs–we want to find good ones from the last thirty years, too. We had a good time with “Barely Breathing” anyway–it wasn’t a difficult song to catch on to. Here’s Bob’s Barely Breathing – Presentation Format to see what he shared.
If anyone has a suggestion for a song from later than 1980 that lends itself to group ukulele playing, please drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. We’re always looking for new stuff.
There were plenty of folks ready to share a song in the open non-mike session, when everyone has a chance to show off their stuff. Many thanks to Steve, Jack, Ian, Bill and Kathy, Kendra, and Ray and Sandra for doing what they do so well.
We then had to deal with a problem. Our next meeting, if we follow the second-Thursday-of-each-month schedule we’ve been using, falls on February 14. Did we want to hold our next meeting on one of the biggest date nights of the year? After some discussion, we decided that yes, we did.
So if you want to come to the February meeting, perhaps you can bring your partner with you. Wouldn’t an AUS meeting be a great stop on a wonderful Valentine’s evening out?
Next, on the evening of Thursday, January 17, the fabulous uke teacher and performer Lil Rev presented to a group of about 25 of us an exceptional class (it was supposed to be 90 minutes long, but ended up being closer to two hours, and nobody minded a bit) in blues and country licks and how to play them.
Rev stressed that no matter your level, it’s not hard to master little bits of music, such as intros, turnarounds, and outros that you can add to a great many songs in many styles. Of course, you must be willing to spend some time practicing and building up the muscle memory you need to be a good (or better) player.
When you’re starting out as a player, he said, the most frightening words you can hear at a blues or folk jam is when the group leader nods at you and says, “Take it.” Unless, of course, you’ve been practicing.
After a stretch, Rev played us some songs–some instrumental, some vocal, some blues, some Tin Pan Alley–and showed us how much he has practiced (a lot). He played almost every song on a different ukulele, from a soprano to a baritone resonator. If you weren’t there, and if you ever get a chance to see Lil Rev play a concert, don’t miss it.