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My Musical Goals: Putting together a Ensemble

Ohana Tenor Ukulele

I’ve been a singer and instrumentalist for quite a long time, but it’s only been recently that I’ve been doing a few different types of music, and I’ve had the time to think about how I want to grow musically. For the most part, I have either sung or played an instrument, and I haven’t been able to do them both at the same time. I think I have some neurological coordination issues with that. I’ve been able to play instruments where I’m just doing one thing, i.e. with whistles and flutes you just have to put your fingers up and down; on the hammered dulcimer you just have to hit the strings.

Recently, I’ve taken up the ukulele and I’ve found that it’s the first instrument that I’ve been able to play and sing with. Granted, I’m still at the advanced beginner point, but it’s a big improvement. I’ve been going to sessions with the Ukulele Union of Boston and have gotten to the point where I’m not freaked out by fretting, and am starting to investigate trying to do interesting things with my strumming. I’m in all ukulele geek mode trying to learn all that I can (see my ‘Ukulele Resource page!)

Now, this is making me think of where I want to go musically with this instrument, and how I want to grow. I’m wanting to do more performing and work with some other people to go deeper into some music and develop myself. To that end, here are some of the attributes to an ensemble that I would like to have:

  • Vocal Harmony: I’ve been a singer for so long, and I’d like to have people that can sing pieces in close harmony with or without instruments.
  • Genres: I’ve been mostly in the folk tradition, and do like a lot of that music. The ukulele lends itself to a lot of early 20th century as well as pop music so I’d like to do that too.
  • Ensemble Members: So what roles do I want to fill? Here’s my wish list:
    • Me: I figure I’d probably be a lead vocalist, and a backup for instrumentals. I see this as a vehicle for me to work on my ukulele skills.
    • Lead Ukulele Instrumentalist: I’d like someone who is really top-notch at playing the ukelele and doing solos, etc, and has a good voice and would like to grow in that area.
    • Rhythm Player: Whether guitar, bass, cello, or something else, someone who can be the rock and keep the beat going. Obviously, someone who can sing also.
    • “Spice” Player: This is could be a percussionist, mandolin, or something else that would bring something different to the table. I’ll know it when I experience it.

If you see the Lucky Uke band out of Quebec, this is pretty much what I would love! They are amazing!

So, that’s what I’m thinking right now. If you are interested or know someone who you think would be interested in this, let me know!

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