Music, Music Music

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“Music….. it gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm to life…”    – Plato

How on earth I have got to nearly 30 posts without really talking about music seems, well hard to believe… Our lives are full of music.  Yes I will admit that sometimes that means me listening to ABBA full tilt while dancing, or Opera blasting out while I tidy up (last time I had a night alone I listened only to Opera and painted our second bathroom, then pasted poems all over the walls in a heightened emotional state brought about by the music…) .

At other times we are in three bands.  Wayne, as a much sought after bass player, is in all three!
I also teach music a couple of afternoons a week which I love.  So the kids have grown up listening to Country Roads and Old School Yard played slowly and sometimes painfully by my students.
Everyone plays something –
Wayne plays guitar, mostly bass (electric and a big double bass) he has taught himself to sing and now plays ukulele.
Please note -(playing the Ukulele is a  bit like reading and like breathing, sort of compulsory in our family, but in a nice way.  As though if you didn’t play you would be missing out on something, a sort of     “If you can’t beat ’em…join ’em mentality.)

Ollie, for the very reasons mentioned above plays the Ukulele now too! (After saying for years  he was the only non-musical one in our family!  (utter twaddle, he is a great player)

Hannah needs only a few minutes lesson on anything and she plays it….guitar, ukulele, Mandolin, recorder, Bodhran,  she has played the banjo on stage after a quick lesson just before, can pick up my fiddle and play it and now she is working away at piano, and beautifully too.

Charlie is a drummer.  He has a natural beat, his musicality runs deep and he has taken to the ukulele quickly and just seems very happy to sing out in front of others.

I play the guitar, violin, recorder and, you guessed it…. all together now…. the uke!!

A couple of years ago I ran a couple of workshops to teach this much maligned instrument and from this was formed our local Ukulele Orchestra now named Ukebox!  We have played at all sorts of community events  for the last two years  and seem to have a pretty full schedule of “Gigs”.  Wayne plays the double bass in the group which really enhances it and holds us all together.  Our singing has come a long way too and we have a few harmonies sprinkled through some songs.  It is a wonderful groups of friends who play, some have come and gone, and we never know exactly who will turn up on the night….  We play ABBA, Queen, Beatles,  ’60s stuff, Country, Johnny Cash, all sorts even some ‘modern songs’.  It is alot of fun!!
We do not have a website you can  click onto sorry, but we are happy to be flown to anywhere in the world for  a performance……:)      (there is usually about 15 of us.)

But try this link to hear us play!

Ukulele Concert in Hospital

Ukebox 2011 playing at the local pub!

Some of us at this years Music marathon…
I know we need to lose the music stands!

Next is Gallimaufry.  Look that up!

It is a great word that really describes us and the music we play.  I had a dream of having a girls folk band that “Folk-ises” (this is not a word, do not look it up!) all sorts of songs….and we are doing it, with the welcome addition of Wayne on double bass and Hannah on Bodhran or Mandolin.  The other two girls have become great friends and come with an assortment of children.  So we have very social music-making sessions.  Not to mention several teapots of peppermint tea and dark chocolate….We spent a year trying to come up with a name and yes, the tea bags were on the list, and Peppermint…..

Jane (#2) has the most beautiful voice and plays guitar like an angel.  She is so modest, but I am certain she had a career as a folk singer that she is not admitting to in her murky past…She is also a talented artist.

Di completely mad.  As a musician I mean, well actually all the time… She LIVES for music, she will even turn down food in place of music.  When we went to the totally groovy Wellington Folk Festival last year,  (Wellington Folk Festival WordPress )     Di came and was transported to  ‘Di Heaven’ instantly, then we didn’t see her!  We had to keep feeding her children as she was sucked into a vortex of music, which, as she often says feeds her soul so who needs food.
(Somehow we always manage to fit in a huge amount of food, along with plenty of music making &  appreciation, dance, story telling and general inspiring and magical moments.)
As I was saying, Di plays everything – she  now owns a saxophone!  She is usually on Mandolin, tin whistle or flute and can sing, play guitar, ukulele, piano and no doubt a number of others that we are yet to discover.

Gallimaufry is beautiful.  I have have the most amazing magic moment memory of last winter when we had an extremely rare 3 days of snow here, on the ground!  Unheard of for the last 30 years  and very cool!  One night we were practising and had the curtain open so I could see the snow falling.   We were playing Si Beg Si  Mor, the most exquisite Celtic tune.  I had tears in my eyes and felt a very strong soaring emotion as I watched the snow drift slowly down while playing this beautiful music – an amazing magic moment…..
I am so grateful to Jane and Di  for appearing in my life and to keep on coming back again and again and sharing in such magical creation!

Gallimaufry in full swing
at the Music Marathon
2012

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe

-Lao Tzu

I would like to  mention Lookout Joe, Wayne’s band.  He plays electric bass (and sings) with three other very talented musicians.  They have performed around town a bit and they do have a website!! lookoutjoe.co.nz

Lookout Joe!

Wayne and the boys hang out in our freezing sleepout every week and create magic (even if it is mostly Neil Young!! – sorry Mike!!)  They call themselves Country Rock  and are extremely easy to listen to!  It is such a treat having talented musicians playing within earshot so regularly. Charlie will often go and just hang out in the middle of the band rehearsal, perched on a big amp, and soak it all up.  Good idea for a drummer/musician in-training me thinks! He often makes all their cups of tea as well!
The kids all come down to our local , extremely family-friendly pub when we play there (along with all the other kids and groupies!) so they are really exposed to a lot of live music.

We have a homeschool kids ukulele group happening now which is very exciting!  We meet once a week, and have 18 children all strumming along.  We are entered in a school ukulele festival in a couple of months and have already finished all the songs for that, so we are playing other new songs now with a view to busking!!  I think this was the main catalyst for Ollie to learn the ukulele.  It has had fantastic spin offs too, the two boys will sit down and play together, just because they love it!

Charlie and Ollie playing…for fun!
Usually it is about 10.30pm when they get the urge though,which isn’t always that fun for the rest of us! However this is the absolute joy of our lifestyle, which is what it is all about.

The cool thing about our kids musical education is how organic it is.  They seemed to have absorbed music, learnt whole songs  in fact from just being awake in the same house while we practice.  Amazing!

I see Ollie outside , whittling a stick and singing a Lookout Joe song.  Charlie singing something I have played for years in guitar lessons, word perfect.  Hannah composing a song that we all play with Mike, from Lookout Joe on guitars, bass and harmonica.   Charlie went through an intense music phase when he would stand in front of the stereo, listening to the same CD over and over, learning the words while miming playing on the bass guitar!  Ollie used to listen to Meatloaf really loud when he was about 7yrs old, while reading this great book we have on the Queen Mother!  He would often do that for a couple of hours at a time over a period of 6 months or so.  Not sure what mental connections that made for him….

As Neitzsche said – “Life without music would be a mistake.”    Aaaaaahhhhhh…………..

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