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Eynowd
Lokahi

Australia
146 Posts

Posted - 04/07/2019 :  3:53:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've already told Duke about this in private, but I thought I'd share it here as well.

Back in December, one of the local ukulele groups approached me and asked would I be willing to teach a slack key ukulele workshop at their festival. I had some reservations, but I said "yes", because I wanted to spread the slack key aloha to a wider audience.

The festival was yesterday. Given that I'm an unknown presenter (this was actually the first workshop I'd ever taught), and slack key is a very obscure style in Australia (most people here have never even heard of it before), I was expecting only a handful of participants. I had been told that there was a maximum of 20 students for the class, so I figured I'd be lucky if I got 10 people.

I got 22.

I tried to teach a few elements of the style, as well as a whole introductory tune - a version of Ozzie's Kani Ki Ho'alu, adapted for ukulele. Many of the people in the class had only ever strummed their ukulele in the open chord positions, and here I was trying to teach them a fingerstyle tune that went up the fretboard as far as the 12th fret, and included slides, hammer-on/pull-offs, and chimes.

It was an admittedly ambitious target, and things felt a bit rushed on the day, but there were quite a lot of smiles as people started to get it. After the workshop, I had people coming up to me all afternoon, telling me how much they'd enjoyed it (especially because it was so different to the usual ukulele festival workshop fare), and how they were looking forward to going home and practicing it themselves.

Considering I don't even normally play slack key ukulele, and this was my first time teaching a workshop, I'm pretty happy with the result. I'll be even happier if the participants get really hooked on slack key and take it further themselves.

I also tried performing a couple of slack key tunes at one of the festivals open-mic sessions. I can normally play these without a hitch. Yesterday, I crashed and burned on them, with my fingers refusing to do their thing properly, and my mind going completely blank and losing its place a few times. I thought I sounded awful, considering how well I can usually play those tunes. A few people did say how good they thought it sounded though, which is kinda boggling.

But hey, getting up and performing relatively complex melodic fingerstyle tunes as a solo performer without a group to hide behind is a small win in its own right, right?

Geoff - g'day from Canberra, Australia.

Fran Guidry
Ha`aha`a

USA
1487 Posts

Posted - 04/08/2019 :  05:36:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit Fran Guidry's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Good on ya, Geoff. Were you the only performer doing Hawaiian tunes?

Fran

E ho`okani pila kakou ma Kaleponi
Slack Key Guitar in California - www.kaleponi.com
"Kaleponi" at CD Baby
Slack Key on YouTube
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Eynowd
Lokahi

Australia
146 Posts

Posted - 04/08/2019 :  12:24:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fran Guidry

Good on ya, Geoff. Were you the only performer doing Hawaiian tunes?



Pretty much, yes. Hawaiian music really doesn't make any sort of appearance down here. You might get the occasional hapa haole tune, but that's as close as it comes. You never, ever hear anything in 'ōlelo Hawai'i. It's like it just doesn't exist.

Uke down here seems to revolve more around covers of 60s/70s pop songs, or more jazzy show tunes style stuff from the early 20th century.

Geoff - g'day from Canberra, Australia.
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thumbstruck
Ahonui

USA
2013 Posts

Posted - 04/08/2019 :  12:36:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Like Slipry1 says: The more you do it, the better you get. Also: Playing music is subjective - you want to hear what you want to do and are disappointed when it doesn't happen, the audience is objective, they are "surprised" by what they hear and usually enjoy it.
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Earl
Lokahi

USA
333 Posts

Posted - 04/09/2019 :  05:07:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit Earl's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Way to go Geoff! That is awesome. Share the aloha! It is a shame that more people have not been exposed to this style of music. Everyone who hears it seems to be intrigued.

My own intro to slack key came in Alaska of all places. Mark Nelson was a featured performer at a summer solstice festival that my wife and I played at every year (Seldovia, AK). He did a 90 minute slack key workshop during the second day, and I fell hard -- been absolutely hooked ever since. Ki hoalu completely derailed my studies of Piedmont blues and ragtime. We ended up attending three Aloha Music Camps and other festivals and workshops before I finally gave up on airline flying. I have performed slack key sets at festivals to a warm welcome (and a demand for CD's afterward) and even taught the occasional ki hoalu workshop too, heavily based on Kumu Ozzie's book.

There has been some dabbling in slack key style ukulele too along the way. I like playing ukulele finger style every chance possible.
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