Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Do you drive a car? Do you want to transform the roads you drive on into sane and efficient lanes of smooth traffic? Do you want to help reduce the wasteful use of auto fuel, not only for you but for the drivers with whom you share the road? Please read the 1998 article TRAFFIC "EXPERIMENTS" AND A CURE FOR WAVES & JAMS by William Beaty. Take about ten minutes to read it over; once it's absorbed, you won't forget it. And it will make you a happier driver; I'll bet money on it. Comments posted on a page linked there offer additional observations that will enhance your experience. As 2007 draws to a close, and ways of making 2008 a better year fill my thoughts, I'm convinced it's the best thing I got to read all year.


Electrical Engineer and transformative driver William Beaty

Friday, December 21, 2007

Charles Wakefield Cadman was an American composer who was fascinated by Native American culture. He wrote a successful series of atmospheric song cycles inspired by his studies of tribal music, which today are typically dismissed as naive, romantic misapprehensions of a strikingly unfamiliar world.

If that isn't a good blanket description of the entire musical genre of Exotica, it isn't far from the mark. For my current project, UKEBOX EXOTICA, I've been rummaging around the discard bins of popular music for lost threads of this enduring fabulist tapestry, one dominated today by the legacies of Martin Denny and Les Baxter. The work of Charles Wakefield Cadman proves to be a rich source of melody and mood.

For a little while I'll be posting here a GarageBand arrangement of The Rainbow Waters Whisper, the third in his 1913 cycle of four songs, "Idyls Of The South Sea." As soon as I figure out a ukulele part for me to play, I'm taking it down, so check it out now.

Charles Wakefield Cadman "Idyls Of The South Seas" III The Rainbow Waters Whisper - arranged by Steven Strauss

Here's a 1937 TIME article about gum chewing Charlie Cadman.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Kurt Stevenson will accompany me on guitar when I appear on KALW-FM in December. I'll have forty five minutes or so to play music on the ukulele and talk a bit about it. And flack the record.

The program is KALW's A Patchwork Quilt, Red-bearded Kevin Vance's delirious weekly plunge into sensuous handmade music that defies category and resists exploitation. Tune in on Saturday, December Eight, or listen online. The program runs from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30; I'll appear at about the half-way point and go until the end. Kurt and I are planning something as musically expressive as we can execute.

If you're not tuned in by 5:45 p.m. you might miss something. If you have ukulele nuts in your extended family, encourage them to tune in.

In jazz news, Connie Doolan Quartet, of which I am roughly a fourth (more by weight), is almost ready to announce an east bay house concert on December 30, the day before New Year's Eve. When times are set, terms are known, and directions have been drawn up, I'll post about it at Connie Doolan Quartet's stately web log.

Deborah Robins just sent me an email with this photograph attached. She snapped this at The New Zealander in Alameda a few nights ago. I'm shown playing my RISA Uke Solid, accompanying Regina Maria Pontillo, one of my very favorite performers ever. Regina and I willl be angling hard to get another gig there come January.

Click here if you think you'd like to hear a sloppy but swinging electric ukulele demo!