Saturday, May 02, 2009

I was halfway through my two week hell of untreated sleep apnea when we did this shoot. Pip says he has a handful of instrumentals from this shoot waiting in the can for his attention.


Hippie Guy said...

Sounds really nice. I like the feel. What kind of tuning do you use? Your 'ukulele sounds deep, not the usual for that sized instrument. Aloha,

Steven Strauss said...

Hey Hippie Guy.

I have an unwound low G on this concert scale instrument, a G below middle C. As soon as I caught on to that possibility I started getting a new kind of flexibility in arranging a tune for unaccompanied ukulele.


Flametamer said...

Beautiful song Steven, and the ducks in the background don't hurt. As a stone lover of The Mikado, it's very pleasing to hear your rendition of one of the sweetest songs in the operetta. Do you know the version from Mike Leigh's, "Topsy Turvey"?
I, like you suffer from Sleep Apnea, and after 3 surgical procedures still suffer from it. I'd love to talk with you again when you return from over the moon, or wherever... Class act, dude! - Kerry @}:^)

Steven Strauss said...


I hope to live long enough to learn the entire score for unaccompanied ukulele. I have "On a tree," "So please You," and this. Those were easier than what's left. I have Mike Leigh to thank for my renewed appreciation for the theatrical and artistic achievement that was the Mikado. Its comic depiction of an irrational and unfair social order in the hands of the myopic ruling class hits me right where we live.

Simultaneously to the solo ukulele project is a separate project to realize a calypso Mikado. Setting it in the colonized West Indies seems dramatically appropriate to the dry, teasing humor of Gilbert. Calypso's tradition is to criticize and satirize the doings of those who rule over them.

Don't be so hard to find. You could look for me in Facebook.

Steven Strauss said...


If you can find a specialty mail order record company offering the 1936 Mikado, I hope you will snatch it up. Savoyards have been denouncing the weakness of the female voices at these sessions since the records were released first in England. Even with half a dozen ringers beefing up the full pit orchestra, the tonal and rhythmic cohesion is quite sure-footed, and the instrumental blends astonishing. Dare you not to dance.

Flametamer said...

Don't be so hard to find? LOL!

You're a real riot, Steven!

A calypso Mikado? I could definitely get behind that one!

Are you familiar with Gilbert and Sulllivan's "Iolanthe"? (Check the Berkeley public Library for a CD if you are on a low budget)

This is a lush and beautiful G&S operetta and damned funny too. The forest setting and theme of lawyers vs (?) fairies is quite amusing, and Iolanthe has music which truly makes my heart swell, on par I would say with the Mikado, but with a somewhat more mysterious and romantic flavor.

Go for it maestro! - Kerry @}:^)

Flametamer said...

Thank you Steven, I shall try to get a copy of that 1936 recording when the dollars come home from wherever they nest in winter...meanwhile, Steven, have you heard/seen the Jonathan Miller's English National Opera company version? featuring Eric Idle as Ko Ko, it is a bit weak musically, but the performances and singing are quite good, with terrific performances by Felicity Palmer as Katisha, and the late, truly great Richard Van Allen, as Poo Bah. Idle does a fine job in my opinion, and the cheezy staging actually adds to the pathos IMHO.

I dare YOU not to dance!