Friday, June 14, 2019

Ukulele Mel: New Adventures in Writing, Singing, and Playing

Melinda Palacio

At East Beach, Santa Barbara

I have a new toy, a beautiful tenor ukulele. The Fender ukulele, as if in costume and ready to rock and roll, looks a bit extravagant with its four strings and signature electric guitar-like headstock and mother of pearl inlay around the body and sound hole. This particular model is named the Montecito. Fender names its ukuleles after California beaches and it is apropos that I would choose a model named after a beach that is only miles away from my home in Santa Barbara.
Fender Tenor Uke (top), Gremlin Soprano Uke bottom

My new obsession with the ukulele started when I noticed that Steve had stored away his soprano ukulele that had been sitting on the sofa for the past two years. Somehow, it’s absence made me curious to learn more about the small string instrument. I brought it back into the sitting room, asked Steve to tune it and proceeded to watch YouTube videos on how to play it. I was enchanted and encouraged by how easy it was to play after years of learning the guitar. Anyone who knows their way around a guitar, can easily pick up the ukulele.
Reading the poem that inspired the song I wrote

In four days, I was playing some of my favorite songs. There’s something so thrilling about being able to learn a new instrument so quickly. I find that stimulating the part of my brain that informs learning an instrument has also helped my writing. I’ve now added a new genre to my writing repertoire: songwriting. Since I’ve always written a trifecta of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, adding another genre seems natural, given my newfound interest in music.
Singing the theme song to my poetry book, Bird Forgiveness

So far, my songwriting has been confined to the guitar, but I suspect I’ll soon write songs for the ukulele. I have become obsessed with playing the guitar and ukulele in ways that I’ve never experience with previous hobbies. Recently, I’ve started incorporating a musical performance with my poetry readings. Last weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to read poetry and play my guitar and ukulele at fellow Bloguero Michael Sedano’s house. He hosted two San Antonio Poets: Vincent Cooper and Viktoria Valenzuela. Read all about Sedano’s living room floricanto on Tuesday’s La Bloga. 

1 comment:

msedano said...

over the rainbow is a perfect ukelele song!