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Love Does What Love Does

Love Does What Love Does

Love Does What Love Does. Last year I read a great book by Bob Goff… Love Does. Bob tells story after story about the power of love to change people and circumstances. Bob does a wonderful job of showing how something as simple and yet profound as love can change the world around us. While we often use excuses that keep us from action (need for money, need more time or people to help,etc.), Bob Goff reminds us that love can overcome obstacles and take us places we could never imagine.

love does goff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The song Love Does was recorded (and I believe written) by Brandon Heath, accompanied by a beautifully done video…

I have read and reread the book Love Does several times now  and thought I would add my one thought to this wonderful concept… love does.  Love acts, love listens, love transforms…. and answers that timeless question, “what does God look like?” (loves does). The Bible tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Jesus came as “God in the flesh”, and as a follower of Jesus I seek to share Him with others. The most significant way that I/we can share God/Jesus with others is through love. Without getting too philosophical… here is my new song… “Love Does What Love Does

Love Does What Love Does

Love won’t fail or hesitate, love might bend but it won’t break

But love does, what love does – it changes everything

Love does, love does what nothing else can do,

love does, what love does…you know it’s always true…

Love is something you can know, see it moving to and fro

Love does, what love does… oh the joy it brings

Love does, love does what nothing else can do,

love does, what love does…you know it’s always true…

You can’t sit in your easy chair and tell someone how much you care

there’s always something you can do….

The world will be a better place, if you brighten up the place

showing love through all you say and do

Love is something we sing about, write about and talk about… but ultimately, love does something. What you do and what I do to show love may look different and that’s OK but let’s not just sit here… let’s get up and do something… people are waiting…

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Haris

Kala Ukulele ambassador

Eddy Finn Ukulele ambassador

Parrot Island Band

Kala ukulele Bry

Kala Uke Arrtists The Atomic Sharks

Kala Ukulele Artists “The Atomic Sharks”

I (Bry) enjoy getting to know ukulele musicians and Kala uke players even more so.  I have interviewed several Kala musicians but this is the first duo/band that I have interviewed together. As I also play “island music” and ukulele (as well as playing occasionally for kids)… I was looking forward to getting to know the Atomic Sharks. Thanks, guys, for answering these questions!

The Atomic Sharks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bio: from their website www.atomicsharks.com

The Atomic Sharks are Kris Hensler and Kenny Taylor.

 

Both Kenny and Kris share a passion for kids and music education. The Sharks were a perfect opportunity for both of them to combine their musical assets into one giant feeding frenzy of fun and mayhem. There’s one thing that the Sharks love as much as making great island music…and that’s teaching kids how to do it too. As musical ambassadors for Kala Brand Music Company, Kenny and Kris love to show kids how to have a great time while playing the ukulele.

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

Both born and bred in Fort Wayne, Indiana… although I’ve (Kris) spent time in Southern California and Chicago. We’ve both logged plenty of miles on the road in the 80’s and early 90’s.

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

Kris Hensler:

I started playing drums when I was 4 years old. My uncle was a jazz drummer in and around Chicago back in the ’50’s so I was drawn to performers like Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa.

As a teenager I got interested in songwriting and started to study the craft by listening to people like Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, James Taylor, and later on, Sting. The best lesson I learned from those guys was to stay out of the way of a good song. You should be able to strip away all of the glitter and ego and still be left with a compelling statement, whether it be musical or lyrical.

These days I’m a big fan of the Zac Brown Band. Good songwriting and great musicianship.

For pure vocal beauty, I love listening to Darius Rucker. He’s got one of those rare voices that I never get tired of hearing. I always liked him in Hooty but even more now that he’s on his own.

And of course Jimmy Buffet. Even though I love his songwriting and live shows, what I really aspire to is his ability to turn his passion into a viable business. Brilliant!

Kenny Taylor:

My earliest influences were the country western music played by my father, a fiddle player, the jazz my much older brother played on records, and seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. Yes, I remember it and I had just turned 3.

3) When did you start playing the uke?

Kris Hensler:

I started playing in late 2002. I bought myself a cheap 50 dollar uke for Christmas. So right at 11 years.  

Kenny Taylor:

I got to the uke late in life, when I was 30 yrs old. I started with a baritone, then a soprano, and then about 15 more sopranos over the years. I used them for theatrical and studio work. My 1990’s rockabilly band the Blue Moon Boys, featuring Nic Roulette, used the uke on several albums. We toured in a van a lot and a cheap ukulele I bought became the “bandvan” uke. Everybody in the band learned how to play it and countless musicians had a go at it, including cowboy band, Riders in the Sky and Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers (both of whom signed it).

4) What Kala ukes are you currently playing?

I (Kris) play an all Mahogany Tenor with cutaway. The model is K-SMHTE – C.

Kenny plays the Tenor Acacia with cutaway.

We also bring several of the Makala ukes to lives shows so kids can play them. We often do a short session to show kids a few uke basics.

Atomic Sharks

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD’s)?

We are currently working on new material for the Atomic Sharks’ first CD. We’re still working on a title for the CD, although we’ll be releasing several of the songs as singles online before the end of 2013. The first single off the new CD will be “Smile.” It features Kenny playing the Tenor Ukulele like a Lap Steel.

We’re also working with WTIU in Bloomington on a video project. It’s a series of 12 music videos that will be aired on PBS stations in the Midwest as part of a series for kids called the “Friday Zone”.

In addition to that, we’re also producing a series of 10 short music education spots that will air on PBS stations across the country sometime in 2014.

There are a few other projects in the early stages that I can’t talk about just yet. We work with a company called Creative Licensing Group (CLG). Our ongoing relationship with them will help us to extend the Shark brand around the globe in the next several years.

Plus live performances throughout the year.

2014 will be a busy year for the Sharks.

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? With answer of course 😉

Kris Hensler:

Nobody has ever asked WHY I write music. I hear many people who profess to be songwriters say things like, “well, I just write for myself and if people like it then that’s great.” I don’t subscribe to that at all. And I don’t think too many others really do either. I just think that’s the answer they want people to hear. I write music because I have something that I want to share with the rest of the world. I want to write that ONE song that someone remembers 20 years from now and thinks to themselves…hey, that was a really catchy tune. If that happens even once, I’ll be a happy man.

Parrot Island Band update: It slows up a bit for us in the cooler months but this gives us time to record a few of our original songs.  I have a couple of songs to add congas and background vocals and we should have our CD “Parrot Island Ukulele” out early in 2014.

Thanksgiving is only a couple of days away… we thank all of you who have listened to us and encouraged us this year… Have a blessed holiday season and I (Bry) hope we see you in 2014, if not before.

Blessings and beaches,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala ukulele Bry

 

Under Those Balmy Palms

Under Those Balmy Palms

Bry Harris uke

 

 

 

 

Under those Balmy Palms. There are still three weeks until the Balmy Palms song contest is over.  My song, Under Those Balmy Palms is one of the three songs chosen as a finalist and I have been busy trying to get the word out. Some of the neat byproducts of promoting the song contest have been:

Ø      > I have had folks let me know they have voted for me from (among other places) Ecuador, Canada, Alaska, Singapore, Australia and England!

Ø     > I have heard from a number of high school friends who have voted and sent along encouraging words (some I hadn’t heard from in several years… nice to reconnect a bit on Facebook).

Ø    > My Dad had a chance to hear my song… and I got his vote! 🙂

Ø     > I received a vote from Heidi Swedberg, actress who played “Susan” on “Seinfeld” (she is also a talented ukulele player who was kind enough to let me interview her a few months back).

Ø      > It has been very nice to contact friends about voting and find out that they had already voted…

Ø   > Several of my friends (and even acquaintances) have asked their friends to vote (greatly appreciated).

> Having contacted friends, family, acquaintances, Parrotheads, people we have played for, ukulele clubs and everyone I could possibly think of, I am now trying to have a little fun with the contest.  

Here are a few pictures I have been sharing to try and get people’s attention in a creative way…

Bry Harris Under Those Balmy Palms

 

Under Those Balmy Palms Bry Harris

Coming this week

Under Those Balmy Palms Bry Harris

 

 

 

 

 

Under Those Balmy Palms Bry Harris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While there is no way to know where I stand in this song contest, I feel good about the way I have promoted my song and the Balmy Palms company.  Thanks to everyone for your encouragement and kind words…

Until next time…

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala ukulele Bry aa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kala Ukulele Artist

Eddy Finn Ukulele Artist

Parrot Island Band

www.parrotislandband.com

 

Peace, Love and Ukulele

Peace, Love and Ukulele

Peace, Love and Ukulele… It is the title of Ukulele legend Jake Shimabukuro’s CD. It is also an ideal…that music (in this case, the Ukulele) can bring peace into a chaotic world.

Bry Harris Kala Uke artist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know that the Ukulele brings me a great deal of peace. It is a great stress reliever and helps take me to my “happy place”. 🙂 It also brings a smile to those who listen and I have found that it is hard to be in conflict with someone while they are listening to a Uke and smiling. (In my “humble opinion”, the Ukulele is the ultimate “weapon of peace” and should be given to everyone around the world at this very moment.)

At the beach this past week, I sat and watched the ocean waves while playing the Ukulele and wrote one song (Down at the Beach) and started another (Peace, Love and Ukulele).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got home and finished Peace, Love and Ukulele…I hope you enjoy it. (If at any point it makes you smile, please pass this along to someone who needs a lift!)

 

Peace, Love and Ukulele

V1)

Turning off the evening news
It's giving me the blues
We've got to set our sights much higher

Another day has come and gone
I'm just trying to hold on
I know that we can do much better

Chorus)

Peace, Love and Ukulele… we need more of…

The kind of music that can… help us

Finally learn to get along….

V2)

So many people fuss and fight
Everyone thinks they are right
Why can't we learn to love each other

Sometimes our pride gets in the way
And though we know what we should say
It looks like we aren't even trying

Chorus)

Peace, Love and Ukulele… we need more of…

The kind of music that can… help us

Finally learn to get along….

Bridge)

What if we could just remember
On this journey we need friends
The world would be a better place
If we could come together in the end

Chorus)

Peace, Love and Ukulele… we need more of…

The kind of music that can… help us

Finally learn to get along….

As a Kala Ukulele artist (or, Kala Uke Ambassador, as I like to sometimes refer to it), I am always looking for an opportunity to spread my love of Ukulele. It is never too late to pick up this wonderful instrument. It is a joy to play the Ukulele and have someone say that they had always thought of the Uke as a toy but have now changed their mind and realize that it is a great musical instrument!

Although many know me as part of the Parrot Island Band (a Jimmy Buffett tribute band from Atlanta, Georgia), I also write original music and enjoy taking the Ukulele into schools, nursing homes and any place that is looking for some fun music to lift their spirits.

My wish for everyone tonight is peace, love and, of course… Ukulele! Thanks for reading and listening…

Peace, Love, Ukulele 🙂

Bry Harris

Parrot Island Band

Kala Ukulele Artist

Peace, Love and Ukulele

 

 

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Bry Harris

I became a Kala Ukulele artist a few months ago and I have been interviewing some of the other Kala musicians in order to get to know them better (and hopefully help others to get to know them as well). Since I am waiting to hear from some of the other Kala artists, I thought I would share my own story as an introduction to the Kala community. I have really fallen in love with the Ukulele in recent years and view myself as a “Ukulele Ambassador” of sorts…. In addition to our band (the Parrot Island Band), I love to take the Ukulele into schools (and to senior groups) and teach them about the Ukulele. Since I have added the Uke as the main acoustic instrument in the band (in place of guitar), I have had many wonderful conversations about the Uke and I have made several “converts” to this neat instrument.

Bry Harris Kala Brand Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bio:

I grew up in Tidewater, Virginia, and have had been drawn to the memories of lakes, rivers and the ocean ever since. When I graduated from high school, I was named “most likely to open for Jimmy Buffett” (ok, it was a ‘tongue in cheek” accolade and officially it was something like… “in 5 years Bryant will likely open for Jimmy Buffett”- but time has morphed into the “most likely to” reference :)).

While I did play in bars and restaurants for awhile in college, I took and extended break from music (about 25 years!) and began playing again for others around 2006. I started a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band that now includes my wife (steel pan) and good friend, Kevin Garrelts, (congas) and myself (vocals, guitar and, of course, Ukulele). While we started as a cover band, I have written around 30 songs that we add to our set lists and they have been very well received.

We recorded a Trop Rock CD, Parrot Island Getaway, which consists of original songs and has been played on Internet radio stations from Key West to California, New York to Alaska and even Canada. The Parrot Island Band has been nominated 3 times as Trop Rock duo/trio of the year at the Trop Rock awards that is held in Key West, Florida.

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“I currently live in Acworth, Georgia… about 45 minutes to an hour north of Atlanta.”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

“I started playing guitar when I was 12 years old in the 70’s. I was influenced by the likes of James Taylor, Grand Funk Railroad, the Eagles, many of the great singer/songwriters of my youth such as Dan Fogelberg and Harry Chapin. Probably the biggest influence on my music (and no surprise to those who know me) was Jimmy Buffett. I loved his fun-loving persona and tropical themed music. Jimmy’s music still influences me today!

“In addition to Jimmy Buffett, the music that I listen to today comes from a broad range of “Trop Rock” musicians that paint musical scenes of beaches and palm trees but are not necessarily known to the general public. I love musicians who play because of their passion for music… but like me, may never play in front of large crowds or on mainstream radio.”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“I have only been playing the Ukulele for a couple of years but I have definitely been bitten by the bug. I keep a Ukulele out at home to play while watching TV or just for the fun of it (and to relax and work on new song ideas). I also have another Uke in my office and take a break now and then to play a few chords (I find it boosts my creativity and makes the rest of my work day more enjoyable).”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I play the Kala Acacia Tenor (KA-ASAC-T) with an added MiSi pickup. I also keep a Kala Long-neck Soprano (KA SLNG) in my office. I use this Uke when I go to preschools or elementary schools to teach them about the Ukulele (or sometimes just the letter “U”!).”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“Our first CD, Parrot Island Getaway, has been out for a few years now so I should be announcing our next CD (but we are still trying to figure out a way to get moving on that). I have written enough songs for a new CD and my plan is that when it comes out, it will be one that features the Uke, steel pan, congas and U-bass (so if there is anyone out there wanting to help us get this going, just let me know ;-)).”

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course;-)

“Q: Jimmy Buffett is on the phone and wants to know if you would like to have lunch and play a few songs together?”

“A: Let me check my calendar and call you back (JUST KIDDING! ;-)) Yes, just let me know where to go… I’ll be right there!”

I get an extra question since this is my idea… 😉

“Q: Why did you switch from playing guitar to Ukulele?”

“A: While I have always loved playing the guitar, there is something about the Ukulele that relaxes me and moves me in a deep way. I feel as if I should have been playing the Ukulele all my life and that it is part of my “purpose in life” (to play the Uke and somehow bring joy to others through it). I am just beginning to explore how the Uke will be a part of this next chapter in my life and I am really looking forward to discovering the answer….”

All for now

I hope I can get in touch with some of the other Kala Ukulele artists and have more of these interviews in months to come… until then, pick up a Ukulele… strum a happy song and make someone smile…

Peace, Love and Ukulele

Bry Harris

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Ukulele Artist

Kala Uke Artist Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Rachel Pearl

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Rachel Pearl

Thanks to Rachel Pearl for taking some time to answer a few questions as our Kala Ukulele artist of the week! As Rachel lives in Nashville, we are not too far away (Atlanta, GA)… hopefully I can find the opportunity to hear her live soon. I have enjoyed listening/watching some of her videos and it is obvious that Rachel is a person with great talent and a passion for her music. Without delay, here is another Kala Uke artist interview….

Kala artist Rachel Pearl 1

BIO (from www.facebook.com/RachelPearlMusic/info)

Rachel Pearl hails from Bowling Green, KY, where she grew up with music. Her mother is a popular blues singer from that area and her great Uncle Bill has played at Woodstock and made music all over the world.

She moved to the Nashville area in 2000 to learn more about herself and music. She travels the US with her ukulele and guitar singing original jazzy tunes, Top 40 hits and jazz standards.

Such is the enigma, the phenomenon called Rachel Pearl. She has such a range of technique in her work and is not afraid to experiment with some amazing results. With her jazz background and classical training, she tackles pop music with all that she's got, unafraid of shying outside the norm. Her ability to bring together classic sounds with current pop iconic music distinguishes her from many other musicians and also points to a growing trend. Pearl brings a warm vocal tone and vintage taste to electronic popular music. These days Rachel Pearl's new sound has been heavily influenced by artists such as: Oh Land, Robyn, Florence and the Machine, Kimbra, Lady Gaga, Imogen Heap, Katy Perry, Natasha Bedingfield, Madonna and many more.

Kala artist Rachel Pearl 2

1) Where is home for you at the moment?    

“Nashville is my home! They call it Music City for good reason. There is so much talent here. I visit other big music towns like NYC and Los Angeles, but they don't feel like home. They are great for inspiration and collaboration though.”

2) What were your earliest/ and current musical influences?  

“My earliest influences were artists like Bonnie Raitt, Cyndi Lauper, The Beatles, Herman and the Hermits, …..I listened to so many things growing up. My mother had stacks of vinyl records and my twin sister and I would listen on our little record player. My current influences range from Ella and Julie London, to Katy Perry and Oh Land.”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“I started playing ukulele after a relative passed away and I was given their instruments. It was three years ago. One was a mahogany soprano, the other a tenor banjo ukulele. Both were at least 60-80 years old and I felt that they deserved to be cleaned up and played.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

I love the solid acacia tenor and the (now discontinued) curly mango tenor. One of my favorites is also the arch top. It has a wonderfully warm sound.”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)? 

“My newest release is my self-titled CD "rachel pearl". It is pretty different from my jazzy CDs, but I think that music is all about taking chances and learning new things as you go. I've been songwriting more than I ever have and I've been learning a lot. I will return to a more acoustic sound, I'm sure. And I still post ukulele videos from time to time.” 

Kala Uke artist 3

You can also find Rachel at:

www.rachelpearl.com

www.twitter.com/rachelpearl

www.youtube.com/rachelpearl

Facebook

 

 

 

Here on Parrot Island (that imaginary place where the Parrot Island Band resides), I finished a new song this week. 🙂 The title of the song is If You Want a Happy Song and is a reminder (to me and hopefully others) that we are responsible for our own happiness and have the choice each day to write our own happy song….  We have a gig at a small coffee shop this weekend and will have the opportunity to play this song live. I always enjoy sharing new songs with people and, even better, when it is in a small setting. Until next week….

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Ukulele Artist

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist RJ Kaneao

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist RJ Kaneao

Thanks to RJ Kaneao for taking time to answer a few questions in my quest to get to know some of the Kala Uke artists better…. I stopped by RJ’s webpage and really enjoyed hearing his music and finding out more about him!

RJ Kaneao Kala Uke artist

Bio (taken from www.rjkaneaomusic.com)

Combining reggae grooves, heartfelt ballads, and Polynesian rhythms, RJ Kaneao's unique blend of contemporary sounds and traditional beats lends to the color of local Hawai'i and Pacific (Polynesian) music. Performing alongside such greats as Don Ho, Melveen Leed, the late Dennis Pavao, Mana'o and Company, Kawao, Fiji, Various Marley's, the late great Braddah IZ Kamakawiwo'ole and many others, RJ has spent much of his life fine tuning the details of island music.

 

As a Polynesian entertainer traveling the globe with Tihati Productions, RJ's exposure abroad has helped craft his musical style into a much desired local pleasure. Once the musical director for Tihati Productions on the Big Island Chapter, he continues to honor and share his Polynesian heritage with all.

Along with many local artists, RJ Kaneao's influences include Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, John Mayer, Elvis Presley, James Ingram, Jerry Lee Lewis, George Benson and Frank Sinatra. "Weird, huh?!" Not really, considering the eclectic mix of tunes from the catchy lines of "This is 4 My Lady", "Ooh Now Girl", "Sip'n on Wine" (TORU CD) to laid back ballads like "Love You Driving Me Crazy" (LANUI CD). He credits much of his success and musical guidance to his mentor, Kalama Ku Koanui, and his family as inspiration, especially his son, Aaron.

With his fourth release, "Best Of Me", RJ Kaneao highlights his musical inspirations once again and brings his journey back to its roots. Recorded completely in his own studio, "Best Of Me" is a testament not only to RJ's musical gifts but his technical skill behind the boards and as a producer as well. "Best Of Me" is RJ's latest giving of himself back to his listeners, fans, friends and family.

From the relaxing love groove “Babygirl” and “You're Beautiful” to the more upbeat “Just Friends” to the already well requested  smash hit single, “All Night”, RJ shows that he still has a rhythm and step for ladies. The island pop “Ooh Baby” throws down the funk, while “Karakia No Te Atua” (“Best Of Me”) seeks to hold strong the support for struggles of the Polynesian man in today's world. Ending with a smooth R&B ballad, RJ's “I Can't Leave You Alone” is a tribute to the softer and more romantic, heartbroken side of his music. With 14 original tracks in total, RJ Kaneao's "Best Of Me" is the culmination of the creative mind and musical talent of one of Hawaii's hardest working entertainers.

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“I am in Hawaii for the most part but toggling between flying to L.A. on red-eye flights to get where I need to go. I realize the move is probably something in the near future.”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

“I've pretty much been around music since I was in my mother’s belly…lol. My family has been deeply rooted in music and entertaining when I was a child and as I progressed through my school years. I've been on-stage since I was like about 3-4yrs old but my earliest recollection is probably when I was about 6, so my earliest influence has to be my family. My current musical influences range from musicians, artists, vocalists and just some everyday people. To be able to pull influences and a better understanding of your music and how it runs, indeed, in sync with your life, can bring so much depth into your music.”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“As a child I always fiddled around with it, and in Hawaii it’s a normal thing. I started taking it more seriously when I was about 14. But I've been a lead guitarist professionally for about 18 years and from time to time switch it up with ukulele.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I am playing a Kala Mahogany cutaway. KA-SMLTE-C”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“I have my two most recently released albums on iTunes and some singles, songs I produced for other artist etc.

“As far as tours, there has been talk, but nothing confirmed, as of yet.”

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course 😉

“Question: What is Music to me, like, what is the definition?

“Answer: to me, music is sharing, giving, expressing, beauty of creativity, but most of all, a giving of pure love.”

You can find RJ at  www.rjkaneaomusic.com

Facebook 

Youtube

As I have mentioned in previous interviews, I greatly enjoy the diversity and talent among Kala Ukulele artists. Kala has some world class (and world traveled) musicians playing their Ukuleles. I hope some of these guys/gals make it to Atlanta so I can meet them in person! 🙂

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Uke Artist Bry Harris

The Kala Tree Song

The Kala Tree Song

I wrote a song this week called the Kala Tree Song, another fun little song for folks who enjoy the Ukulele and life at the beach. While it feels primarily like a children’s song, I have had several adults comment how much they liked it… so I guess if you are a child or an adult and you enjoy it, it’s for you!

As a Kala Ukulele artist (I play and promote Kala Ukes for Kala Brand Music), I included the Kala brand Ukulele in the song because they are such beautiful (and great quality) instruments. I also mention the “Kala tree” in the song as it is a Ukulele display that is placed in many stores that sell Kala Ukuleles.

Kala Brand music Bry Harris

As it relates to this song, I imagined a (Kala) palm tree down near the ocean that had Kala Ukuleles hanging from its palm branches. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a palm tree (with Ukuleles) waiting on you so that you could pick a Ukulele and play some Island music to those who passed by? 🙂

 

I think this song might make a neat children’s story (expanded a little, of course).… I will have to keep an eye open for the opportunity to develop this song/story in the future (and it already has the song to go along with it!). I am also excited about having another Ukulele song to share when I visit schools (preschool/elementary) to teach them about Ukuleles (or in some cases, the letter “U”).

Without further delay, here are the words (and video) to The Kala Tree Song… I hope you enjoy it!

The Kala Tree Song
V1)
I saw a Kala Ukulele, hanging in a Kala tree…
I saw those lovely Ukuleles, and this one was the one for me

Chorus)
So I played my Ukulele, and I sang an Island song,
And everyone who gathered ‘round me,
asked if they could sing along…

V2)
Picked up my Kala Ukulele and I went down to the shore
I started playing for the sea gulls,
they asked if I would play some more

Chorus)
So I played my Ukulele, and I sang an Island song,
And everyone who gathered ‘round me,
asked if they could sing along…

V3)
Picked up my Kala Ukulele and I went down to the sea,
I started playing for the dolphins,
they asked if they could stay with me..

Chorus)
So I played my Ukulele, and I sang an Island song,
And everyone who gathered ‘round me,
asked if they could sing along…

Interlude-
Bridge)
I’m thankful for the Kala trees, and lovely Ukule..e..les
I’m thankful for the summer breeze, and the music that it brings

Chorus)
So I’ll play my Ukulele, and I’ll sing an Island song,
And everyone who gathers ‘round me,
I hope will come and sing along…

I’m finding that simply written songs can be enjoyed as much as those that are written by “master songwriters” and that if I have a song in me… it needs to be shared. So pick up your Ukulele (or whatever instrument you choose) and share your inspiration with us… I’ll be waiting…

Beaches and blessings,
Bry Harris
Kala Uke Artist
www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Uke Artist Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Justin Fox

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Justin Fox

As I have been reminded in these interviews, not only do musicians have a variety of musical styles, but we also have a great deal of diversity in backgrounds and personal lives. With Easter just a few days away, I thought it would be a good week to post my Kala Uke artist interview with Justin Fox who is using his music (including his Ukuleles) to reach out to others in faith and love…

Kala artist Justin Fox

BIO: (From http://www.justinfox.com/story/)

“My dad is a forester, my mom is a folk singer…My uncles are butterfly collectors, tile layers, Scientologists, and flamenco dancers…

I was dreaming of being Kris Kristofferson in “Convoy”.  I wanted to be a truck driver.

In 1989, while playing Poison’s “Fallen Angel” to a packed crowd of screaming teenagers, I felt God tap me on the shoulder. We were driving home the last few songs of our set, the energy was building, and as I took in the moment, peering through the smoke and the lights, caught in the audience’s joyful response, it seemed like I heard God quietly say, “I want you to do this.”

A few years later: 1993, still before the age of the Internet, email, cell phones, Chris Tomlin, Delirious, or Third Day… I began the adventure of my life, visiting youth groups, camps, and Sunday services with just a batch of original songs, a trunk of cassette tapes and my acoustic guitar. I was on a brand new road to where music was going in church, and logging hundreds of thousands of lonely miles up and down California, at odd hours of the day and night, joining the rushing current of 18 wheelers, I realized I had finally got my wish…

I was a truck driver!

I graduated in 1993 from Bethany University in Santa Cruz.  I married Heidi, the love of my life, a week later, and we are thankful to now be celebrating 20 years of marriage.  I’ve produced ten CD’s of original music…oh, and four children. As our kids grew (three teenagers now!), my desire for a more local, close-to-home existence and some dramatic nudging of the Spirit prompted a change.  I had been “on the road”, full-time, for over seventeen years and an opportunity opened up to serve at my local church while attending graduate school at Biola’s Talbot Seminary. Three years later, I have earned an M.A. degree in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care and will graduate as a licensed spiritual director.

I currently serve as City Pastor to Costa Mesa through ROCKHARBOR Church, lead worship at Lighthouse Community and other various venues, write for David C. Cook’s TRU discipleship curriculum, and accompany college students as a spiritual director at Biola University.”

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

Costa Mesa, CA

2) What were your earliest/ and current musical influences?

Earliest musical influences: Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Beach Boys

Current musical influences: Jack Johnson, Black Keys, Mumford & Sons

Kala artist justin Fox b

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

Seven years ago

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

Two gorgeous soprano ukes – one with dark wood and traditional stylings and one that's lighter with modern elements including a pickup with EQ and Tuner!

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

My first Uke recording was "Handiwork" and that set me on the journey.

Here's the track:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/handiwork/id118443388?i=118443099

You can find Justin at http://www.justinfox.com/

This week, I (Bry/Parrot Island Band) was invited to Open Arms Preschool in Acworth, GA to introduce the Ukulele as they learn the letter “U”. I love sharing the Uke with young and old alike and the kids had a great time and were very well behaved. While we usually play for adults (corporate events, neighborhood parties, private events, etc.), this was a fun time that I’m glad I could be involved in…

Until next time…

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Uke Artist Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Stuart Fuchs

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Stuart Fuchs

As another week starts, it is time for another Kala Ukulele artist interview– this time we hear from Stuart Fuchs. From the sound of things, Stuart is very busy… thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions, Stuart!

If you live in the Tampa, Florida area- stop by and visit Stuart… here is some information Stuart sent me last week, “I'll be giving a Ukulele clinic on Tuesday 3/26 @ Sam Ash in Tampa…the Dale Mabry location.  The details are at www.stufchs.com on my calendar.”

For the rest of us, here is some more information on Stuart and his Ukulele travels…

Kala Uke artist Stuart Fuchs

BIO: (http://www.stufuchs.com/about-stu/)

Stuart Fuchs is a performing artist, multi-instrumentalist, music educator & workshop facilitator.  He plays everything he can get his hands on, but specializes in Ukulele, Gypsy Jazz & Classical Guitar, Didjeridoo, and Percussion.

“Stuart travels the world with his collection of instruments and loves to spread joy through music, with spontaneous (and scheduled) acts of musical kindness.  Have you ever been treated to a spontaneous serenade in an airport gate, or in the waiting room of a doctor’s office?  If you heard soulful and peaceful refrains coming from a smiling Ukulele player, that was Stu.

“Stuart Fuchs has worked as a performing musician, teaching artist & workshop facilitator for nearly 20 years—playing many styles of music on Guitar, Ukulele & healing music on overtone rich instruments such as Tibetan Singing Bowls and the Aboriginal Didjeridoo.  Stuart has been called a “modern day pied piper” and has performed & taught music to a diverse array of populations—from corporate executives & toy designers at Fisher-Price Inc., developmentally disabled adults, juvenile offenders, and hospice patients.  Stuart believes passionately in the healing power of music to be a vehicle for personal expression & wellness—he finds great joy & purpose in guiding individuals into a more humanistic and natural experience of their innate musicality.”

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“In my sweetheart's arms!  No, really, I was born in the Bronx, NYC.  Home for 17 years has been Buffalo, NY.”

2) What were your earliest/ and current musical influences?

“Earliest? My Father was a classical guitarist & I grew up listening to him play.  At a very tender age, he taught me a few things about it & then let me have one of his guitars.  I would take it into the woods and then try to make the sounds of birds.  

First music that made me want to play was George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue & my sister's David Bowie & Beatles LP records. Songs by Monty Python, Pink Floyd & Jimi Hendrix were what I first learned to play. Currently listen to just about anything that has soul & is not overly produced.  I'm open to a lot.  I love roots music of America, Indian classical music, jazz, New Orleans funk, Classical, The Rolling Stones, Django Reinhardt….I'll stop now :)”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“First Uke was a cheap-o soprano in 2001.  I had no idea what it was, I just knew I wanted a small axe to play on the bus & cheer me up during Buffalo's bitter winters.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“My endorsement with Kala was sealed with a Marcy Marxer signature Uke.  The fine fellows at Kala's shop set it up just as I like it & IT SMOKES! (Thank you Ryan & Crew!)”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“Yes indeed!  On 3/3/13 I released my first SOLO CD called "Stukulele". You can hear and buy it at http://stukulele.bandcamp.com/album/stukulele.  I have also launched a NEW WEBSITE at http://www.stufuchs.com/.

I am currently touring with Bhakti Yoga/Kirtan artists David Newman & Mira, accompanying them with my guitar & Ukulele…singing ancient & very healing Sanskrit Mantras.  It's a meditation method & a limb of Yoga known as "The Yoga of the Heart".  Look up "Kirtan" for more.”

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course;-)

“Q) What is the best palindrome you've ever heard?  

A) "I'm a lasagna hog.  Go hang a salami". “

(Stuart… you got me there… I learned something today… I had to go look this up.  😉 For the rest of us, a palindrome “is that peculiar marvel of language when words or sentences read the same forward and backward” Good one!)

Kala Uke artist Stuart Fuchs

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find Stuart at:

http://www.facebook.com/StukuleleStuartFuchsMusic

http://www.stufuchs.com/

From here on Parrot Island (yes, it’s a state of mind, but I spend so much time here that sometimes it’s hard to remember I’m not really ON an island :))… I hope everyone’s week is filled with sunshine, palm trees and the sound of Kala Ukuleles (that’s your cue… get off the computer and go play your Uke!)

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Uke Artist Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Ian Clarkson

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Ian Clarkson

In today’s installment of Kala Ukulele artist interviews, we get to catch up a bit with Ian Clarkson of the musical group, the “Jive Aces”.  Although Ian is from the UK, he and the Jive Aces will be in Tampa this coming week, on March 14th at the Zendah Grotto 4450 W. Ohio Ave, Tampa, FL (from 8-11:30). For me, this is a case of “so close and yet so far”, as we (the Parrot Island Band from Atlanta, GA) were just in Tampa last week for a gig. All I can say Ian, is that I hope it is warmer for you (Bring them Sunshine Ian!) than it was for us…brrrrrr (it was cold and windy for our event ;-)).

Kala artist Ian Clarkson 1a

Bio: Ian Clarkson is the lead vocalist, trumpet and Ukulele player for the Jive Aces, the UK’s No.1 Jive and Swing band. (from http://www.jiveaces.com/who_are/ian.html):

“Ian was born in the Liverpool area and lived only a few doors away from Paul McCartney’s brother. He then moved to Essex and London, hence his current accent.

He began singing when he was a boy and would entertain his family with song and dance and whole theatrical shows which he would put on with his sister in the Clarkson family home for guests.

He soon went to London to sing and learn trumpet and it was in the smoke-filled jazzy nightclubs of the capital that he met most of the Jive Aces.

Ian’s cool singing style, hot trumpet and hip showmanship put him centre stage as the front man and he pulls it off with ease in a style reminiscent of Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima and Dean Martin all rolled into one.”

Kala artist Ian Clarkson

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“Currently home is on the Kent/Sussex border in sunny England. It is easier for the band to live near each other and it's nice to live in the country but also be so close to London for gigs.”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

“I started off as a kid listening to Elvis. As I grew older, 14/15, I was interested in whom his influences were and so sort of worked my way back into blues and other American roots music, all while my friends were getting into whatever the radio or disco was playing. 

“So my influences were and are everything from early New Orleans Jazz, blues, swing and hillbilly up to 50's R&B, rock ‘n roll and very early soul. I also loved crooners like Bing, Sinatra and Dino and Nat King Cole.

“One of the bands biggest influences is Louis Prima, hence the latest album being a salute to him.

“On this album is our version of “Bring Me Sunshine” which although Prima didn't perform, we thought summed up the joy he put in his music, and that we hope we do too. Plus it was one of the first songs I played Uke with the band – I had the honor of playing it personally for HRH Prince Charles who loved it and was very interested in the Uke, stopping to chat about it for a while.” 

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“I only properly started playing about three years ago when my wife bought me one for Christmas after I had been playing on Uke nut Kaplan Kaye's lovely Kala. I was instantly in love and very soon I had acquired a few Ukes and a couple of Banjoleles. When I started, I didn't know it was going to catch on so much in the UK, but it seemed to spread like wild fire. All of a sudden when I played Uke with the band, the fans and friends loved it and many started playing Uke themselves. Uke builds a sort of friendly community around it. Unlike most other instruments, it isn't egotistical or financially driven, it's all good fun and about sharing, I like that. 

“I used to play guitar when I was a young kid before I started trumpet. I played mainly rhythm on blues and rockabilly stuff at the time and then gave it up. I always wanted to start playing again but just didn't get around to it. When I found the Uke, I realized this is what I needed. It fell under my fingers, I could take one anywhere and it was such a happy sound, it made people smile when you played it – and I'm all about cheering people up. 🙂

“Oddly enough, a short while ago, an ex girlfriend posted a shot of me playing her Uke from about a hundred years ago and I didn't even remember it. I thought I'd never touched one until just a few years ago.” 

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I mainly play my two Kala concerts, my custom painted yellow "Bring Me Sunshine" model, of course. And I still have my little soprano yellow Makala that I played in the Sunshine video. I actually recorded on that too. One of the things I love about Uke is that you can also grab the lower end soprano Uke and get a great little sound out of it. Most of our recordings now have Uke on it, even if it’s only me playing rhythm, instead of the usual rhythm guitar.

“I'd like to try a Tenor though and also get a high end soprano for fun.” 

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“Ooh I think sometimes we have soooo many projects on the go… We are currently touring to promote our latest album “King of the Swingers: A Salute to Louis Prima” which is going very well. We have a lot of theatre dates as well as festivals and dances, etc. 

“In April we are back in the US playing in LA and DC and also recording our next album, a Christmas CD, plus filming another video. 

“In the summer, we have the Satin Dollz coming over to the UK to tour with us. We mainly work with them in LA. If you have ever seen one of my little tutorials, the Dollz are always featured. When they first toured with me, I got them into Uke (as it is infectious) and now they all play Uke, and look great while doing it. Check them out; they even do ukeograms too….

“We also have some shows coming up featuring our Skiffle Combo which features me on Uke and our saxman switches to fiddle and Al, our trombonist, plays washboard. Skiffle is great for Uke and is both fun and exciting. (We also recorded a skiffle CD called “Its Skiffle Time!” – which was great fun to record).” 

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course;-)

Q)"Would you like my collection of vintage Ukes?"

A) "Yes, please"

You can find Ian at:

http://www.jiveaces.com

http://www.facebook.com/jiveaces

I’m enjoying these interviews so far for a number of reasons. Not only do these Kala artists have a great variety of musical backgrounds, but they seem to have a shared love for music (and especially the Ukulele) that is contagious. Everyone has been so cooperative in answering these questions… I have several more to go and look forward to sharing more Kala Ukulele artists’ interviews in the weeks ahead.

Have a great visit to Florida, Ian…

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala ukulele Bry aa

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Will Kimbrough

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Will Kimbrough

I saw a picture of Will Kimbrough playing a Kala 8 string Ukulele about a week ago and thought that Will would make a great Kala Uke artist. Today I saw his picture up on the Kala Brand Music web page confirming that he is now a part of the Kala Ukulele family! 

In my interview with Jim Mayer (Coral Reefer Band/Jimmy Buffett), he mentioned that he and Will had been playing the UBass and Ukulele on some of the songs on Buffett’s upcoming CD. As I am a big fan of Jimmy Buffett (and the wonderful musicians that he surrounds himself with), I was excited to hear that there will be some Uke on this project. Will confirmed that he “just played the Kala Uke all over the upcoming Jimmy Buffett album!! Probably half the songs have the 8 string tenor Kala on them…” !

If you haven’t heard of Will Kimbrough, you have missed out on some great music. Will is not only a superb song writer but an outstanding musician. While Will sits in on some of Jimmy Buffett’s concerts and recording sessions, he is a wonderful talent in his own right… OK, enough superlatives from me… check out Will Kimbrough for yourself.

Kala artist Will Kimbrough

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bio:

“Will Kimbrough was born and raised on the Gulf Coast. He has been out playing music since his first band at the age of 12, and on the road since he graduated high school. Will's bands include Will and the Bushmen, The Bis-Quits, DADDY and now Willie Sugarcapps, his collaboration with Grayson Capps and Sugarcane Jane (Anthony and Savana Crawford). Will has released 6 solo albums in addition to 6 albums with his various bands. Will's songs have been recorded by Jimmy Buffett, Little Feat, Todd Snider, Jack Ingram and others. He has worked in the studio and live with Buffett, Snider, Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, Mavis Staples and way too many others to mention here. Will produced two of Todd Snider's finest albums (East Nashville Skyline and The Devil You Know) as well as Adrienne Young's Grammy Award nominated Plow to the End of the Row CD. Will is currently on tour all over the U.S., finishing his upcoming solo CD and working on the debut Willie Sugarcapps CD

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“Nashville”

2) What were your earliest/ and current musical influences?

“ Hank Williams, Beatles, Mississippi John Hurt”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“3 years ago”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“8 string tenor!”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“ Currently finishing a solo CD, and beginning a CD with Willie Sugarcapps—my new band with Grayson Capps and Sugarcane Jane (Anthony and Savana Crawford).”

Kala Will Kimbrough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find Will at:

www.willkimbrough.com and Willie Sugarcapps- Home  for tour dates, news, blogs and information.”

Thanks again to Will for answering a few questions, here’s wishing you a year of gigs and fun… and of course, more Uke! 🙂

It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway), Will is always welcome to sit in and Uke with the Parrot Island Band (here in Atlanta, Ga but have Uke, steel pan and congas and will travel)- aloha!

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Uke Ambassador Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Heidi Swedberg

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Heidi Swedberg

Continuing my quest to get to know other Kala Ukulele artists, today I share my interview with Heidi Swedberg. I love to hear from musicians like Heidi who are teaching and sharing music (especially Ukulele!) with the next generation. Thanks to Heidi for taking the time to share some of her thoughts and answers…

Kala Heidi

 

 

 

 

 

BIO (from Heidi Swedberg and the Sukey Jump Band's Sonicbids EPK and  http://sukeyjumpmusic.com/)

“Actress/musician Heidi Swedberg (Seinfeld, Galaxy Quest) loves to share the joy of music with people of all ages.  She and her partner, Daniel Ward, make beautiful music together. They believe in the incredible power that being a music producer (not just passive consumer) can bring to all people, and believe we all have a song in our soul to share.

“When Heidi was 5 years old, she received her first ukulele from the Hawaiian Easter bunny while living in Kailua, HI. She has fond memories of teaching herself chords and writing songs in her room in Albuquerque, NM, the place she thinks of as home. She picked the instrument up again in 1992 in Hollywood, CA, while playing a singer-songwriter for a network TV pilot. Now life imitates art and she plays a singer-songwriter-teacher full time.

“She recorded her first album this summer in Albuquerque. Play is a family fun ukulele album which encourages you to pick up the instrument and play along.”

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“Los Angeles, CA is my physical home, but NM will always house my heart.”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

“I have three older sisters and my parents were dynamic Girl Scout Troup leaders for them. My earliest musical influence was the voices of my family and a gaggle of girls singing from the scout songbook. We sang in cars, around the piano and around campsites. It was how we were pacified and entertained. I hope to record one of my favorite songs we sang together for our next CD.

“Current musical influences are as wide as the world and include everyone I meet. I was recently in Haiti teaching ukulele at an orphanage. The kids there taught me a song which we have recorded… I love to learn songs wherever I go. A mom from Panama taught me another song that will be on the new album. If you have one to share with me, be prepared to see me adopt it!”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“I got my first ukulele when I was 5. My family lived in Hawaii and the Easter bunny brought one for each of us in our Easter baskets. One of my sisters still has hers. Wish I had mine, but I loaned it to a boyfriend in high school. Many years later he returned a mandolin in its place.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I use a UBass in my band. It has a great sound, easy to travel with and is a conversation starter. A school where I teach has a bunch of Kala Baritones. I play one every week along with a chorus of 35 middle schoolers.”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“We are working on our new CD "My Cup Of Tea" and anticipate a spring release. Right now we have 17 songs from around the world, mostly in the folk tradition, but some pop covers as well. The instrumentation includes xylophone, tuba, guitar, stand up and electric bass, all manners of percussion, horns… and always ukulele. There will be a booklet included (like my last CD) which includes all lyrics and chords.

“We will be doing a spring tour from LA to Kansas City, where we will play the kid's festival Jiggle Jam on Memorial Day weekend. Dates will be available on my blog soon!”

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has?

“Where can we send you monetary support?
To my Kickstarter campaign, which is coming soon! Until then, you can buy our first CD and sign up for our newsletter on my blog.

Kala Heidi a

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can also find Heidi at:

Heidi’s blog http://sukeyjumpmusic.wordpress.com/

Website  http://sukeyjumpmusic.com/

On a personal note, I (Bry) picked up a new Kala Uke this week- the Kala Acacia Tenor (with a Mi-Si pickup added at the Kala custom shop).  Not only is this a beautiful Uke but it sounds FANTASTIC! The Parrot Island Band played the Music on the Bay event in Tampa, FL, this weekend and with over 700 in attendance, the active pickup system provided the needed volume (without sacrificing tone).

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala ukulele Bry and the Parrot Island Band

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Kyle Heimann

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Kyle Heimann

Our next Kala Ukulele artist is Kyle Heimann. I’m really enjoying getting to know some of the other Kala artists and the wide range of musical styles and backgrounds of this group. Kyle and his duo look like my kind of people (a little “goofy” but a lot of fun 🙂 ). After doing a little search online, I’m a little embarrassed to admit it but I think I could fit in with this group pretty easy (in fact I’m thinking about taking my Uke and stalking them for awhile 😉  ). Without further adieu… here’s Kyle!

IMG_3036Kyle-utar-01

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bio:

“Kyle is one-half of a musical duo called Popple (an acoustic, humor rock band). He mostly plays a tenor ukulele and kazoo, although the nose-flute and harmonica usually make an appearance. Popple travels around the country speaking and entertaining youth and they are bearded.” (Editorial note… I’m not sure if the band or the youth is bearded but I may just show up one day to find out!)

PoppleJumpColorSq

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“I live near Fort Wayne, IN.”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

“My mom comes from a very musical family and her dad (my grandpa) taught music, directed groups and owned a music store. So, I kinda went from piano to trumpet to guitar to ukulele. There was probably a couple dozen other instruments that I have messed around with or currently do. I love goofing around with all kinds of instruments but ukulele is my main one, followed by guitar.”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“I bought a $35 ukulele in 2003. I was playing guitar with another guy (the beginnings of our band, Popple), and worked the ukulele into one song, then two . . . now, I usually don't take a guitar to a gig.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I have a Utar (now discontinued) and a Kala KA-15S that are both fitted with electronics. I also have a Ubass that is tons of fun. But, mostly, I play a Kala KA-ASMTE-C and an Archtop, both tenors. They feel fairly similar and I can never decide which one I like better. That is 5 Kala instruments for those keeping track at home.”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“I am in a band called, "Popple." We travel around playing mostly for youth groups, retreats, and other church functions. We call it ‘Acoustic-Humor-Folk-Beard-Rock.’"

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course;-)

“I wish people asked me if I used steroids. That would imply that I look very strong. The answer would be, ‘No, this is all natural.’ "

kyleukeicon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any group that plays kazoos and Kala Ukuleles is OK by me and if they are ever nearby, they are more than welcome to sit in with us (the Parrot Island Band from Atlanta, GA).  Thanks to Popple for taking their music and reaching out to young people… keep spreading the Uke!

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala ukulele Bry

Music On The Move

Music On The Move

Music On The Move. Last week I was invited by music teacher Cheryl Walburn (former Parrot Island Band steel pan player) to her school, Roberts Elementary, in Dallas, GA, to participate in their weeklong event called “Music On The Move”. Each day a parent or friend of the school (my category) was asked to come to the school and introduce a musical instrument to the students in their classrooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During their music week, I was told there would be a mandolin, guitar, violin and even someone who would sing opera to the students. My instrument, of course, would be the Ukulele (Kala soprano) and I started off the event on Monday.  Having recently agreed to represent and promote Kala Ukuleles (they call me an “endorsing artist”, I like to think of myself as a Kala Ukulele Ambassador 🙂), I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce these young people to a wonderful instrument.

With Mary McDonald as my school guide, we set off to visit as many classrooms as possible. When we entered each classroom, I asked if the students knew what instrument I had with me. Answers from the younger students ranged from “banjo”, “guitar” and even “violin”. I gave the students some background information on the Ukulele and then played my song, “Parrot Island”. I was happy to see that the kids not only enjoyed the song, but really seemed to enjoy the Ukulele.

Music on the Move

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My song “Parrot Island” is a song about an imaginary island filled with palm trees, a clear sandy beach and dolphins jumping in the nearby waters. I asked the kids what they would want to bring or do on a visit to Parrot Island (I told them there would be a soda machine and all drinks were free) and they came up with some fun answers. Some wanted parrots, while others wanted to parasail. A few wanted to swim with the dolphins, while others wanted to see sharks (without teeth, of course). Only one class wanted their cell phones and video games and while I told them they could bring them to this wonderful (yet imaginary) place, I hoped once they got there, they would want to enjoy all the fun (and outdoor opportunities) that would be provided.

Music on the Move

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did stop by the teacher’s lounge while some were on a break and they seemed to enjoy a few minutes of entertainment too. Several mentioned reminiscing of some “beachy” place they had visited. On the way to another classroom, I encountered a class en route in the hallway. I sang them a song quietly and as another class came from the other direction, I paused to let them pass. The teacher stopped and asked if I would continue and when I finished, both classes erupted in applause (so much for playing quietly!). The highlight of the morning came when I heard a student yell from down the hallway… "There's Ukulele Man!". Yup, that was fun. 🙂

I left Robert’s Elementary School with a smile on my face and I feel like I left the place a little more joyful that morning. I was followed by a mandolin player on Tuesday and was told that many of the students were convinced he was playing a Ukulele!

Music On the Move - A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I usually play for adults as part of the Parrot Island Band (a Trop Rock/Jimmy Buffett tribute band from Atlanta, Georgia), my time at Roberts Elementary was a blast. I enjoyed hanging out with the students and they were all very well behaved. I hope I have the opportunity to return to this event next year and maybe even visit another school, should the opportunity arise.

As warmer weather approaches, remember us if you are planning a community event that needs some tropical music…maybe a party for your HOA (Home Owners Association) event or even a customer appreciation outing. We also play a number of fundraisers throughout the year and I also like to play at house concerts if you would like a more intimate musical environment.

Peace, Love and Ukulele,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala ukulele Bry

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Snap Jackson

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Snap Jackson

As a new Kala Ukulele endorsing artist, I wanted to get to know some of the other musicians in the “Kala family”.  Dustin Barber was kind enough to be the first to respond to my request for an interview and I enjoyed getting to know more about him and his tremendous talents. Snap Jackson (and several others that we will hear from in coming weeks) is my next featured artist.

Kala Snap Jackson Uke artist

Bio (from Snap’s website): “In July of 2006, after hearing John Hartford’s Mark Twang album, singer-songwriter, Snap Jackson walked into a music store in Stockton, California and purchased his first banjo. He has been obsessing over it ever since. In addition to both Scruggs style and clawhammer banjo, Snap also plays the ukulele, mountain dulcimer, and the harmonica. In recognition of his efforts, Snap was nominated in 2010 for the Northern California Banjo Player of the Year award and in 2011 he received an endorsement deal with both the Deering Banjo Company and Kala Brand Ukuleles. When he is not on the road fronting his band, Snap Jackson & the Knock on Wood Players, he can be found at home playing the banjo and spending time with his family. Some of Snap’s major influences include: Nina Simone, Jerry Garcia, John Hartford, Earl Scruggs, Stevie Wonder, and Townes Van Zandt.”

The following questions are just a few that I thought would help me (and others) get to know Snap a little better:

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“The road, but Stockton, California is where I keep my clothes.”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

“My mom was a big fan of soul and old school r&b music: Kool & the Gang, Switch, Tower of Power, Earth, Wind, and Fire, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Commodores, Stevie Wonder, and artists of that nature. My father, on the other hand, was into the more mellow stuff like James Taylor, America, John Denver, the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and the early Michael Jackson stuff. My Grams, Molly Bustos, exposed me to mariachi music at a very young age. I still enjoy listening to mariachi music very much. To me, mariachi music and bluegrass music have many commonalities; the harmonies, timing, themes, and even some of the same instruments are used in both styles of music. Both genres were created by and for the working man. I also grew up listening to a lot of hip hop music.”

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

“About 5 years ago.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“The tenor spruce top cut away is my main Uke on the road. For the type of music that we do, it really cuts through and gets the job done.”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“We just released Kaleidoscope, our second full length studio album consisting of all original songs. [The first album is A Breath of Fresh Air.] Both albums are available on itunes.”

Snap Jackson and the Knock on Wood Players

 

 

 

 

 

You can also find Snap at:

www.knockonwoodplayers.com

Facebook

I really appreciate Snap taking the time to answer these questions. I also took some time to listen to Snap and The Knock On Wood Players on Youtube (just Google and you can find several great videos) and was impressed with the quality and professionalism they put into their music. I enjoyed seeing how Snap worked the Ukulele (he is also a very talented banjo player) into the mix that includes (among others) guitar, stand up bass, and fiddle.  I hope that Snap and the band make it to the Atlanta area before too long – I’ll be there if they do!

Until Snap makes it to Georgia, keep us (the Parrot Island Band) in mind if you are here in the Southeast and looking for some Tropical Ukulele music (Kala Uke, steel pan, congas and soon U-bass). In addition to some fun cover tunes, we also play a number of original songs and have been nominated three years in a row as Trop Rock Duo/Trio of the year.

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Uke Ambassador Bry Harris

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Dustin Barber

Kala Ukulele endorsing artist Dustin Barber

I (Bry) received some good news this week as I joined the Kala Ukulele “family” of endorsing artists/musicians. I thought it would be interesting to get to know some of the other musicians who play Kala Ukuleles and since I have met and listened to Dustin Barber before, I thought I would ask him to answer a few questions. I hope some of the other Kala artists will be willing to participate in this project in the coming weeks.

Dustin Barber Kala Uke Artist

 

 

 

 

In looking at Dustin’s website, I took a few highlights (read the rest at dustinbarber.com) to share in this interview….

“Dustin Barber, known to his friends as "Dusty," began playing guitar at age 7 in Ft. Worth, Texas, where he was born. His father Sam bought him an electric guitar and taught him classics such as "Walk Don't Run" and "Wipe Out," which he leveraged to win elementary school talent shows. Soon after, he was playing complicated classical pieces.

His first big opportunity to tour internationally, surprisingly, was with a Southern Rock / Country band. This required that he set aside his Charvel and pick up a Telecaster, but as a fan of Chet Atkins, Ricky Skaggs, and Albert Lee, with whom he studied, he had no trouble combining his progressive rock skills with blistering country chops.

Presently, Dusty is touring the world with the Godfather of Soul, the legendary Al Green. Performing on stages from London to Madrid and television shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, he has remained incredibly busy in 2008. This experience has brought his talent to the forefront, and has proved that he is one of the most versatile guitarists in the nation.”

I first saw Dustin play a couple of years ago at a Parrothead event (A1A Parrothead Club’s Beach Bash) in an event that we (the Parrot Island Band) were also playing in. Dustin played guitar and Ukulele in Jimmy Parrish’s Band The Ocean Waves. If you have the opportunity to hear Dustin play guitar or Ukulele, make sure you don’t miss it!

Dustin Barber plays Kala Ukes

 

 

 

 

The following questions are just a few that I thought would help me (and others) get to know Dustin a little better:

1) Where is home for you at the moment?

“Jacksonville, Florida”

2) What were your earliest/ and current musical influences?

“My father would be my earliest influence and my most current influences would be Bob Marley, Al Green and tropical music!”

3)  When did you start playing the Ukulele?

“I started playing the Ukulele around 2008.”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?

“I am currently using a Kala Spalted Maple Cutaway w/pickup (KA-FMTE-C 4-String Tenor), Kala Mahogany 8-String (KA-8. 8 string uke) and a Kala Travel Uke (KA-SSTU-FMCP. Travel uke) with onboard compass in case I get lost!”

5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“I am currently the touring/recording guitarist for The Reverend Al Green, The Conch Fritters, Steel Bamboo Band and The Dustin Barber Project.”

Check out some of Dustin’s projects below…

dustinbarber.com

steelbambooband.com

theconchfritters.com

Dustin Barber

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to LIKE the Conch Fritters on facebook to keep up with their dates and new releases! If you haven’t gotten a copy of their new CD "Deep Fried", you can find it on Itunes, Cd Baby or their website at theconchfritters.com.

Thanks to Dustin for taking the time to share a little of himself with me. I hope that we have an opportunity at a future event to sit down and play our Kala Ukuleles a bit. I know that I could learn a lot from such a talented musician!

In the meantime, if you live near Atlanta, GA,  I (Bry) would love to come play at your event (or maybe you’d like to host a house concert).  The Parrot Island Band not only plays some classic Jimmy Buffett tunes, but we also play other tropical songs by bands like Zac Brown, Kenny Chesney, etc.  In addition to some fun cover tunes, we also play a number of original songs and have been nominated three years as Trop Rock duo/trio of the year.

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist

www.parrotislandband.com

Kala Uke Ambassador Bry Harris