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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

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