Friday, November 23, 2012
The Ukulele Nation Poetry Project
Folks often ask me how i came to write an entire book of poems relating to the ukulele, its history, players, legend and lore?
Here's the story...
Following my 2011 winter tour of the South & Western U.S., I returned to Milwaukee extremely hoarse and exhausted from one too many workshops and concerts (3 months of touring can do that to you if you aren't careful). My doctor took one look at my vocal cords and said, "man you gotta take a break!" Now!
I was advised to take at least a full month off and not to sing.
Since i had been singing and strumming since the age of 11, this was the first time that i had to actually restrain from doing that which has brought me so much joy over the years...making music!
In need of a creative outlet to channel my creativity, i turned to my old friend poetry and simply began to write. As the weeks whizzed past, i noticed a theme taking shape as i began to reflect on my career as a professional, touring ukulele instructor/performer.
The more i typed, the more i laughed, cried, sighed and shouted.
Almost 20 years has gone by since i first started traversing the international ukulele highway, i had met so many wonderful folks, from up and coming players to legends, hall of fame events, to living room concerts...all of this seemed to pour out of my pen and in two short months, i had written over 60 poems relating to the ukulele.
My wife Carol, suggested that i put them into some sort of book form and the rest is, as they say, history!
One of my fans, reminded me at a recent gig that i had written the worlds first ukulele poetry book!
I don't think i will receive any prestigious poetry awards for this accomplishment, but i will tell you that i am proud of the collection and that i had a god-awful amount of fun watching it take shape.
...or as authors often say, it was a labor of love.
Jumping Jim Beloff has this to say about Ukulele Nation: "A laugh a page!"
The e-book is available at Amazon.com and is only $8.39. Here is the link:
The physical book is available from Elderly Instruments of Lansing, MI for $10.00
A big thank you to Marge Eiseman and Will Branch for their editorial skills, Paul Olson for his graphics expertise and of course my wife Carol Alvarez for her undying support. This project would not have been possible without all of these tireless champions of my muse.
The collection contains: essays ukulele jokes, humor, stories, photos, history and poems
Postscript: Since the release of this book, many ukulele club leaders have begun reading one from the book prior to each club meeting. The book has also been featured at numerous ukulele festivals and is often used by MC's at Uke Fest events.