What a year! We hardly put a foot on the street, but at least (in Barcelona) we were able to enjoy long walks on the mountains and, four a couple of months, spend some afternoons at the beach. But we all have had our lockdown dramas, and I’d rather take a look back at my musical activities in 2020. What did I do?
Live shows: zero.
New works for ukulele: a bunch! (time to work on cataloguing them)
Video publications: many!
I also started many new projects… and finished few of them.
Keep reading and I’ll tell you.
After finishing the video publication of 50 Miniature Studies for Ukulele, I intented to publish, during the first half of the year, a series of duets, [Ukes2dies] on my own and in collaboration with some ukulele friends. The March lockdown disencouraged me and left out the possibility of live recordings. But nice things happened. This is my favourite duet, Dolphins’ Carnival March recorded with my friend and student Graciela Cano on the first days of March.
I intend to complete the duets collection during 2021. The list of upcoming collaborators is awesome!
As the need to cancel one-on-one lessons arised, I promote my offering of online ukulele lessons via Skype. In these last few months I’ve been lucky to work with fantastic students from all around the world. I’m specially grateful for having met young Bill K., a very conscious player with whom I’ve learned a lot.
The need for materials for the lessons also brought me to work new pieces to develop techniques and abilities. This Jota’s Blues, was thought to work the Piedmont picking and is dedicated to another one of my brilliant students.
The Ukulele Sessions
Among the good things that happened this year in the ukulele world, it’s worth mentioning The Ukulele Sessions by Paul Mansell, a series in which he introduces people from the ukulele world. It was my pleasure to be featured on one of the episodes. In The Ukulele Sessions episode 11 featuring Choan Gálvez I play three of my originals.
Wonderful people playing my pieces
Although this year has been short on hugs, some nice (online) relations and friendships have been established. A casual conversation with Donald Bousted on Facebook led to this recording of Toska, one of my works for solo ukulele that exploits the classical tremolo technique (which I cannot handle yet). Thank you, Donald!
Expect some more Bousted plays Choan soon.
Mention shall be made of Donald’s The New Classical Ukulele, a brilliant album with recent compositions for ukulele and ukulele and percussion. A rare beauty.
Online socialization got me to establish friendship with Giovanni Albini, a composer and ukulele player from Italy. He’s pushed me to write me music which is out of my comfort zone and gifted me with this presentation of The Cheerless Walk. Mega-thank-yous!
For 2021 we’ll have –I hope so– an abundance of Albini-Gálvez collaborations.
Almost out of contest, as he published it on Dec, 31, Fabio Saba played a rendition of Minuto en Fa menor. Fabio is an atypical ukulele player, and this year he’s published a risky, but very palatable album. Please, go and enjoy High Elegance Living Patterns (my favourite track is Zeitgeist).
I’m happy to say that Fabio is preparing a piece, risky as he deserves, that I’ve written for him.
Waltz in Progress
Inspired by the collections of waltzes of the great guitarists of the 19th century, I’ve created a collection of pieces for solo ukulele titled Waltz in Progress. Each one of this waltzes is dedicated to some of the ukulele players I appreciate. A hug is sent from this lines to Todd Fiegel, the dedicatee of the sixth of the waltzes, who, with his continuated support, his reviews and comments about my compositions is always pushing me to advance in my creative work.
In 2021 I’ll be releasing a second set, with six new waltzes.
Hopefully, the full collection will be pushed to print by an overseas publisher.
Update: Waltz in Progress is now a book.
I’m extraordinarily handsome!
You all know that I’m not only humble, but also one of the more attractive ukulele players in this planet. The Solo Ukulele Facebook group invited me to its spotlight to talk about my musical life an play a piece. Subtitles are available if you have problems following my broken English..
Julián Rodríguez, one of my favourite ukulele players, published in March a series of Estudios Milongueros, attractive, very musical and playable! I love the three of them and recorded the first one, Lobuno.
In May I streamed a show playing some lovely swing tunes, programmed by Associació la Miranda from Barcelona.
I’ve recently started to transcribe some of my arrangements of jazz stardards, the tabs are available in my shop on Buy Me a Coffee.
And I recorded all these videos, with original works, arrangements of jazz, of pieces originally written for guitar, some Hawaiian music from the first days of the 20th century…
If I can put time and effort into my musical activities is mainly thanks to the generosity of my supporters on Patreon. It’s on this medium where I publish the majority of my originals and arrangements. Through these last months all these wonderful people have fed me:
Alain Rousseau, Allison, Anne Taylor, Antonio Más, Candace Earl, Carol Anderson, Cheryl Romero, Christine , Christopher Davis-Shannon, Claudia Krüger, Click Crumbs, Clifford Badgley, D.C. Kapilla, Daniel Ramírez, David Coe, David Megarrity, David Wade, Davide Donelli, Deborah Tolar, Diago Lezaun, Diana Dow, Dwayne Kinsey, Emma Edgar, Endika Portillo, Garfield Gumpster, GlennEr, Graciela Cano, Gustaf Wettermark, Hannah Sanguinetti, Jan Dromlewicz, Janine Campos, Jannik Lindquist, Joli allen, Jonathan Marshall, Jorge Gutierrez, Jose Salas, Josselin Auguste, Kalie Sessions, Karen Siebert, Kate, Kemi Ola, Larry Usselman, Leo Nava, Linda Dodwell, lorna herf, Magda Diaz, Marlies de Voogt, Marya Jansen-Gruber, Matthew Quilliam Music, Nick Collins, Patricia García Vargas, Paul Giguere, Pecoro , Penelope Dahl, Petra Malberg, renee french , Roberto Bajista, ruben.martin , Salvador, Sharon Calabrese, Sonia Martin García, Steve Van Allen, Steve Van Allen, Sven Thelemann, Terry Carter, Todd Fiegel, Tschilles, ukulele nick, UkuleleSpain, Vicki Renz, Vincent Chang and William Wilson.
My gratitude to all of them.
Have a happy 2021!