Rejections are wonderful sources of motivation
I returned home today to a message from my friend Lis regarding The Mighty Uke Movie.
Well, that hit a note and struck a chord!
In the 1980s, the musical instrument of choice taught in the Halifax school system was the ukulele, led by Chalmers Doane. I was one of many many children who took it up and went through that program. It was my first instrument to music in Canada, and I progressed far enough to make the prestigious A Ukulele Group. That ukulele musical experience left me with many great memories. I remember a couple of thousand of us kids played for the newly wed Prince Charles and Lady Diana as they visited Halifax in 1983. When I was in grade 8, we had an exchange with an outstanding group in Langley, BC, which was my first trip really far away from home. There were lots of good times and rehearsals in between.
Now, as the trailer said, the ukulele is sometimes said to be perceived as being a bit of a joke. Well, anything is until a lot of people embrace it, and there seems to be that going on. Ironically, I had switched to guitar during those school years and now, though I can still do more on a ukulele than I’ll ever be able to do on a guitar. It’s just a lot more versatile being a smaller instrument for a little guy like me. However, I’m very much keen to take it up again seeing there’s a revolution going on. That F# string is going to make be say a few things starting with F#, though, I’m sure, given it’s a semi-tone off from the G-string on the guitar while the strings surrounding it are the same. But I’ve got a lot of muscle memory left. I can still do the Jazz Pizzicato riff as well as ever.
But in case you think the ukulele is a joke, have a listen to a couple of pieces below. The first is the late Israel Kamakawio’ole playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World like you had never heard it before him. Nice and simple, but just gorgeous.
But for those of you who needs a little virtuosity in an instrument to prove its worth to you, check out this Jake Shimabukuro guy playing an instrumental While My Guitar Gently Weeps of George Harrison fame. Yowza!
Or try the MUCH cuter version! WHO IS this kid???
My ukuleles might have been put away, but they are coming back out! That’s right. That’d be plural! Cause like pistols, a real man carries two!
The Might Uke Movie is making its Toronto premiere soon. I hope they will bring it to Halifax! They had better!
Check out ukuleledisco.com for some good, bad and ugly ukulele performances!
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 6.8
In the musical South Pacific, there is a well-known song called (I’m in Love with) A Wonderful Guy. What’s not well known, though, is that the song had a life before South Pacific, with the original lyrics.
So what? You’re saying. And quite frankly, I have to agree. So what?
Sorry, readers, but this post’s for me, first and foremost… though there’s great music here.
I’m working on improving my singing and one of the songs I like to sing is A Wonderful Guy. I love it enough that I don’t care that I’m a guy singing the thing! Mind you, I’d bet money that one day, I’ll rewrite the lyrics to get a version I can really sing, as I’m also a songwriter.
Anyway, the best version of A Wonderful Guy I was able to find is one sung by the fabulous Doris Day. However, it was not from South Pacific. Too bad, as she would have been so perfect for it, in my opinion. Doris Day sang the original song lyrics and so for my singing practice, I went to piece it together since there was no page I could easily find with those lyrics! Imagine that! Something so well-known so well hidden on the Internet!
So because I either have something new or is just too hard to find on the Internet, I turned into a blog post. New or added value content, that’s my raison d’être to blog. I don’t think many people would be interested, but that’s OK. It’s for me to use, first and foremost, and anyone who wants to enjoy it.
Btw, my blog does not count my usage of it, in case anybody is thinking I’m pushing traffic my own way. 🙂
I expect everyone of my crowd to make fun
Of my proud protestations of faith in romance,
And they’ll say I’m naïve as a babe to believe
Every fable I hear from a person in pants.
I’ve been known to share your satirical attitude,
Thinking that love could be kept in its place.
‘Til all of a sudden that lyrical platitude
Bounced up and hit me smack in the face.
That’s how I turned out to be
The happy young woman you see.
I’m as corny as Kansas in August,
I’m as normal as blueberry pie.
No more a smart
Little girl with no heart,
I have found me a wonderful guy!
I am in a conventional dither,
With a conventional star in my eye.
And you will note
There’s a lump in my throat
When I speak of that wonderful guy!
I’m as trite and as gay
As a daisy in May,
A cliché comin’ true!
I’m bromidic and bright
As a moon-happy night
Pourin’ light on the dew!
I’m as corny as Kansas in August,
High as a flag on the Fourth of July!
If you’ll excuse an expression I use,
I’m in love, I’m in love,
I’m in love, I’m in love,
I’m in love with a wonderful guy!
South Pacific version of italicized verse
Fearlessly I’ll face them and argue their doubts away,
Loudly I’ll sing about flowers in spring,
Flatly I’ll stand on my little flat feet and say
Love is a grand and a beautiful thing!
I’m not ashamed to reveal
The world famous feelin’ I feel.
Hollie Steel and Susan Boyle both made great use of the surprise element to enhance their dazzling auditions on Britain’s Got Talent to stratospheric levels. Hollie started off dancing, dressed in a ballerina outfit before she opened her mouth the blast away everybody with her stunning singing. Susan Boyle, meanwhile, looked “frumpy” and over the hill, incapable of having such a polished voice since nothing else about her said “polished”.
But now, we’re getting ready for the next round and those elements of surprise are gone. People will be expecting great performances out of both. What should they each sing to get them the edge over the other?
Simple answer, in terms of concept, if you ask me. Difficult as heck of an answer, in terms of details, if you ask me.
I think they should both sing something which demonstrate the strengths in their vocal abilities, as well as show us a new element of their singing and/or character to add a little surprise. That is, keep the same formula as much as you can. But without both elements, the expectations of another great song would just be too great for either to fully satisfy now that people have an idea of how great their voices are.
There are many songs that suit the strength criteria, with all of breadth, power, great lyrics and such. A British crowd pleaser would certainly be a bonus. Susan’s strength is seriousness and grandeur. We heard her sing I Dreamed a Dream that was slow, with notes held long and several grand flourishes. Hollie, meanwhile, has more dexterity and range in her voice, singing a suitably playful and light I Could Have Danced All Night to suit her girlish looks.
That said about both Susan and Hollie, what might they be able to surprise us with, then? Well, I find it hard to imagine Susan doing most fun number convincingly. She might look like a granny, for example, but can you imagine her singing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins, for example?
The best I can imagine Susan to do for fun is Honey Bun from South Pacific, like Reba McEntire does below, hip twisting and all as Susan showed she could do in audition intro to Simon Cowell while saying “and that’s just one side of me” that drew quite the reaction from the crowd. Susan would never win on that number, but it’d be hilarious and I’d pay a lot to see it!
Susan might do well in the style of fun if she were to choose something like A Wonderful Guy from South Pacific. It’s the prototypical fun song for the “frump next door”. Hahaha. I can’t believe I just came up with that! Frump next door. That’s my new affectionate nickname for Susan. Anyway, Susan can even seduce the judges with this song by dedicating it to, say, Piers Morgan, who had asked her on a date to apologize for his cynicism of her abilities on the show and she had accepted. I don’t think Simon Cowell would fall for it, though. It’s all in the lyrics so listen carefully! Brilliant choice for Susan, in my opinion. But, alas, can’t you also imagine how cute little Hollie would be doing something like this??? Susan would be beaten at her own song, even if Hollie could not try to seduce any of the judges with it like Susan could given her age.
Hollie, meanwhile, I think could go serious in any number of ways while still retaining her childish charm. That is, she could be on Susan’s turf and still keep her identity in all this. What if Hollie stepped out and did the Liverpool soccer team favourite of You’ll Never Walk Alone, in the style Sissel does below with the ravishing surprise ending? I think they’d go nuts for her! Susan couldn’t hit that note, but wouldn’t sound all that unique or special if she were to sing it, even though she’d sing it well.
I thought about Josh Groban‘s You Raise Me Up, but that was recently done by former BGT super contestant Connie Talbot. It was outside of BGT at the age of 8, and as much better as Hollie would be able to do it, it’d be too close in time for comparisons. I think if Hollie were to really dazzle, she’d sing For Good, from Wicked. It’s one of my favourite 10 songs, and so thoughtful a song it’d be the one I’d play at my funeral to share a last thought if I could only have one song. Turns out, it might also be one of Hollie’s favourites as Hollie had said on the Today Show that she would love to sing in Wicked in London’s West End! She might well do this song! I only found out in trying to find hints Hollie might have given for her next song and saw she was thinking something similar, if not the same thing. Imagine that! I might just get my wish, and wouldn’t that just be Wicked? Listen to the lyrics in this duet version that I’ve heard interpreted solo before, and imagine a 10 year old singing that to you! I think I’ll need to Kleenex to sponsor me for that one! Ironically, Susan might be old and more suited to give this kind of advice, but she just wouldn’t move me the same way Hollie would. Not even close!
So what’s Susan to do then, if going fun isn’t suitable for her? I say stick to the powerhouse classics. Maybe she could try one sung by her idol Elaine Page? There’s an emotion filled rendition of Memory from Cats below by Elaine. If Susan could do it with that much emotion, given her voice and less polished look to look like a character who might say those lines, and add in a few growls, it’d be stunning! Even better, I’d love to see Susan sing it in costume! She’d be quite the cat! A “little tiger”, as Simon Cowell called her during her audition on Britain’s Got Talent… 😉
Of course, if Hollie showed up in a little cat outfit, everybody would all be melting over how cute she would be! And even if the audience could immediately predict she’d be singing Memory upon seeing her in her cat suit, I think the voice power and the image of a little girl pouring out such maturity would confound them and dazzle them enough to stun them like Susan could not.
Ah, let’s face it. I’m convinced Hollie Steel will win Britain’s Got Talent 2009, even if the odds are not with me. But whatever Susan and Hollie come up with, though, I’m sure it’ll be good and frankly, I can’t wait! When is that next round anyway?
What would you suggest Hollie Steel and Susan Boyle sing next on Britain’s Got Talent?
By the way, WordPress just enabled videos in Comments. I don’t know how it works yet but if you want to try, see if you can make it work with a video to illustrate your choice of song/s!
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.5