Uke-estra, Anyone?

OK. He says he doesn’t sing. But he loves to teach ukulele and is a professional instructor.  And he is realistically ambitious, both for himself and his students. And uke-stration is something that has become a passion for him.  And the “him” we are talking about is Austin’s own…..James Hill’s protege…..Kevin Carroll.

11181819_10153372328277951_2169984188198907245_nKevin is one of those ukulele instructors who sets the West Coast Ukulele Retreat apart.  He is, first and foremost, a fully credentialed ukulele instructor and comes highly recommended by his mentor, James Hill. What we especially respect about Kevin is how he is always changing the game, coming up with something new, and thinking of ways to both engage and educate his students. At last year’s retreat, Kevin and his class pulled off a darned good rendition of the Michael Jackson classic, “Billie Jean,” in just one session. This year, we’re going to see what he can accomplish with students (of all skill levels) in three sessions! So everybody hang on, here comes the Uke-stra!

Ukulele Gumbo

In this band workshop, Kevin Carroll will feature the wonderfully expressive and upbeat rhythms of the Louisiana bayou. It turns out that Zydeco music is a great match for the ukulele and this band will combine the necessary ingredients of buoyant rhythm, simple chords and infectious melodies.   Artists such as Boozoo Chavis, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Clifton Chenier will be on the menu. The Crescent City Groove Merchants (better known as The Meters) will also be featured as we look at one of their classic instrumental tunes. The various parts will be differentiated by skill-level: from simple to advanced chords and rhythms, along with fills, improvisation and percussive elements. So there should be something to be learned by players of all skill levels and interest. Listening skills, dynamics and becoming friends with sonic space (it is called the final frontier, after all) will also be emphasized as will the discipline required when performing as a group.   High- and low-G ukuleles are equally welcome in this workshop, as are players of all abilities.

Ukulele Soul Train

And just in case scheduling doesn’t permit you to take Kevin Carroll’s first band offering (Ukulele Gumbo), here’s another for you to enjoy as you explore the deeply soulful, rhythmic and emotional music known as soul. Working as an ensemble you will focus on a rhythmic tapestry full of riffs and grooves and learn songs by artists such as Bill Withers, Booker T. and the MG’s, James Brown, and more. (I’m feeling good already!) There will be parts for players of all skill levels, from beginning to advanced, so no need to worry if you’re good enough. There will be simple chords and advanced chords and fills, percussive elements, and opportunites to improvise. At the same time you’ll learn new listening skills–so often over-looked–and make new friends as you work together to create something wonderful. High- and low-G ukuleles are equally welcome in this workshop, as are players of all abilities.

And since, we wanted to make sure there was plenty of opportunity for all attendees to get a little taste of Kevin, here are three more opportunities:

Feelin’ Alright: 2-Chord Magic

Ahhh.  There’s nothing quite like a song that just has two chords to get yourself in the groove. But let’s up the ante with Kevin Carroll and explore this Joe Cocker classic where we’ll learn some 16th note strumming patterns, syncopation, and cool variations of C & F.  Though it is geared for beginners, in this workshop intermediate players may discover there’s more to playing the ukulele than they think. (Level 1 – 2)

The Art (and Science) of the Shuffle

Now for a little blues. So, you have the I, IV,  & the V, the blues scale, and it still doesn’t sound quite right. What could be missing?  Ah, says Kevin Carroll. It is the groove! In this workshop Kevin will help you breakdown the rhythm and work through several variations of chord movements that will give you the authentic sound of blues and blues-based music.  This is a great primer for intermediate level playes who just want to stretch a little, sit back, and get in the…..groove. (Level 3)

“Kashmir” for Solo Ukulele

Kashmir“Kashmir” has been heralded by Robert Plant as “the definitive Led Zepellen song.”  Hypnotic guitar, thunderous drums, bass, keyboards, and a distinctive vocal melody all converge miraculously to fit nicely on our four-stringed friend.  In this workshop we will learn the importance of the “back-beat” that John Bonham lays down so powerfully.  We will explore the “drones” that Jimmy Page employs, as well as John Paul Jones on the Taurus bass pedals.  And we will throw some Indian spices on top of all of this to create the singular majesty of Kashmir.  And then, we will learn to do all of these things simultaneously…because that’s how we roll.  What could be more fun (or challenging) for the advanced players who will be joining us in May. (Level 4)

We’re holding registration for the 2016 retreat open until we get all of our workshops and instructors posted or until we (or Asilomar) run out of space…which ever comes first. So, if you think you’d like to join Kevin and the rest of the crew–Victoria Vox, Dave Egan, Phil Doleman, Gerald Ross, Heidi Swedberg, and Daniel Ward– please Visit the Website, or better yet, Register Now!

~ by UkuleleLady on February 13, 2016.

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