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Some Like it Hot • Lean On Me • DIY Kits • Recorder
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Some like it hot, then they go for a swim
I am not generally a fan of ukulele-based world record attempts, but this one not only combines two of my favourite things (cycling and ukulele) but its other objective is to raise money for the Cancer Council in South Australia. The attempt will be during the Tour Down Under, the inaugural event of professional cycling's UCI World Ranking calendar in January next year; is seeking to topple Tahiti's current record; and will be fronted by the Marilyn Jetty swim group who are all dressing up as... Marilyn Monroe. I just hope none of the riders become distracted by the sight of multiple Marilyns clasping red mahalos and giving breathy renditions of a Bicycle Built for Two.

Lean On Me
Even though it was originally written and performed on piano, this song seems to lend itself to ukulele. Born on the 4th of July in 1938, Bill Withers enlisted in the navy at age 18. After his discharge in 1965 he funded demo recordings with a number of run-of-the-mill non-musical jobs while writing songs and performing them in clubs at night. He kept working the jobs right up until he had sealed not only a record deal but a successful album in 1971, followed by grammys in 1972! Bill grew up in a coal mining town in West Virginia, one of 6 children. Apparently he wrote Lean On Me after he had moved to Los Angeles, was living in a run-down house in a poor area, and missed the community ethic of his hometown (bless you Bill Withers, and Wikipedia). I've played this arrangement a few times to an audience and it really works, which is why I've included it in excruciating detail, but hey, whatever suits!

DIY Uke or Hum and Strum at parties
This hapless young Brit decided to buy a DIY ukulele kit and make one for his son in the hopes of nurturing a musical genius to support him in his old age. Reportedly his hopes have been somewhat dashed, but he mentions that he bought the kit at presentsformen.co.uk where I found this extraordinary party game for music lovers called 'Hum and Strum'.
New Lease on Life for the Recorder?
Ukulele players in general and particularly teachers of ukulele to school children tend to have a fully justified aversion to the humble recorder. Even though it's cheap and doesn't need much tuning, a group of them can sound terrible and you mostly can't sing and play it at the same time. Getting a bit of notice on YouTube in the past few months, however, is the nicknamed 'Pasadena Piper', a man who has been spotted doing animated recorder solos to songs on his car radio, while he's stuck in traffic or parked. Perhaps this is the future, perhaps he could be to recorder what others whose names start with J are to ukulele? The sound is a bit low as he's being filmed from a few lanes across on this one, but it's a great example of his style.
The legend
Rocking out to ZZ Top's La Grange
(Don't tell anyone but I own a recorder)
Danielle
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