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2016 Gift • Boy & Bear • Chemo • Ukes of Today • Australians Busking
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Better late than never
If you've been looking for a stylish, ukulele-themed 2016 year-at-a-glance printable calendar (and let's face it, who hasn't?) ...well, problem solved! 
The tag line is a kindly reminder that "Ukulele each day keeps the neurons at play". Download (or just view) here
Raising the barre
Walk the Wire is a single from the third album of (internationally) popular Sydney indie folky pop rock outfit Boy & Bear. In the acoustic clip I've linked to on the songsheet, the bass player is doing percussion with something on a guitar case, they keyboard player has a small casiotone and lead vocalist Dave Hosking is looking disturbingly like James Hill. In fact I think they would have done well to swap their guitars for ukes in this clip!
If you play the chords how they're shown in the diagrams, it is a beautiful exercise for barre chording and for leaving one finger (your ring finger in this case) lightly anchored to the G string as it navigates between chords. In all but two instances, the C and Bb chords are played for a bar and a half and the Dm and Am chords for half a bar.
Furthermore, it's great barre chord practice as long as you make sure 1) your pointer is placed far enough across to allow easy fretting on the two top strings, 2) your elbow is slightly forward of your waist, and 3) your wrist is allowing your fingers to do the curve-around-and-land-in-command of the fretboard. Barre chords mostly take a lot less strength to play than we imagine, and (eventually) relaxing while playing them helps immensely!
One small instrument - so many benefits
An Hawaiian woman who survived breast cancer posted a lovely article here about the enjoyment and benefit she gained from ukulele lessons for cancer survivors that are currently offered by Roy Sakuma Ukulele Studios. Thinking and memory problems can often occur after cancer treatment, and this woman feels as though learning ukulele has helped her regain some of her memory. 

Ukes of Today are a band of five Australian teens who play drums, tenor, concert and bass ukes, plus...trumpet. They performed at the 2013 and 2014 National Folk Festivals, write their own material and encouragingly list Boy & Bear as one of their influences. Have a listen, it's good!
Gypsy Ukulele - Django's Minor Swing on Uke & Flute
When Australians busk
A beautiful pairing of flute and uke carrying off Django Reinhardt's Minor Swing with alacrity and being filmed with a bit of early interference from windy weather, in Canada. Melbourne jazz saxophonist Joel Plymin is on flute and Formidable Vegetable Sound System/Permaculture Ukulele Project Charlie Jones (McGee) is on uke.
I sincerely hope they made a few bucks!
Danielle
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