I Remember – Molly Drake cover

This song breaks my heart in a way that it can only be broken when I realize that another artist has recognized some truths about my experience and put it down in a song decades before I was even born. I love this song by Molly Drake. I have been so preoccupied with it that I haven’t explored very much of her other work but I look forward to doing that.

-s

Lost Things – original music set to a Sara Teasdale poem

Oh, I could let the world go by
Its loud new wonders and its wars
But how could I give up the sky
When winter dusk is set with stars?
And I could let the cities go
Their changing customs and their creeds
But, oh, the summer rains that blow
In silver on the jewel-weeds!

This is a poem by Sara Teasdale turned into a song by me.

I’ve been thinking today about how much nature features in Sara Teasdale’s poetry. Visiting it has been essential for so many, a comfort, a source of solace especially needed in lockdown. Seems like Albuquerque dwellers live for time spent outdoors. Sara Teasdale, a white lady who wrote all these poems in the 1920s and 30s, did not acknowledge the unspoken truth that white Americans routinely ignore–that we are living on stolen land.

I’ve also been thinking about white Europeans. How is their experience different from my own – that of a descendant of white settler colonists – to know that you are living on land that belongs to your ancestors? Could this be a part of why so many white people have a deep feeling of being unmoored, out of place?

I am a white person living on unceded Tiwa land in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I donated 10% of my Patreon earnings in June and July to Seeding Sovereignty. If you have the means please do the same. I am so grateful to be in a good place financially, plenty of food, stable shelter, lots of support economically and emotionally from family. Wondering what it would be like if all BIPOC felt similarly supported, held, cared for by the larger culture.

-s

Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps – ukulele arrangement

Today I am proud to present my arrangement of Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps! I love this tune. The first time I remember hearing it was in the hit 1990s Baz Luhrmann classic (in my mind anyway) film Strictly Ballroom where Doris Day’s version provided the soundtrack to a sexy secret tango.

Thank you to the patrons who yet again paid the bulk of my rent in July! Thank you!

-s

Soap Floats – original song on charango

Now what is that cute little instrument featured here, you may ask? It is my friend charango and she is so sweet. A Bolivian/Andean instrument also known as the super ukulele. She is loud. She is brash. She is here to be heard and she is not kidding around. And I love her! She has ten strings in total, grouped in pairings, tuned GCEAE, similar to the ukulele. But there’s not reentrant tuning like in the standard soprano ukulele. Rather, the middle pair of E strings are tuned an octave apart. I have a lot of instruments and I love them all and this is one I really want to spend more time with. So it’s nice to revisit this song I wrote probably a decade ago and play it on a different instrument.

But onto this song: I wrote it because the first word in the title of the movie “Hope Floats” (which I don’t think I’ve ever seen actually) rhymes with “soap,” and I thought it would be funny to claim that all soap floats when clearly not all soap floats.

One last thing: this past week I have been obsessed with rereading The Hunger Games trilogy and when I am done here I am going to sink back into the third book of that trilogy because I just can’t get enough of that adrenaline-fueled thrill ride. It is really really working for me to use these books as a reward for doing these recordings. So satisfying. I’m so excited for the weekend (I give myself the weekends off) because what will be in store? I’m so happy you asked! I’ll finish the third book and then probably watch all the movies. Anyone down for a virtual Hunger Games movie night? Or day? lmk <3

-s

Hanalei Moon – ukulele cover

This song was written by Bob Nelson, and my arrangement is loosely based on Ukulelezaza’s excellent one. I love this song. It’s one of the very few hawaiian songs I have in my repertoire. Gotta remedy that situation.

In other news, patrons paid my rent this month! I am so excited and grateful for that. Thank you thank you thank you. After Patreon’s fees and taxes I received $500 for posts I made in June. Thank you so much, patrons! I am so grateful to have you.

-s

After You’ve Gone – ukulele jazz cover

After approximately 42 takes yesterday to then push, push all the furniture in my apartment around and continue on to do what felt like 37 more takes, here is my offering to you today. It took a pandemic to get me here, folks, because, it’s not like I have anything else on the agenda so why not spend seven hours polishing a song I thought I already knew? Thanks, lockdown, for getting me to finally practice, I guess? Hah!

Why is it that when I sit down to record these songs I’ve been playing for years that it feels like I am learning them for the first time? I love these old songs.

-s

Flooded Away

A song I wrote in December 2012. It’s funny coming back to these old songs and looking at them again through today’s lens nearly a decade later. This song is sort of speaks to climate change and it is sort of a cartoonish and whimsical fantasy story. It’s easy to make the jump from flood to pandemic. Of course, things can never be the same after this.

But now I want to ask, what are the things that have been lingering that could be washes away? How can we seize this opportunity? Can we as white people educate ourselves–cleanse our minds, our hearts–of the racist and sexist stories we habitually tell ourselves, and make this country what it never was intended to be: equitable for all?

-s

Hikoukigumo – Yumi Arai ukulele cover / ひこうき雲 – 荒井由実

I was intimidated to record this one today but once I got going I didn’t stop. I learned about this wonderful singer songwriter Yumi Arai because of the Miyazaki films her songs are featured in. I have the biggest artist’s crush on her! This melody! It is so beautiful and sad! I can’t handle singing it! Every time I play it there is a sort of breaking in period where my voice just sounds like crying the first few run throughs, because I am crying. Hoo!

Here is a translation I found on hereisarchy.tumblr.com. If you’re not crying yet, are you ready to start crying? Yet?

Vapour Trails

The white slope continued on to the sky
Wavering, ephemerality envelops her
Unnoticed by anyone, all alone,
She is ascending
She fears nothing, and soars up high

She admires the sky, is dashing through the sky
Vapour trails are her life

At that high window, even before her death,
She looked to the sky, and now they don’t understand
Other people don’t understand
They only think that
She was too young, but she is happy

She admires the sky, is dashing through the sky
Vapour trails are her life

She admires the sky, is dashing through the sky
Vapour trails are her life

-s