At the start of the year I had an idea to combine two defining passions in my life, nature and music. When I adventure out on hikes, I come across the most scenic locations, which can only be reached by hours and hours on foot, and I thought it would be cool to record instrumental songs in these amazing places. The idea really catched on, and over the year I have recorded in nine unique locations, either with a guitar, ukulele or harmonica. The real star of the performances has been the great outdoors, the sounds of wildlife and animals in the background, the wind blowing lightly, and the water tricklying down creek beds. It has been a really cool experience. The entire collection of songs is now out, a free download at the link above. Enjoy.
The ukulele, to me, is a very peaceful instrument because you can’t possibly strum an ukulele and be angry. It’s almost impossible. Just saying the name or saying “ukulele,” it’s hard to say that and not smile.
I remember when I first started playing it around town, and I’d be walking around the airport or walking around the city that I’m in with my ukulele case, and people would stop me, and they would ask me, “Hey, what’s in the case?” They’re expecting to hear, “Oh, a violin” or “a mandolin.” But when I say “ukulele,” their eyes just light up. They’ll look at me, “That’s, that’s a ukulele!” And then they’ll share some story of how their father or grandfather played the ukulele, or how they got married in Hawaii and there was this band that was playing and there was an ukulele player.
It gets people excited. It makes people happy. It triggers something in people’s minds, something that they associate good things with the instrument. That’s how I feel. I believe that if I had said, “Oh, this was a violin” or “a mandolin” or any other instrument, I think the conversation would have ended with just, “Oh, OK.” But with the ukulele, it’s a different story. You have a completely different connection with the person. It’s like people just let their guards down. They’ll let their guard down and just open up. I’m a total stranger to them. It’s fascinating.
I joke around a lot. I tell people if everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place. I really believe that, because when people are feeling good, and they’re happy, and they have no defenses up, then it’s one world, one love.
When you travel the world or go hiking into the wild, the journey is often started with various different ‘burdens’. As time goes by, your adventure becomes your way of life and you start to forgot the way things were back in a capitalist society. Going from hostel to hostel you lose the need for having possessions, nor do you want them, and as you disappear further into the beautiful world of nature, your ego becomes stripped away. I being to feel free and wonder how did I ever live such a life driven by a warped sense of reality and what the world is really about. But once the travel or hike is over, these things slowly begin to creep into my life and the real journey often becomes a distant memory.
This circle makes me think. It makes me think really deep thoughts about what is happening here. Humans are destroying the planet, and in many ways, each other. When we refuse to help the poor, or sick, we are taking a backward step. Yet it doesn’t make any sense, surely buying food for the homeless is more important then another pair of shoes to add to the other dozen you have? Inaction causes damage.
Scientists have long been perplexed about why a creature like a chimp would share a meal with another chimp. What’s in it for him or her? Well, perhaps the chimp hopes, as far a chimp can hope, that should the going get tough, that the chimp with which he’s sharing his food, will share food with him someday. Animals are cooperative creatures and that if they can get along, we should be able to get along, too.
An ocean, a rainforest, the human body, are all co-operatives. The redwood tree doesn’t take all the soil and nutrients, just what it needs to grow. A lion doesn’t kill every gazelle, just one. Yet humans continue to take more then we need. It doesn’t make sense on any scale.
I don’t have the answers, but it is so obvious that our current path is only going to end badly. What we need is a global movement towards changing the way we consume and view. Humans are inherently compassionate. As soon as people start to understand that all living things are somehow connected, and the you are only as rich as the poorest person in your town, as healthy as the sickout person in the street, only then will we begin to really step into a light of blessing and prosperity. True happiness.
One of my bands has just released a new EP, and this is the opening track from it. It ebbs and flows between heavy intensity and beautiful melodic sections, almost going for a total of ten minutes. Definitely the longest song I have ever recorded, also a free download on the link. Enjoy, let me know what you think.
When I was a little boy i live in New Zealand for a few short years. Being so young, my memories are filled with imagergy more than thoughts. I can still picture the ocean disappearing under the sunsets, windy days out on One Tree Hill, passing the days with my mother, and the hedgehog that became my best friend. After we moved back to Australia, I didn’t think about it again.
Life is full of surprises, and the one ideal that has grown with me the more I travel is to just go with the flow, taking each day and adventure as it arises. When I was in Europe, which was amazing, something happened which I had never felt before, and this chance meeting has led me to New Zealand again.
Arriving in Auckland for the first time again, six weeks ago, I didn’t know what to expect, but the truth is, i have fallen a little in love with this country. There is beautiful landscape everywhere you look. The natural beauty of the islands is some of the best you will find anywhere on the planet. There’s no way to sufficiently describe the richness of the environment on this wonderful island, and it’s incredible how much effort people are putting into keeping it that way. Every other hour passing through on the highway the scenery will completely flip and change.
There is also an overwhelming feeling of peace out here. I can’t explain it. You need to feel it to understand, being out there, in the wild and just taking it all in. Magical.
Spent the weekend at a multi-tiered cascade deep in the Waitakere Range west of Auckland. What was really cool about the hike to these waterfalls was that it reminded my of the North Australian rainforests, except here the air was nice and cool. Beaut place!
Spring is here in Australia, and yesterday was a beaut day to record, down by a great river in the bush. The song is a guitar acoustic arrangened by myself, titled “Freedom”. Thanks to the birds and nature for the amazing sounds. Enjoy, you can download the song for free here: http://www.mediafire.com/download/1zi24d15w3t267z/Freedom.mp3 :)