During my 2011 tour of New Zealand, I made lots of wonderful friends. Alas, the NZ earthquakes struck shortly thereafter. The devastation brought back memories of the destruction from the horrendous 1994 Northridge quake in my hometown of Los Angeles.
From the 10,000 Kiwis that I strummed with at the Auckland Ukulele Festival, to the 753 ukulele players that attempted a World Record in Hawkes Bay, many of them were students.
New Zealand musician Anu Grace asked if I would like to be part of her relief effort: a collection of therapeutic songs and meditations for chidren. The goal was to create something that might help them understand and heal.
I wrote a song called "Be Mine," which Anu included in "A Gift of Stories N Song." It is a free download, and you can get it by clicking on the "Christchurch Earthquake Appeal" artwork.
Ngaire Shand, one of the masterminds behind the Hawkes Bay Ukulele Festival, asked if her students could perform my song at the Ukefest. I was tickled pink! What an honor to think that 800 kids would be playing the song together! I think that's what Anu had in mind when she cooked up this project.
Walt Rutgers is another HB Ukefest mastermind, and he was kind enough to make ths video of the performance. We're so internationally-connected!
The bottom video is something my Los Angeles uke students made for the Hawkes Bay gang: a little "Kia Ora" from the Ukulele Homies of East Los Angeles. We sent it to Walt before the fest, and he popped it up on the giant video screen during the festival.
It's fun being a uke player. Look what you get to do! How about joining us?