Ukulele Series: Don’t Fret

The latest ukulele artwork in the “Don’t Fret” Series

There’s lots to fret about these days.

There are also times one can be distracted by the hopeful strings and strums of the ukulele. Meditative. Prayerful.

My latest series of art that involves the ukulele is called “Don’t Fret”. This latest painting features strings, tuners and bright colors.

There are pieces of music to be seen in the layers. The longer the look the more you see. That could be said of playing the ukulele too. The longer you play the more you…

I just posted this ukulele art piece today.

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Ukulele Abstract Art Tunes

Layers of chords, songs and nature combine to make an interesting abstraction.

Combining a love for ukuleles and painting has resulted in joyful creation of ukulele abstract art.

This first piece combines acrylic paint with layers of nature and ukulele ephemera.

Mixed media has become a wonderful way to combine art and music.

There are more photos of this painting on my Etsy shop.

It could be yours if you are looking for an original piece of ukulele art.

Solo Ukulele Book to Improve Your Uke Playing Technique

Over on my other blog, you can read about a book that I scanned and put online for ukulele players. The  book is 99 years old.  In some ways it is priceless.  Back in 1916, though, it was only $1.  The valuable part of the book is that it contains solo ukulele pieces that will make you a better ukulele player — for, of course, your gospel ukulele playing.

You can read more about the ukulele book on my other website. There you will find links to free pdf samples of a few songs from the book.  Or, you can purchase the book here.

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“Seek Ye First” on the Ukulele

“Seek Ye First” sounds wonderful on the Ukulele and Native American Flute

You can use three chords C, F, G7  to strum  this hymn.

C                         F                     C      F           C            G7
Seek ye first the kingdom of  God,  And His righteousness

C                                             F                   C      F   C  G7     C
And all these things shall be added unto  you,   A-le-lu-oo-jah

REFRAIN:

C   G7  F  C
Al  le  lu  jah

F  C  G7
Al  le lu u jah

C  G7  F   C
Al  le  lu  jah

F   C    C     G7  C
Al  le   Ale lu  jah

Powerful Simplicity: The History of “Seek Ye First”

How God leads people to write hymns can be a dose of encouragement and inspiration.

“Seek Ye First” was written by Karen Lafferty  in 1972 when she was 24 years of age.  According to the Psalter Hymnal, Lafferty wrote the hymns after she had attended a Bible study one night.

Karen Lafferty composer of
Karen Lafferty

Struggling with financial difficulties after recently starting a full-time music ministry, she returned home that night with new encouragement. Others appreciated its beauty and simplicity, and the song soon gained popularity, eventually providing the support that permitted her to continue and develop her ministry.

According to the “musiciansformissions” website, Lafferty is now working on writing a book about the whole experience.  I look forward to reading it — she shares on the site how people have written to tell her how the song has impacted them.

Scriptural basis for the hymn “Seek Ye First” : Mathew 6:33  

 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (KJV)

As a teen, I’d thought that “Seek Ye First” was my youth group just singing the verse.   I knew that one of the guitarists, who strummed while we sang songs in our group on Sunday nights, was just learning the guitar.  She told me she spent hours practicing the chords for the song.

Not until I heard a recording of the Maranatha singers performing “Seek Ye First” did I realize our group was singing a hymn that was fast becoming a very popular song.

I have enjoyed singing and playing “Seek Ye First” — guitar, ukulele, recorder, clarinet, Appalachian dulcimer, Native American flute.  And I decided the ukulele gospel song this week would be “Seek Ye First.”  As I looked for the copyright on the song, it was then I discovered Karen Lafferty and her interesting story.

You can read an interview with Karen on “Seek Ye First” at the ezine ‘Reformed Worship.’

Karen Lafferty’s New Music

Karen has a new album and you can listen to her songs on MySpace.

Karen Lafferty on YouTube about “Seek Ye First”

Higher Ground: A great hymn to practice ukulele

“Higher Ground” is one of my favorite hymns — mostly because of the tempo and ease of three chords.

History of Hymn “Higher Ground”

History of Higher Ground can be found  at Bible Study Charts.  It’s interesting to note “Count Your Blessings” was written by the same person.

Ukulele Tabs for “Higher Ground” hymn

You can purchase the ukulele tabs for Higher Ground as part of Ken Middleton’s ebook, 12 Hymn Tunes for Ukulele.

Ukulele and Native American flute duet for “Higher Ground”: Finger-picking vs. Strumming

Practicing the three chords F, Bb, C7 becomes a joy with this song. It doesn’t seem like practicing at all.

This is a great song for either strumming or finger-picking.  Finger-picking takes a bit more practice but I prefer it with the hymns.  However, if you are performing this song and get nervous with crowds, finger-picking is harder to keep steady.

You can hear the difference it makes to finger-pick your ukulele vs. strumming in this sample. I am using a low g string on a soprano ukulele, but the hymn sounds good on high G or low g.  Download a pdf of  Higher-Ground that contains ukulele chords and Native American flute fingerings.

Chordie: A good resource for Ukulele chords

If you want to change the 3 chords that you use, then you can go to Chordie.  Look on the right side of the page and you can change the key of the song by raising or lowering by your desired number of semitones.  You can select which ukulele tuning you will use – C, D, or baritone.  The chords are shown to you  on Chordie or  you can download a pdf of ukulele chords to print out.

YouTube: “Higher Ground”

 

Ken Middleton has a ebook of hymns for ukulele if you’re interested.