*Again, a link to all my photos from the festival: All of my Cairns Ukefest 2013 photos!
The final days of the Cairns Ukulele Festival 2013.
What an amazing time… I always seem to be very reflective when I'm back from a long trip, but right now I'm being blasted with so many different emotions. I guess you could say I am bursting with a renewed vigor, a better sense of direction and surprisingly a bit of relief. Ah, and maybe a punch to the face with inspiration.
We had such an incredible group this year. With Bryan Tolentino (with his beautiful wife Kalehua), Halehaku Seabury, Sarah Maisel, Ryan Imamura, the crew from KoAloha (Alan & Paul Okami, Griz) along with Australia's Montgomery Brothers (Ryo & Damo), Thom Jackson and Tiffany Smith, we all connected so well. For about a week, all of us pretty much lived together, ate together, shared songs, stories and more. I could sit and listen to any of these musicians all day, but to have them all join me on stage… just an amazing feeling. They all feel like family.
That's pretty much the last 2 days in a nutshell. Sharing of songs, sharing of hula, a blend of so many genres and backgrounds connected by the one instrument that many of us love so much. Thank you Gaby for putting this all together as well as to all the great volunteers for making this great festival happen!
I do wish I had more of a chance to hang out with the amazing Flap! or the Sweet Hollywaiians (who rocked it just as hard as when I met them 2 years ago!). Flap! from Australia has a great sound, I hope to do some collaborations with them if I'm back in the future. With the Sweet Hollywaiians, we got to spend a beautiful dinner together (thanks again Alan!) and they are just as friendly and funny as they are on stage. I was so happy to catch up with them and I'm so glad they are doing well. I promised I'd cook for them the next time they pass through Oregon so they don't have to rely on Panda Express :)
One of the hardest parts about this festival is trying to do everything and be everywhere! There is so much going on during the week that if I don't manage my time right, it completely wipes me out! This was the case last year where I was just trying to do too much but did not allow myself to rest in-between. There is a lot to balance for me, first we have all the promotional stuff (radio/tv/newspaper etc), the special events like the Green Island concert, Mystery Bus, etc, trying to find and catch up with old friends/attendees and get to know new attendees, take photos at every event, spend time with other artists, practice for the concerts (usually with some new collaborations on the spot), catch new acts/groups, cursing the dozens of $2 coins in your pocket that are dragging your pants down, all while adjusting to the climate/time change. It can be quite the challenge! This year I had a lot more balance and although I still couldn't be everywhere, I think I did the most I could.
There are many things that I am doing now that I did not expect to be doing a few years ago. And the relief I mentioned earlier, only refers to the fact that I have been able not only survive the past few years but slowly work towards my goals. Using my first time in Cairns 2 years ago as a benchmark, I am definitely relieved and excited that I followed through with my decision to pursue music full time.
I can't believe I've been able to share the stage with so many legendary artists in the past couple years, travel as much as I do (not a lot compared to some others, but enough at the moment for me!) and to not only perform but to teach! Lessons have picked up so much and have provided me a chance to focus on creating and working on new music and I am incredibly grateful that my workshops have received such glowing reviews. I do take a lot of pride in my teaching and I'm glad to see the work spent on the workshops has paid off. Though I'm not playing nearly as much publicly in Eugene, it makes the shows that much more exciting throughout the year. There has been an increase in private party gigs though which has been fun! I think once the new album is complete, I'll again make the shift in performing more and teaching less.
I hope to be working with these artists much sooner than later again! I'll be seeing Sarah Maisel soon during her August west coast tour and at the Wine Country Ukefest!
It's going to be quite a packed end to 2013 with some new announcements soon to come! Special thanks to DaSilva Ukuleles, again to Gaby, the volunteers and all of the attendees, thank you for your support! The biggest thanks to my parents for putting up with my shenanigans and being so incredibly supportive. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to follow my dreams and I hope I can inspire others to follow theirs too!
Much Love and Aloha,