This is a guest post written by the talented Ariel, from Ariel Ukulele. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter @ariel_ukulele or subscribe to her YouTube channel.
One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. – Bob Marley
Music has a power to connect us to those around us and our surroundings. I am very grateful for the fact that through the ukulele I have been able to share my music with my amazing family, friends and fans!
I have always found peace in singing, be it in the shower or during car rides. I love to sing at the top of my lungs in my room when I’m happy or upset. Music is my way of expressing my emotions. I love the ukulele because it allows me to create an acoustic sound that completes and compliments my voice.
Every week I look forward to practicing and creating a new ukulele cover and tutorial on my YouTube channel. I decided to create my ukulele channel because I had a notion of criticism while watching other people’s ukulele tutorials. But rather than just criticising others, I decided to be heard and in a way “fix” it. My goal in the tutorials is to offer everything you need to learn: chords, finger placement, strumming, lyrics, tempo, etc. I strive for my tutorials to be precise and clear. My boyfriend (co-producer of the channel) and I learned how to use After Effects so we make the diagrams and graphics exactly how we want to. And the rest is just music 🙂 Here is one of my favorite videos:
Bubbly – Colbie Caillat
The first step in filming a tutorial is choosing a song. I choose differently every week, sometimes it’s a song that what in my head all week. Alternatively, I look at the top songs for ukulele tabs or chords searched or a fan request. Then it’s all about practice, practice, practice! I want to ensure that my best performance is captured. I strive to have my singing and ukulele playing to be perfect, but I too, at times make mistakes. The next step is finding a location. I have a special love for nature so I try to film in natural locations as frequently as possible. If you follow me on my social channels then you may notice that I was initially in Slovenia and Croatia and then I returned home to the US. Virgin Islands.
For those who may not be familiar with the small islands in the Caribbean, this is St. Thomas – my beautiful, but tiny, island of 32 square miles!
At least it was like this before the hurricanes. And yes I mean the TWO Category Five hurricanes! On September 6th, 2017, while I traveling abroad, my lifetime home (including loved ones) was hit by Hurricane Irma, and the 230 mph winds ruined everything in her path. Roofs were blown off, concrete walls crumbled from the pressure, roads became rivers, cars were made into dented cages of metal, homes and all the memories it contained flew off into the wind, boats washed ashore or sunken in the ocean, cell phone communication made impossible, sturdy telephone and utility poles snapped in half like twigs, leaves, branches and trees ripped forcefully from the earth’s hold. Destruction. And then exactly two weeks later Hurricane Maria brought enormous amounts of water, wind, and flooding ruining whatever was already destroyed. I was not there for this heart-wrenching experience and I am so blessed and grateful that my family and friends were not harmed physically during the storm or in the aftermath. But Irma and Maria did take the roof off my house and ruined everything inside it.
This is my home now…
As soon as I heard about the hurricanes, I knew that my original plans after coming home would be changed. I would be returning home to help recover and rebuild resiliently. It hasn’t been easy, as I’m writing this two months later, I, like many others, still do not have power at the temporary home we were relocated to. But there have been many volunteers and donations, from the community and also from the US mainland and abroad, all working together to aid. And those who live here have been strong and resilient, doing all it takes to recuperate and get back to some kind of normalcy.
So… how is this related to the Ukulele?
Through it all, I had the support of my fans to keep me motivated to continue with my music. Fans sent me encouraging messages to stay strong and help rebuild. I would especially like to thank Love Laced Apparel that sent me clothing and donated to the families of those affected by the hurricanes this summer. Even in the midst of destruction around me, I find these pockets of beauty. There are too many sad pictures and stories of destruction. The Ukulele helped me find beauty and hope that you will find it too through my videos.
Thank you for reading this post, I hope it will motivate you to create and enjoy music in your life. Be grateful for the things you have, and remember that even if you lose it all overnight, revival is difficult but always possible. Embrace nature and find peace and love in your home. Last, connect with people around you, and listen to their music and stories.
-Ariel, producer of Ariel Ukulele youtube channel.