Friday, February 15, 2013

family harmony

I think I can safely say I was destined to be a musician from the beginning. 

My Dad played the baritone uke and often sang folks songs to us kids around the dinner table.  My sibs and I learned the magic of harmony through his Peter, Paul and Mary albums, as well as The Brothers Four, Kingston Trio and others and we all joined in.  When Dad was at work I would pick up his uke and figure out how to make chords and then how to put chords together to mimic those songs.  Over time, our playing and harmonizing progressed and Dad picked up a guitar to accompany our evening song-fest.  I rounded out the instrumentation on his old baritone uke.  We moved into songs by The New Seekers, The Monkees, early Beatles and other pop groups, even composing some songs of our own.

My Dad's uke.

Still image from Hanna Barbera's "Treasure of El Kabong".
During a rare visit, my west coast uncle brought his guitar along with him and our sing-a-long was bigger than ever.  He decided I needed a guitar of my own and bought me a yellow, plastic guitar with a magnificent sunburst on its front.  I translated my knowledge of the uke and quickly figured out how to play that guitar.  A couple of my brothers decided that they also wanted to play and they too quickly taught themselves how to play and soon we were all sharing the instruments and singing our young hearts out.  As it happened, rambunctious boys will be rambunctious boys and during a bout of wild rough-housing one brother decided to “El Kabong” my youngest brother and that was the end of my yellow plastic guitar.

Not fretting for a moment (pun intended) I gathered up my babysitting money, convinced my parents to drive me to the music shop in the next town and I purchased a real wood guitar.  It was glorious!   From then on, music and harmonizing has been an important constant in my life.  I’ve since moved on from that first beautiful guitar, but those early days have never left me.

No comments: