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19th Century Haitian song: “YELLOW BIRD” – Chord Melody arrangement included in the CHORD/MELODY eBOOK TWO from Ukulele Mike Lynch

March 18, 2015

Yellow Bird complete

Performance of YELLOW BIRD on YouTube

From WIKIPEDIA we find: Choucoune (Haitian Creole: Choukoun) is a 19th-century Haitian song composed by Michel Mauleart Monton with lyrics from a poem by Oswald Durand. It was rewritten with English lyrics in the 20th century as Yellow Bird. One of Oswald Durand’s most famous works, the 1883 Choucoune is a lyrical poem that praises the beauty of a Haitian woman of that nickname. Michel Mauleart Monton, an American-born pianist with a Haitian father and American mother composed music for the poem in 1893, appropriating some French and Caribbean fragments to create his tune. The song Choucoune was first performed in Port-au-Prince on 14 May 14, 1893. It became a popular slow méringue (mereng) in Haiti, and was played prominently during the bicentennial celebrations in Port-au-Prince in 1949. Chououne was first recorded in Haiti by Emy de Pradines for her “Voodoo – Authentic Music of Haiti” album (Remington R-199-151) released in the USA in 1953.
The song also appeared in the 1957 Calypso-exploitation film Calypso Heat Wave, performed by The Tarriers, sung by the group’s lead singer, Alan Arkin.
The English rendering of Choucoune: Yellow Bird, first appeared on the album Calypso Holiday, a 1957 release by the Norman Luboff Choir, Norman Luboff having arranged the song in the calypso style that become popular in the English-speaking world in the mid-1950s. The lyrics for Yellow Bird, by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, have no connection with the narrative of the Durand poem—other than the poem features the words “ti zwazo” (little birds) in its refrain, and so the original Haitian song is sometimes called Ti Zwazo or Ti Zwezo. The song became a minor hit at #70 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the Mills Brothers in 1959. Its most successful incarnation came in the summer of 1961 when the Arthur Lyman Group reached #4 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the newly formed Easy Listening chart with their Hawaiian flavored instrumental version,[1] which bested a rival instrumental single release by Lawrence Welk (#61).
Several versions of Yellow Bird were recorded and released in Jamaica around the late 1950s/1960s. Jamaican mento/calypso singers renditions include Lord Jellicoe (Hilary ILP-1040), Keith Stewart (WIRL 1031), Count Frank (WIRL 1058), Roy Fuller (Tiger 002/Dynamic 3312), Archie Lewis (Federal 213) and The Joy Makers (Somb, 1976).
Yellow Bird has also been recorded by Keely Smith, Roger Whitaker, Davy Graham, Roger Williams, Johnny Tillotson, The Brothers Four, Gary Crosby, and Paul Clayton. The song continues to be popularly associated with calypso and the Caribbean, and is often performed by steelpan bands—but some versions, such as Chris Isaak’s from Baja Sessions, show a Hawaiian flavor.

I chose to do this current arrangement in a chord melody style. It’s become increasingly clear to me that solo ukulele performance is most easily achieved through this format. There is absolutely no fingerpicking involved. No decision as to which finger plays which string etc. . . Merely stroke the strings with the thumb to get both the chord and melody combined. Note that although many times the melody is on the first string, other times it is found on the second or third string, so in those cases avoid playing the higher strings. You will notice this in the short
excerpt shown below.

Yellow Bird Clip 1

YELLOW BIRD is contained in the CHORD/MELODY eBook TWO $23.95
It can be purchased by making a payment through the paypal donate
button on the Ukulele Mike website:
Once the payment is made, PayPal gives you the option to add more information
such as the name of the collection etc. . .
It will then be personally emailed to you within the day.

Chord Melody Books 2 Cover 37 songs
Contents TWO
The entire Chord/Melody series consisting at this time of Books ONE, TWO & THREE
are available for a combined discount.


BRIAN BORU’S MARCH – A chord/melody arrangement explained with free downloadable tablature in PDF format

March 18, 2015



Brian Boru’s March is a traditional Irish tune.
Brian Boru was a High King of Ireland who founded the O’Brien dynasty.[1]
In 1969, the song was recorded by The Chieftains. Horslips used it in 1976, as the intro and basis for “Trouble (With a Capital T)” from the album The Book of Invasions

This a tune of great antiquity belonging to the class of tunes known as “clan
marches”, i.e. pieces that are the “property” of a particular family and are closely
associated with that family (the musical analogue to the Scots highland tartan
There is an excellent Wikipedia article on Brian Boru which makes it unnecessary
for me to go into great detail about him here. Born into a family of local chieftains
around 941, he was the “High King” of Ireland at the time of his defeat of the
“Danes” at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. Prior to his death in that battle, he
established the O’Brien dynasty as successors to the O’Neills. He is sometimes
referred to as “the Emperor of the Irish” from the fact that by the year 1011, all the
regional rulers of Ireland acknowledged Brian’s authority – a situation that might
have had a profound effect on subsequent Irish history if it had lasted.
There are no records actually relating this piece of music to Brian Boru or his any
of his exploits – as “Chief” Francis O’Neill points out, the style of the tune suggests
an origin much later than the 11th Century. That it is clearly in the clan march
tradition, however, cannot be disputed, even if the actual origins of the tune are
lost in the mists of time.
In his Irish Minstrels and Musicians, O’Neill quotes as follows from the journal of
a German traveller named Kohl, who heard Brian Boru’s March performed on the
pipes in County Louth in the mid 1800’s:
“The music of this march is wildly powerful and at the same time melancholy. It is
at once the music of victory and of mourning.”
O’Neill also quotes the poet Thomas Davis, who writes in regards to the music of
the clan marches:
“No enemy speaks slightlingly of Irish music and no friend need fear to boast of it.
Its antique war-tunes … stream and crash upon the ear like the warriors of a
hundred glens meeting, and you are borne with them to battle …

Brian Boru’s March Tablature CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FREE PDF

Check out all of the resources in the Ukulele Mike Chord/Melody series. Now all THREE ebooks
available at a combined discount. They can be purchased through the paypal donate button on
the Ukulele Mike website:


It’s about time we finally got that “barre” chord technique down. . . Check out these vintage YouTube vids wth Ukulele Mike Lynch

March 9, 2015

Barre chord  log banner

How often have we started to play a song and then notice there is a barre chord and we turn
the page to the next song? Or, more often, we just glance over that chord and move on?
This is a typical scenario with plenty of stringed instrument players but needen’t be once
we become comfortable with the technique. Once we can confidently play barre chords a whole
world of music will open up for us. This I can promise you.

More often than not barre chords only happen occasionally within a song. . . . We could be playing along just fine for 16 measures then in comes an Fminor or perhaps a Bbminor chord. . .
Then we move on to more easily played fingerings. The mere fact that those chords only come a few times in any given song points out that we don’t really get good quality practice time to
strengthen our barre chord technique. I am a strong advocate of designing a portion of our practice time to focused quality practice. . . . Take that F minor, for example, and single it out. Play it . . . listen critically to it. . . playing each string individually to ensure that each string is being held down securely and properly against the fret. Once we think it sounds good we congratulate ourselves then release the fingers and do it again. . . Repeatedly, over and over and over again. . . Then go back a few measures in the song and play up to and include that F minor chord. . . Does it sound better? Most likely it will. . . then after time and fatigue it may sound a little on the sloppy side again, but the point is taken . You have done quality focused practicing. . . Getting your fingers accustomed to the shape of the chord. . . Getting your fingers accustomed to how much pressure is needed. . . Getting your fingers accustomed to making the proper shift from the preceding chord to the F minor . . All of this is acquired by repeated looping of the chord and those on either side of it. . . Don’t just play straight through the song. . . That doesn’t really improve things. . . Take the time and patience to surgically select those sections of a song that are problematic and most of they may be barre chords. . . over time . . and many hours of “REAL FOCUSED PRACTICE” we will improve and we will finally get that barre chord technique down. . . As we practice and our hands may get tired or achey . . . time to stop. . . shake your hand out. . .stretch the fingers. . . relax your hand . . go on to something a bit more comfortable then come back to the barre chord again. It is only by consistent DAILY practice that will ever get to that point of barre chord perfection that we long for. I’ve known so many students who say they worked on their barre chords Monday evening and then again Saturday and that was it. Progress will rarely be achieved in that fashion. It takes daily diligent hard work but believe me, it’s worth it . . . . Happy Strumming, Ukulele Mike Lynch

Apart from Barre chords. . . I would like to remind everyone that I now have THREE Chord/Melody eBooks and they can be purchased as a combination pak at a discount.

Click on this link for more information

One of the most iconic American folksongs “500 Miles” now arranged in a chord/melody format and included in the “Chord/Melody eBook THREE” from Ukulele Mike Lynch

February 13, 2015

500 Miles complete

Watch and listen to the arrangement as performed on VIMEO

Hedy West (April 6, 1938 – July 3, 2005) was an American folksinger and songwriter.
West was of the same generation as Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and others of the American folk music revival. Her most famous song “500 Miles” is one of America’s best loved and best known folk songs. She was described by the English folk musician AL Lloyd as “far and away the best of American girl singers in the [folk] revival.”
Hedy West played the guitar and the banjo. She played both clawhammer style and a unique type of three finger picking that wasn’t quite bluegrass, and wasn’t quite old-time, exhibiting influences from blues and jazz.
Hedy West will be remembered for a long time as the composer of the beloved American folk song “500 Miles” This song has been covered by nearly every folk from the 60’s until now. Everybody from Judy Collins, Peter Paul & Mary, Joan Baez and even Justin Timberlake have
Recorded “500 Miles” I chose to apply the tried and true Chord/Melody style to this piece and I feel it worked quite well. Below is a short clip from the music showing how it looks in a tablature format.


“500 Miles” is included in the new “CHORD/MELODY” eBook THREE” from Ukulele Mike Lynch.



The entire collection can be purchased for $24.95 by making a payment through the paypal donate
button on the Ukulele Mike website:
Once the payment is made, paypal gives you an option to add more information such as the name of the piece etc. . . It will then be emailed to you within the day. It will arrive as a pdf file for you to download and print.

The other 2 books in the series are also available for purchase, or you might want to buy all three as a combo discount.
Click on this link detailing the Chord Melody Series combo discount . . .

Now, the beloved “FUR ELISE” is available in a Chord/Melody format . . . carefully arranged by Ukulele Mike Lynch and available in the new Chord/Melody eBook THREE

February 11, 2015

Fur Elise complete

Listen and watch the brief tutorial below on YouTube

From Wikipedia, we learn:
Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor for solo piano, commonly known as “Für Elise” or “Fuer Elise” (German: [fyːʁ eːˈliːzə], English: “For Elise”, commonly written without German diacritical marks as “Fur Elise”), is one of Ludwig van Beethoven’s most popular compositions. It is usually classified as a bagatelle, but it is also sometimes referred to as an Albumblatt.
The score was not published until 1867, 40 years after the composer’s death in 1827. The discoverer of the piece, Ludwig Nohl, affirmed that the original autographed manuscript, now lost, was dated 27 April 1810.[4]

It’s become very clear to me that Chord/Melody format is the way to go for making solo ukulele pieces truly accessible to more people. I did a fingerpicking arrangement of FUR ELISE some time ago, but in the process of compiling this new collection, I wondered if perhaps a new fresh look at the piece might be a good idea. So, sitting down with ukulele in hand I began to approach FUR ELISE in a chord melody style and discovered to my delight that it worked very very well. It still retained the elegant melody as well as the flowing aspect of the phrasing of this piece.
Here is a little snippet off the piece so you can see how it’s laid out in Tablature format.

FUR ELISE is included in the new “CHORD/MELODY eBook THREE” which is available for $24.95.
To purchase, just make a payment through the paypal donate button on the Ukulele Mike website: Once the payment is made, paypal will allow you to add more information such as the name of the collection etc. It will then be emailed to you within the day.

This 3rd in the series can be purchased separately or you can purchase all 3 at a discount.
See below . . .

Ukulele eBook THREE 2495

The UKULELE MIKE “CHORD/MELODY SERIES” – eBooks ONE, TWO & THREE now available as a combo package at a discount

February 11, 2015


These eBooks can be purchased separately as well

Originally posted on UKULELE MIKE LYNCH - All things UKULELE:

Master Series banner corrected prices
Now all THREE of the Chord/Melody collections available as a combo package at discount. . .

Below are the table of contents of each of the collections . . .

BOOK ONE $29.95
Contents ONE

BOOK TWO $23.95
Contents TWO

Contents THREE

The combined package can be purchased by making a payment of $70.00 through the paypal donate
button on the UKULELE MIKE website: . . . Once the payment is made, paypal will give you an opportunity to add more information such as the name of the eBook or collection. It will then be emailed to you within the day. . .

The Chord/Melody collections are a perfect way to get into solo instrumental playing. No fingerpicking is involved. . . Just the simple use of the thumb is all that’s needed.
These arrangements work equally well with High G or Low G tuning and all sound excellent on the baritone…

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ANNOUNCING The THIRD in a series of Chord/Melody eBooks . . . BOOK THREE from Ukulele Mike Lynch

February 5, 2015


BOOK THREE can also be purchased in the 3 BOOK combo discount . . .

Originally posted on UKULELE MIKE LYNCH - All things UKULELE:

Book Three Cover

The THIRD in a series of Chord/Melody eBooks from Ukulele Mike Lynch. Following in the tradition of Books ONE & TWO, Book THREE continues to provide more playable, accessible solo instrumental arrangements for the ukulele. These pieces can be played on any uke whether tuned to a Low G or High G and they all sound excellent on the baritone ukulele as well.
Below is a full table of contents of this collection. Note that 2 of the pieces, FUR ELISE and FREIGHT TRAIN are newly arranged for Chord/Melody style

Table of Contents

See below a few excerpts from the THIRD collection
.zLa vie en rose
Fur elise

The Chord/Melody eBook THREE can be purchased by making a payment of $24.95 through the
paypal donate button on the Ukulele Mike website:
Once the payment is made, paypal gives you an option to add more information such as the
name of the collection. It will then be personally emailed…

View original 25 more words


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