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While she’s involved in support groups and a faith community, it’s a part of her past that continues to provide the most meaningful connection between Loretta and her father. “There will be times in there when I’ll play ‘Faded Love’ or ‘Tennessee Waltz’ or ‘Amazing Grace’ and he’ll get emotional,” Loretta said. It’s emotional for Loretta, too, because it was her father who taught her how to play the fiddle and took her to competitions when she was young. Now they play together, the music bringing back memories and feelings that at this point are beyond words.
Despite a long history that once included a reputation as an exotic and highbrow instrument, the ukulele has also endured decades of snubbing from both the pop music scene and the more cultured world of classical music. But with the help of trendsetters and tastemakers, it’s making a strong comeback—the National Association of Music Merchants reported a 54 percent jump in ukulele sales in 2013—that can be traced in large part to the instrument’s accessibility, affordability, YouTube popularity, and celebrity esteem.
The whole Atlantic piece is interesting, though this – down near the bottom, natch – caught my attention:
The Great Depression provided another gateway for the ukulele. As sales of pianos, accordions, and other pricey instruments soared, saving and scrimping Americans helped boost the ukulele to peak popularity in the 1930s. Indeed, bluegrass music took off during that period as well, and the ukulele is still strongly associated with the string-band phenomenon.
Maybe the resurgence of the humble uke was predictable, given our recent economic history…
Pieta Brown‘s parents split up when she was 2 years old, and she spent her childhood traveling between them in the Midwest and the South. But even when she was apart from her father — the much-loved folk singer Greg Brown — they would find ways to share the musical parts of their lives.
“I would make my dad little tapes,” Pieta says. “I was really into the kind of R&B thing that was on the radio in the ’80s, like Ashford & Simpson or Lionel Richie or whatever it was. I had a super-strong Southern accent. I can remember making my dad these little tapes like, ‘Hey daddy, I miss you so much, but I love this song on the radio right now, and here’s a little song I made up on the piano.’ It was a connection for me.”
The electric guitar has overtaken the violin in a list of most popular musical instruments for children to play. Bass guitar is holding the bottom end at #10, natch.
‘Star-Spangled Banner’: Anthem was once a drinking song – LA Times. Apparently a few hymns were too.
God has been making common things sacred for a long time.
Listen: Hope Will Rise, by Warr Acres
…And now nothing will defeat us
We are boldly interceding
For our children lost and bleeding
We’ll see slavery bow to freedom
And the sick restored to healing
So we fight for those who’ve fallen
And we take back what’s been stolen
From our families shamed and broken
Hope will rise and hearts will open
We’ll see joy defeat depression
Liberation from addiction
For when we are at our weakest
Then your power is completed!