What do B.B. King, Gladys Knight & The Pips, and the Staple Singers all have in common? This summer, we’ll be learning songs performed by all of them as featured artists at the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. Their performances were preserved on tape and included in the 2021 Oscar-winning documentary Summer of Soul.
Ukulele Campfire: Summer of Soul is a mixed-level ukulele class for players of various learning styles and experience.
This class is part of my ukulele by ear series. Classes in this series focus on tips and techniques for learning and playing a song *without* music. Each term features a different theme or genre of music, but most songs come from traditional folk music traditions of the past and from all over the world.
I recommend Ukulele Campfire classes for players who are comfortable with:
- playing 3-chord songs in the keys of C, D, G and A
- a couple basic strum patterns (Standard, Swing, Calypso)
- taking risks to learn new techniques and materials
The year 1969 is known in the U.S. primarily for the moon landing and Woodstock. However, lesser known is the Harlem Cultural Festival, which took place over six weeks. It was a celebration of black culture and history and featured the very best of that era’s black musicians.
Thanks to musician-turned-filmmaker Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, we can bear witness today to this remarkable event in his documentary Summer of Soul (available on Hulu) … and learn the songs that were performed! As a result, in our Ukulele Campfire class, we’ll learn classic tunes like I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Oh Happy Day, and Hold On, I’m Comin’, and more.
What are your favorite soul tunes? I’m always open to incorporating requests into our class material – let me know here.
This class will meet in several cohorts:
Live online on Zoom:
- Wednesdays, 11:15am – 12:15pm PDT
- 6 weeks: July 6 – August 10
- Registered participants receive a meeting link to use for the entire term, as well as weekly recap emails and practice videos.
Live in person and *OUTDOORS* in Portland, OR:
- Tuesdays, 6:30-7:45pm at Lincoln St United Methodist in SE Portland
- Wednesdays, 6:30-7:45pm at W Hills UU Fellowship in SW Portland
- 4 weeks: July 19/20 – August 9/10
- Registered participants will receive location details, as well as weekly recap emails and practice videos.
PLEASE NOTE: The Zoom cohort meets 6 weeks, while the in person cohort meets only 4 weeks.
Those unable to attend class times but still interested in taking the class may also take the class by EMAIL. Registered participants receive a weekly email with materials, instructions, and practice video links. Please use the drop-down menu above to select your desired “cohort”.
About the Instructor
Learn more about me here. 🙂