View Full Version : Liner notes from Daniel Ho

01-08-2018, 07:01 PM
I don't find myself reading liner notes much anymore. But, I did just read the liner notes to Daniel Ho's Polani CD. It was released in 2009.

Really liked what he wrote.

"It's unclear to me why the passage of time seems to accelerate with age, but it surely does. I remember it felt like an eternity to graduate from kindergarten and enter the first grade. Each day after lunch, time almost stood still as I anxiously await as the loud, but welcome ring of Saint Patrick's school bell at 2:30 PM. Free at last! It was a short, three block walk to our house, we played with friends until Dad came home from work and took us to the beach.

Maybe it's the ever accumulating, grown up responsibilities that keep me squeezing minutes out of hours. Maybe it's a creative passion that doesn't know day from night. Either way, years flyby in what feels like days. I've come to realize that creativity has an inverse relationship to responsibility and I should pare life down to the absolute basics - minimizing clutter-some responsibilities to allow time and space for artistic endeavors. This has become an endless work in progress. Polani is a manifestation of this mindset. It was recorded on the simplest of instruments, one that defined my formative years in Hawaii.

In November 2008, I pushed my paperwork aside and spent most of the month with my ukulele. I wrote and arranged these pieces between the hours of 10 PM and 4 AM and recorded them during the day. In my late night musings, I developed an affinity for two intervals, half-steps, and unisons. A half-step is one of the most dissident intervals in music. However, it can be quite beautiful within the context of the surrounding harmony. I use this sonically dense interval in many of these pieces to enhance otherwise consonant chords. The harmonic opposite of a half-step is the unison, which is the most consonant music interval. On a ukulele, unisons are produced by playing the same pitch on different strings (for example the open A string and the fifth fret of the E string). Unisons provide smooth harmonic and melodic transitions because one of the notes, usually an open string, sustains as the other musical elements change.

I use ostinatos (repeating musical figures) in the arrangements to create energy, counterpoint (finer lines moving independently of the melody) to add interest, and almost always chose extended chords (chords containing color tones to enrich the harmony) over basic triads. All songs are played finger style to articulate the melody harmony and bass parts independently.

In the end, this solo ukulele project wasn't all that simple. The music making process is fairly involved, but the ultimate goal remain singular. To form an emotional connection with the audience. As it did for me, I hope these recordings offer a pleasant break from the routine and reality. It took me back to those childhood days when I used to drive my family crazy playing the only song I knew. "A song for Anna," over and over again. There was no escaping me as I incessantly plucked about our little house Kaimuki!

Ukulele Eddie
01-08-2018, 07:34 PM
Polani remains my favorite instrumental ukulele album bar far. And it's now 10 years old. While I listen to it regularly, I purchased it digitally so never saw the liner notes. Thank you for sharing.

01-08-2018, 08:00 PM
I just picked up a copy of this album at your recommendation. Should be fun!

01-27-2018, 07:46 AM
I have been listening to Polani in my car for the last week or so now. It is a beautiful album. Thanks for sharing.

01-28-2018, 02:45 PM
Wow, I haven't heard Polani, but now I'd like to.
I'm going to copy paste his notes into my theory notes to study!
I am a newbie at music theory, but I do understand a couple of things about time.

Many years ago I was attending a lecture by a leading physicist. He alluded to some of his observations about time.

I told him it seems like time is going by faster and faster all the time. He said "it is".

So, smart aleck me, I had to ask why. His reply? "Because you're in a hurry."

Secondly.....Time is an illusion.

Joe King
01-29-2018, 05:57 AM
https://img.discogs.com/1mXVuKzLkRXip9XJcQb_HUtnP3Q=/fit-in/300x300/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():qualit y(40)/discogs-images/A-1135363-1305168742.jpeg.jpg
"Tempus Fugit Baby!"

- said by actor George Segal in a movie some years ago that I cannot remember the name of...

02-08-2018, 09:15 PM
If you dig Polani you have to find a copy of "Daniel Ho plays Pepe Romero 'Ukuleles" on his own label. The music SOOOOO beautiful. It came with my Tiny Tenor. So, I don't know if it is available for sale. They might have it for sale at U-Space Ukuleles in Los Angeles. Maybe call them. The recording and playing is way beyond Polani IMHO.

02-08-2018, 09:27 PM
If you dig Polani you have to find a copy of "Daniel Ho plays Pepe Romero 'Ukuleles" on his own label. The music SOOOOO beautiful. It came with my Tiny Tenor. So, I don't know if it is available for sale.
There's a copy on eBay at the moment (postage to the UK is too high for me, alas) and the listing does mention that it's not available in stores. Probably true, but obviously it's not an official source.

02-09-2018, 01:19 AM
I was having so much fun with Polani that I snagged that eBay listing. Thanks for the tip. I'll let you know how it works out.

02-09-2018, 01:29 AM
I was having so much fun with Polani that I snagged that eBay listing. Thanks for the tip. I'll let you know how it works out.
Thank you for saving me from my crumbling self control :D

02-09-2018, 06:21 AM
"Polani" is $9.99 on iTunes.
Or if you want the CD, prices on Amazon for a used copy begin at $51.51.
Hmmm . . . tough decision.

02-09-2018, 08:03 AM
The Polani physical CD also can be had for $15.00 at Ho's website (http://www.danielho.com/physical-shop/cd-polani-daniel-ho). That's where I bought it.

02-09-2018, 12:12 PM
Thanks for starting this conversation.

Lately I have been bemoaning my lack of instrumental uke music to listen. For whatever reason I did not know about this album. Sublime!

Chopped Liver
02-09-2018, 08:14 PM
So, is it totally instrumental with no singing?

02-10-2018, 10:48 AM
Yes, Polani is a ukulele instrumental album. 11 original tracks composed by Ho for the album, and one Ho arrangement of an old Liliuokalani tune. No vocals.

03-02-2018, 01:51 PM
So I've been listening to the "Daniel Ho plays Pepe Romero 'Ukuleles" album for a while now... it's a good album, but in my estimation it just doesn't have the same magic that "Polani" does.

Track 4, "Bicycle Holiday" is very reminiscent of "Polani," and is IMO the most magical one on the album.

03-03-2018, 12:01 AM
Two things:

Yes, the CD that came with my RC Grand Tenor is lovely.

Musical illiterate that I am, I found the brief discussion of half-steps and unisons very interesting. Iím currently working on a piece that uses quite a few of both.

Thanks for posting the liner notes. As wonderful as iTunes is (tap tap, I am now listening to Polani, new to me at 5:00 am on a Saturday), we lose a lot.

03-03-2018, 02:27 AM
I was listening to a Polani cut on youtube and a part of it sounds like it was taken from Cat Stevens Moonshadow