Ukulele contest: For Your Ears Only!

UkingViking

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For Your Ears Only!​

This is an audio only ukulele contest!

Why no video? I love videos, they tell a story of how the song was recorded and connect the listener to the process. But some people don’t like being on video, and some people don’t like using YouTube. So, for this contest we will go without video, and we can satisfy our demand for videos on the “Seasons of the Ukulele” on the side.

Here are some rules:

The technical details​

Your contribution can only have audio and a still picture for “cover art”, no video or animation.

The entry must be put on a media sharing platform that can be embedded in a post. If you start a post and click “insert media”, you will find a long list, including Audio Mack, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, YouTube and many more. You can use YouTube, as long as the video only shows the same still picture throughout the duration. Anything else would make an A-team and a B-team, we can’t have that. Well, the audio bitrate on SoundCloud is apparently only half of the measly bitrate YouTube has, but let’s forget that.

Only one entry per participant. If you do a live or online collaborations, each unique band with unique cast and band name will count as individual participant.

The song must be newly recorded, uploaded and posted this thread within March 2024. It must say in the title, cover art, audio, or some other way that it is “For Your Ears Only”.

No special gear is needed for this contest. You can make a live recording with the memo app on your phone or make big production with multiple instruments in a DAW or mixer. You can work alone or with someone else. One demand is that the ukulele must be a significant part of the soundscape. Please write a bit in your post on how the track came to be, since there is no video to show us. Like, what kind of ukulele you are playing etc.

The music details​

For this challenge you can only post originals, traditionals and public domain songs. No covers of copyrighted songs, and this includes parody covers using the melody of copyrighted songs. YouTube has a special arrangement regarding with most copyright holder, but the other platforms don’t – and for this contest its same rules for all.

Both songs and instrumentals are welcome.

The theme of the challenge is audio – sound, noise, music, listening, hearing etc. If your contribution has some connection to these things in title or lyrics, browniepoints! But since just sticking to the “no covers” part can be tricky for some of you, it is not mandatory.

Prize!​

The prize for this contest is a set of studio headphones “for your ears only”: Beyer Dynamic DT770.
It is the low impedance 32ohm version, so you don’t need a big interface to power them – they will work with a phone or laptop too, provide they have a 3.5 mm jack or an adapter.

I will find a handful or maybe a dozen friends from the Seasons to help in the judging. Judges cannot vote for their own contribution, so it is not an advantage. Judges will be encouraged to judge by spirit, courage, and creativity first and skills and production value second. That levels the playing field, there is no gatekeeping, give it your best!

The winner will be announced within the first week of April.

Now, go play that uke!
 
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EDIT: Withdrawn from contest consideration (Not in the public domain)

GEORGIA [On My Mind]
Performed on my kit- assembled and cartoonishly painted soprano uke, Yowling Tom, reentrant tuned with Martin M605 graphite strings.
Recorded with the smart phone "voice memo" app, then processed with a dollop of compression and reverb.
No tomcats or other mammals were harmed during production. The finished product is gluten- free and For Your Ears Only. :)
 
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This song was born in Dutch called "Ik Luister", which translates to I listen (which this is called). I wrote it after a conversation with a Friend. It is two Ukulele tracks, two Vocal tracks, a Bass track and a Synth Pad Track via the Aeropad App (I love that). All recorded and mixed in Garageband on my Mac.

There is a part "Money was a point , and certainly not a comma " which might not make sense. In Dutch a point as in point taken is the same word as a dot at then end of a line. Which to me made a kind of word joke in the Dutch version. I don't think that translates well to English, but I left it in anyway ;).
 
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Sooo, we have just entered March and allready two songs in!

Oldscruggsfan with an instrumental tune that sounds amazing for being recorded on a phone. I didnt know there was a way to add reverb on the phone - it sounds good!
The title sounded familiar, so I did a Google Search. There is a Hoagy Carmichael composition from 1930 with that title. Since the composer for that is known, it is not a traditional, and since it is post 1928 it is not public domain. So unless this is just a coincidence of names, there might be a problem with copyright infringement 🤔.

Xommen went a less minimalistic way with his full multitrack production of his awesome original song, that even has the thematics covered with "listening" being audio related. Sounds great, and thanks for translating the pun - I might have missed the point otherwise 🙂

Edit:
I will just add that I will try comment on the tunes you post along the way, but I will probably not get the chance to sit down and listen every day. My little son and my wife also need some of my time. So if a few days pass between a post and a response, dont take it personal.
 
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Cheers, ukers!

It has been now two full weeks since the last post in this thread, and only one entry in. I hope it is because you are all taking your time putting something together 🙂.

In the mean time, I have found a few jury members. Might find a few more.

But give me hope for more entries!
If you are noodling with something you might submit before the end of the month, like this post! No commitment, if you dont manage to complete it you dont, I am just trying to get a sense of where this is going 😆
 
Sorry I missed this! I know there are still two weeks left, but I hope this becomes a regular thing as I know that posting videos isn't for everyone, and even creating a slideshow can be demanding of your time. I have just created a Soundcloud account to message someone on there but I will have to give some thought as to where to post it as I find Soundcloud quite hard work to attract anyone's attention, even if you have a face like a bag of spanners, like I do, for YouTube. :LOL:
 
thank you for this Mikkel!
an original song i recorded today for the contest.
cheers brother! xo



BETTER COME TIE ME UP

My darling,

You better come tie me up, because you undid me today when I saw you walking past my house:
I saw you looking the other way. Well, I know you aint forgot my number (have you forgotten my
address?). Less is more and more is less...

Is there anything else gone wrong?

Like a shoelace: one strand it won't make the cut. Like honey in my earl-grey tea: one spoon just aint enough.
And now one plus one it aint a window looking out on me and you. Darlin, I don't know what to do -

I aint making this all up. You better come tie me up!

Love,

Jon.
 
What an opportunity! Thank you for putting this together. My contribution is an original piece I wrote for my wife of 47 years. She is an absolute joy. I wrote this piece trying to demonstrate not only the incredible times we continue to share, but also the multi-facets that make her unique. I feel like I'm just now beginning to discover the mysteries of who she is. Here ya go:

 
Thanks for hosting this cool contest, Mikkel!! And for the generous prize!!!!

I got the sad nudge to record this one... my Kinnard sold today, so I'll be shipping tomorrow. Just the right timing, for me to start re-learning this song last night, that just so happens to fit this contest! I only got thru the first part and repeated rather than spending the time to fumble thru the correct ending. It is what it is. I'm just happy to get this one last recording with my uke before it leaves to greener pastures.

This is (a bit of) Gymnopédie No. 1 by Erik Satie.


Best of luck to all contestants!
 
With still one week to go, we are back on track with some entries!

@pabrizzer submitted a thoughtfull original song about the lack of peace on earth.
There always seems to be war somewhere, even if it is not always in parts of the world that the news cover.
A song the world needs! ☮️

@mountain goat Jon brought another wonderful original song, with a quirky poetic take on the mess of love affairs - which is sometimes easier to digest than the mess of war. And the backup vocals really added to it. Something that is easier to do without video, no need to consider if the video should also have more tracks. A song to bring a sense of spring back :) .

@about2 shared an absolutely haunting original instrumental piece, with a personal story to it. Easy to get lost in, I think I could listen to it for 47 years! 🎶

@hands_on_lanzon recorded a beautiful rendition of an Erik Satie composition. I am not strong in classical music, but this is beautiful and relaxing. And I am blown away by the sound quality. Whoever you sold this Kinnard ukulele to, will hopefully enjoy it! 📦
It also sounds like the recording setup did it justice. Is there added reverb, or a slightly reverbant room? 🎤

All lurkers out there, dont forget that there is a full week left of the contest to post something!
 
And I am blown away by the sound quality. Whoever you sold this Kinnard ukulele to, will hopefully enjoy it! 📦
It also sounds like the recording setup did it justice. Is there added reverb, or a slightly reverbant room? 🎤
You're giving me seller's remorse already! 😅 I recorded this one with an audio-technica AT 2020USB mic to my phone, using a free app called Bandlab for a slight mix. I added a simple effect called "Acoustic Guitar," then edited slightly by turning some nobs that I have no idea what they're called or what they do. Just fiddled with it til I got a sound I like through my headphones of choice... ATH-M50x.

This song fits so nicely with that uke, as that thing honestly resonates forever. In case you didn't catch it, I recorded this and posted it on my Marketplace thread. Check it out, if you're interested in hearing it thru the same mic to phone setup, but completely dry and outdoors. You can still hear that sucka ring!!

*picks up favorite uke to remember why it was OK to let the Kinnard go 🥺...😁 I hope the new owner loves it as well and it gets the attention it deserves!!!
 
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Hi, Mikkel!

Thank you for hosting this competition! I'm looking forward to listening to everyone's entries later today.
In the meantime, here's an original song that I just finished recording this morning.
I actually started writing it for a SOTU that Joko was hosting around Christmas time but a whole load of life happened and it got shelved so I've taken this opportunity to dust it off and get it finished.
I managed to shoehorn a bridge into the song that contains the line, "you might hear me say" which is hopefully a tenuous enough link to the theme!
Anyway, recorded at my kitchen table through a Rode USB mic into GarageBand on my iPad. Lead vocal and 8 string baritone recorded at same time and then separate tracks for the tenor uke and harmony vocals. The solo is played on the 8 string, again acoustically through the mic but then souped up with some distorted crunchy filter! Then there's a little bit of piano in the outro (GarageBand again). That's about it!
Oh, yeah...the ukes are both tuned down a half step too.

The words are included in the description on YouTube.

Good luck, everybody! X

 
Thanks for hosting this cool contest, Mikkel!! And for the generous prize!!!!

I got the sad nudge to record this one... my Kinnard sold today, so I'll be shipping tomorrow. Just the right timing, for me to start re-learning this song last night, that just so happens to fit this contest! I only got thru the first part and repeated rather than spending the time to fumble thru the correct ending. It is what it is. I'm just happy to get this one last recording with my uke before it leaves to greener pastures.

This is (a bit of) Gymnopédie No. 1 by Erik Satie.


Best of luck to all contestants!

Well done, Chris. What an eloquent, bittersweet farewell to a beloved ukulele.
 
Hello!

Sorry for my absence lately, family life can hold me away from my headphones.
I like my headphones, they are some nice BeyerDynamic DT770 Pro - just like the ones up for the prize! Only way older.

Since last time, we had just one entry:

@bobjking delivered at beautiful original song, full of poetic references that perhaps only one person will fully grasp, but most of us somehow can relate to anyway. And another proof that with a bit of creativity, a stunning production can be made with simple tools. You could have fooled me with that distorted solo :LOL: . 🎸

So, if we put the deadline on Hawaii time in the aloha spirit, there is just under 48 hours left to submit your song or instrumental!
With only 6 entries so far, you will not be up against a ton of competitors - so get out your ukulele, dust off whatever you like to record on, and put something together!

I hope for a lot of last day submissions 🤞
 
This song is an original, written by a local guy who was a staple at the weekly Open Mic, some 20 years ago.

Way back when, there was a Ford assembly plant in Edison New Jersey. A kid could graduate high school, get a good job there at Union wages, and live a good life. That plant has long since closed down, and reopened south of the border.

I haven't sung this song in almost a quarter century. In those days, I played guitar, and knew just the right way to strum or pick to emphasize what needed to be said. Tonight I'm just picking one of my familiar ukulele patterns, and trying to remember how to evoke this tale.



Edison Assembly, also known as Metuchen Assembly, was a Ford Motor Company manufacturing plant in Edison, New Jersey. It was located at 939 U.S. Route 1 and occupied over 100 acres when it was open. The factory began operations in 1948 and closed on February 27, 2004.

_1757375_edplant315.jpg
 
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This song is an original, written by a local guy who was a staple at the weekly Open Mic, some 25 years ago.

Way back when, there was a Ford assembly plant in Edison New Jersey. A kid could graduate high school, get a good job there at Union wages, and live a good life. That plant has long since closed down, and reopened south of the border.

I haven't sung this song in a quarter century. In those days, I always played guitar, and knew just the right way to strum or pick to emphasize what needed to be said. Tonight I'm just picking one of my familiar ukulele patterns, and trying to remember how to evoke this tale.


Cody, please PM me the words & chord progression when you can. This tune, and your honest, evocative voice, churned up many old, proud memories.

My maternal grandfather became a Union man when the economy would no longer sustain his cash crop of north Georgia cotton. Granddaddy was no plantation owner or slaveholder. There was no such thing amongst those rocky hills. From the time she was old enough to drag a cotton sack, Mom picked cotton one row over from her brother in the summer heat til her fingers bled. Granddaddy never learned to read.

After the year FDR ordered crops burned to artificially stabilize the market price of cotton, granddaddy spent the next 3 decades toiling in a nearby marble quarry, much of it spent filling and lugging 90-lb sacks of limestone gravel (crushed stone). But the Union had his back, which freed up time on the weekends for Saturday fox hunts (again, not on horseback in the way folk typically depict it but at night) and Sunday churchgoing.

Thank you for this post! And, I suppose the proper term is serendipity, but my Chemical Engineer son now works in senior management at a 21st century incarnation of the very same quarry, which focuses on far more lucrative calcium carbonate products. Though the union is long gone, my son earns a far better living than both his grandfather and I did at his age.
 
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