Today we are joined by slack key guitar and ‘ukulele player Danny Carvalho. Since picking up the guitar at the age of 10, Carvalho has shaped a well-groomed career with two Na Hōkū Hanohano award nominations, his music featured in the 2011 film The Descendants, and three studio albums to date. You can hear the influence of his teachers such as Ozzie Kotani and Dennis Kamakahi as he adds his own flare to create his own unique sound. Hawaiian music fans are excited to hear what Carvalho has new (and old) to share.
On her way to a dinner party hosted by Joe Kimo Henderson, Helen Beamer wrote the song Kimo Hula as a gift to take to her host’s home. This sweet and intimate tune is captured in Carvalho’s solo ‘ukulele rendition. Steeped lightly in reverb, his vocal sounding arrangement brings Beamer’s story to life by substituting beautiful lyrics of i’iwi birds and flowers with rich arpeggiated chords and rhythmic themes. Using a wound low-G string you can hear each note he plucks sustain and decay. He uses a I-V-IV-IVm progression as a turn around before launching into the melody of the song. Keeping to the melody he starts with a light touch and choice notes
that give motion to the song. He chooses chord voices that match his low-G tuning such as the C7 (0:19), the walk down on A7 (2:34), and an Ohta-san IV-IVm voices (2:11). Upon the third verse of the song, he adds in further embellishment by varying the melody (2:45) and adding more volume to his playing all leading up to an elegantly IV-IVm-I outro (3:15).
Carvalho’s playing is a friendly reminder that you don’t need flash (which Carvalho can do!) to be able to play a beautiful song.
UkePrints is a curated playlist of some essential ukulele tracks that all ukulele player should listen to. These songs have left a legacy for future players and in essence, sound impressions of the ‘ukulele or what I like to call them: UkePrints.