South Florida Ukulele Festival 2012… performing with my favorite partner :)

Continuing on with my article catch-up…

“What happens when two professional musicians (a vocalist and a drummer), who share a love for a wide range of music genres (and each other), join forces on a new instrument…
the ukulele?

You get Luna Jade and Keith Cronin: This ain’t your grandpa’s uke.”

Luna Jade and Keith Cronin... not your grandpa's uke.
The artist photo for our show at the 2012 South Florida Ukulele Festival this month.
The artist photo for our show at the 2012 South Florida Ukulele Festival this month.
“A multi-talented vocalist and songwriter who has performed in venues ranging from the Presidential Inauguration to intimate smoky bars, Luna Jade sings with a level of power, subtlety and emotion that captivates listeners as she takes them on a musical journey.

Keith Cronin, best known for his drumming with Clarence Clemons, Pat Travers, and many other internationally known artists, applies his driving rhythmic force to the ukulele in this ensemble, while bringing his own inimitable mix of harmony and humor to the group.

Together Luna and Keith perform a broad range of music, combining original songs with some well-known classics interpreted on the ukulele in ways you’d never expect.”

We got a chance to officially debut our diverse dynamic duo this month at the South Florida Ukulele Festival… and it was pretty awesome! We’ve been playing together on ukulele for a couple of years and performing together as vocalist & drummer intermittently in various bands for even longer. Keith has sat in with me to jam on my solo performances and we’ve even performed a few tunes together at the first South Florida Ukulele Festival in 2010, but this was our first official uke duo performance. Consider it the first of many :)

The day-long festival, held in the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Airport hotel, consisted of day-time workshops and an evening concert. Our main focus for the day was our evening performance, but we did get there early enough to sit in on the workshops: The stand-out was Tommy Lee Stryder’s blues uke workshop. We picked up a few bluesy chord voicings and transitions to add to our ukulele arsenal. Sweet!

We shared the concert bill with 6 other uke artists, so each performance was kept to about 20 minutes (otherwise we would all have been there to the wee hours of the morning.) With that in mind, we cherry-picked our set list to span music genres, eras – and languages – to showcase all the different styles that we like to explore on the uke, including my original music…
literally, from opera to Adele; from a Bossa Nova sung in Portuguese to a Disney-esque pop ballad that I wrote myself.

Our performance was exhilarating. I love performing with talented, professional musical partners… but when that partner is also your best friend & love, it kicks that whole shared artistic enjoyment up to the nth degree. By the audience response & the feedback after our set, it seems that they shared in the fun, as well!

Relationship aside, he’s just one of my favorite musicians to work with… regardless of the instrument. As he does on the drums, Keith lays down a solid, infectious groove on the uke that’s inspiring to sing to and play with. With Keith bringing his formidable rhythmic prowess to the uke, my own playing gets juiced… while it frees me up to wail a bit more. Vocalist nirvana.

That being said, I did perform one of the songs in our set on my own – just me and my uke: “Rainbow Pas de Deux”, one of my newest originals. This has become one of my favorite songs to perform… vocally, it lets me use my “Disney princess (with soul)” voice; musically, I play it as I feel it… with much dynamic emotion. But there’s a special meaning and intent enfolded in the lyrics…

I’ll talk more about it in another blog, but “Rainbow Pas de Deux” is my metaphor for a Double Rainbow, with all of its transformational meaning. It is also the dance of life – in all its prismatic beauty – as lived, experienced, and shared between two people.

I’ll leave you with that, for now :)

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