Category: Yellow House Recordings
Girls With Guitars
Girls with Guitars! Last week, I taught a beginning guitar day camp that introduced these young ladies to the guitar. Thanks Ruby (my daughter), in the pink shorts, for helping me this week! We had a blast. We met for two hours every day Monday-Friday and our week culminated in a performance for family and friends on the deck.
Our songs for the week included….. Firework by Katy Perry, You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift, This Land is Your Land by Woodie Guthrie, and a traditional camp song… Ain’t No Bugs on Me.
I’d like to give a shout out to Rob Hampton of Heartwood Guitar. I love Rob’s site and frequently pull from his 600+ chord charts for inspiration. Thanks a million Rob for all of the great work you do! (I’m convinced you never sleep) These girls certainly appreciated learning such cool and accessible songs!
Here are two wonderful links to the song: Girls with Guitars who was written by Mary Chapin Carpenter performing it here. Also check out the incomparable Wynnona Judd performing it here. Oh, to be that fierce on stage!
Everyone love guitar, including French composer, Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944), who wrote this piece for solo piano: Guitare , which I recorded a couple of years ago on Women with a Past.
Contigo En La Distancia by César Portillo De La Luz, Recorded 1/5/17 in Yellow House Studio by Laura.
Central and Southern Florida! Joe and I spent a week over the holidays in the Orlando area, Miami, and Key Largo.
We kicked off the trip with a visit to Joe’s family in Titusville where we spent a beautiful day at the beach and another day meandering through the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge amongst alligators, Great Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills, and Green Herons.
In Miami, we side strolled down the stylish art deco styled South Beach. Wall to wall activity includes bustling sidewalk cafés, posh shops, sandy beaches, and Cuban music blasting in the background. We also visited little Havana and enjoyed a traditional Cuban meal near our hotel.
My favorite outing was to the Viscaya Museum and Gardens, built in 1914-1916 by the wealthy James Deering. The mansion and gardens, situated on a 180 acre estate, resemble the Italian Renaissance and Baroque villas Deering visited in his travels. I was fascinated by the ornate details of the huge mansion including a massive open indoor/outdoor courtyard and the sprawling gardens. On the day we visited, teenage beauties posed for quinceañera photos. Each girl had an entourage in tow including photographers, assistants, make up artists, mothers, aunts, friends, and sisters juggling water, granola bars, curling irons, dresses, shoes, and cell phones.
Our final adventure (not including driving on Florida’s fast moving highways) was a day trip to Key Largo for an afternoon of snorkeling in the Atlantic. We took a boat 45 minutes out to sea to Grecian Reef where we enjoyed an hour and a half of snorkeling with a huge variety of tropical fish in blues, greens, yellows, and pinks, including several large and teethy barracuda!
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Words and Music by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, Recorded at the Yellow House Studio
Wishing you peace and love in the Holiday Season
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on, our troubles will be miles away
Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more
Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
So hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now
Yesterday, my fellow early morning lap swimmers and I had our end of the summer breakfast which marks the end of another summer season of outdoor swimming. We’ll head indoors for the fall and the winter. I swim three days a week at 6:00 am, it’s a great energetic start to the day.
Swimming, like music, has been a constant companion ever since I can remember. I spent many happy summers swimming on the Choteau Swim Team. (I’m first row on the right in the picture above, I think I’m about 8 or 9.) In college, I was a lifeguard and swim instructor and after college, I became a certified diver when I was working on cruise ships in the Caribbean. That seems a lifetime ago! Now, I’m an early morning lap swimmer and swim mom.
My daughter, entering high school, just made the Roosevelt High School varsity swim team. Way to go, Ruby! She’s much faster than I ever was! She’s also a water polo player, because these swimmers just can’t get enough time in the water.
We should all find something we love and keep doing it, like swimming, like music! Today’s post, an arrangement of REM’s Night Swimming.
Here’s the original, a gorgeous song by REM from Automatic for the people:
More swimming love! Here’s the ever inspirational, awesome Michael Phelps in an Under Armour Commercial.
You Won’t Be The Same After Watching Michael Phelps’ New Under Armour Ad
The Swan, inspired by Florence Foster Jenkins
I recently saw the beautiful movie, Florence Foster Jenkins starring Meryl Streep as Florence, Hugh Grant as her husband, and Simon Helberg as the brilliant pianist and gentle soul, Cosmé McMoon. This stylish movie, based on the real life FFJ, celebrates music, complex relationships, and the human spirit. Despite a sold out performance at Carnegie Hall, Florence is lacking in the musical ability. However, her spirit,enthusiasm, courage, and love for music are contagious. I laughed and cried my way through the film.
There are many touching scenes with the pianist Cosmé and Florence including Cosmé performing an audition for Florence with The Swan from Saint Saens. The Swan, originally for cello and two pianos, is from Carnival of the Animals. Here is an arrangement for piano I recorded this morning.
The Swan, Saint Saen played by Laura Dean Wav
The Swan, Saint Saen, played by Laura Dean MP4
Romances Sans Paroles, Yellow House Salon #16
Romances Sans Paroles translates to Songs Without Words. Below I play #3 by Gabriel Fauré (played on my digital keyboard and mixed on my Macbook as a harp/guitar duo). What a perfect piece for Mother’s Day. No words can describe how grateful I am for my mother, Gail Dean. She’s a woman of steel who raised two kids on her own with courage and grace after losing my dad in a highway accident when we were all very young.
Thanks, Mom, for all of the hours of music lessons, for driving across the state of Montana for camps and concerts, for sewing all of those costumes and dresses, for giving me a great education, and for giving me the courage, independence, and grit to pursue a life in music. I owe it all to you!
To all of the Mamas our there! You know who you are and I know how hard you work to make it all look easy! Here’s to our Moms and here’s to us, the Mamas!
Don’t Advertise Your Man, Yellow House Salon #15
Don’t Advertise Your Man piano and singing by Laura
Here’s my awesome guy, Joe Sweeney! He does laundry and helps my daughter with her math, he also is an amazing bird photographer, very funny, extremely handsome, and the love of my life. I could go on and on, but before I do, I think I’ll take the advice of Clara Smith who first wrote this old blues tune back in the 1920’s, Don’t Advertise Your Man. Sippie Wallace came our with her version in the 1960’s. Bonnie Raitt has also recorded a sassy version.
Be sure to check out these recordings, and remember, girls, Don’t Advertise your Man!
Spring Mozart, Yellow House Salon #13
Mozart Sonata K. 545, Andante, photo taken by Laura in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle.
An overcast spring Seattle day calls for a break from the Cuban pieces I’ve been working on. Time for some classic Mozart. A Mozart sonata with its clear sonata form, lyric melody, and clean accompaniment, is always fresh and elegant. It’s something like a trusty little black dress, a Timex watch, a pair of faded Levi’s, or a cup of good brewed coffee. This andante movement of the 545 sonata reminds me of the cat in this photo- unsentimental, refined, classic, and cool.
Lágrimas Negras, Yellow House Salon #12
Still dreaming of adventures in Cuba. Today, a post featuring Lágrimas Negras (black tears), a traditional Cuban Bolero written by Miguel Matamoros. My group learned this piece under the instruction of a wonderful voice teacher at the havana music school.
The bolero, in two parts, opens with a slow lament. The singer has been abandoned and suffers immense pain. She sobs black tears over her lover’s transgressions. The second half picks up as she decides to suffer no more. Above, my recording, a piano arrangement of Lágrimas Negras.
Don’t miss these three different takes on Lágrima Negras:
Cuban Singer/Guitarist with Cuban footage
American Cuban Songstress, Celia Cruz
Cuban piano master Bebo Valdés and flamenco cantador, Dieguito El Cigala
Please visit Weeks 9, 10, and 11 for more on my Cuban adventures.