Friday, March 4, 2016


My time in LA has come to an end and I still am amazed on how fast the time has passed. It feels like yesterday I was still on Maui, gearing up for my SoCal adventure. It's been a great experience and much needed time to evaluate things in my life. I feel rejuvenated and inspired to start the next step of my journey.

Here are a couple photos from my stay in LA and Austin.

nealchin808's LA Austin album on Photobucket

Next I will be heading off to San Diego to teach a workshop at Hale Ukulele over the weekend. Really excited to hang out with Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel! Seats still available!

After that, I will be spending the rest of March in Eugene teaching and working at Pacific Winds. Will be teaching a workshop at the end of the month as a joint effort with the Ukulayneys crew on 3/25. Also giving a demonstration with Chris Peters at the Fern Ridge Library in Veneta on 3/22.

Come down and say hello!

That being said I will be doing a few private lessons while I am in Eugene. Send me an email me if you're interested! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Where I Lay

Maui will always be home for me. Though I do not claim any ownership or possession to the island, I do feel that I am a part of it. It's in the little things that make it beautiful: the way all the bumps and dips on Ōma'opio road feel, the perfect density of Jack's Inn's dry-mein noodles, how we say alunka and not humbalah. This is what Maui is made of. These are the lights at the end of the tunnel that one day I will return.  

On that note, going back is always bittersweet because no matter how long I stay I know that it's finite. I think it's a way of my soul telling me that it's not time to rest yet and I still have a lot to see and do. When I do go back I almost always become a recluse, save for family and a few friends. I enjoy the opportunity to reflect on where I am in my life and always surprised how each time I go back I am a little farther away it. For me, it's a healthy shift and helps me reevaluate myself. 

The last time I was on Maui was at the turn of the 2016. It was refreshing to reconnect with my family and friends, the island itself, and my playing. One of the things I had been meaning to do for some time was to redo some of my graphics by the hands of my parents. I've always loved the aesthetic of sumi-e ink brush painting and the beauty that it stands for. So I asked both my folks to help create a new logo in the style with their personal touch. The aim was on simplicity, fluidity, and intent (just as the form asks). Rice paper lined the floor with different iterations of both the ensō (circle) and the text. We ended with the ensō painted by my dad and the text from my mom. With the final touches by my oldest friend Jesse, the logo was updated and posted earlier today. I love that it is now handmade by people so important in my life. It's a symbol I can say truly represents what I am trying to do with my life. Thanks for the great job guys!

With the room cleared the next day I decided to record some songs I had been working on. With my crude set up, I recorded a few tunes and with little to no satisfaction with my performance. In a mixture of frustration and disappointment, I realized my expectations were what was holding me back. I had separated myself from my playing to the point of feeling like I was observing myself from above. I had clouded myself from expression, cheating the songs out of the justice they deserved.

Before recording, I usually like to meditate on the intent of the piece and what I want to convey in the recording.  So right before closing shop, I took a deep breath in and told myself to just play. To remember the finer points of what my home really is, what it means to me, and the way it should sound. I took another deep breath, hit record, and came up with this:

Earlier I had named the session under Where I Lay as a nod to my home Maui and thought it was an appropriate name for the performance. After all, it is where my life began and where I hope I will return to someday to spend the eve of my life.

Thank you for listening and I hope this song brings you solace as it has brought me.