Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award Nomination - 'Ukulele Album of the Year

It truly is an honor and pleasure to announce that 'Ukulele Paintings is up for 'Ukulele Album of the Year in this year's Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. The Na Hoku Hanohano Awards is often referred to as the Hawaiian Grammys and is an institution set up by the Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts (HARA). My earliest memory of the Hoku awards was watching Jon Yamasato and Lopaka Colón holding up Jake Shimabukuro as he is crying in joy for just winning album of the year with his partners in crime from Pure Heart. It was a perplexing moment for myself as I couldn't even come close to understanding how they felt. It left a mark on my soul to one day understand that feeling. 

Amidst my search, I have come across some success, many failures, moments of testing my resolve, and the occasional bout of hard work. In my times of reflection I often wonder how all this chaos has lead me to my current self. Along my short career the main connective thread has been luck. I am lucky to have the breath in my lungs to say what I need to say. Lucky to have a supportive family who would clap if I went on stage and sneezed for set. Lucky to have friends who have caught me the countless times I fell and told me to go out and do it again with a smile. 

My realization is that I've had reason for that feeling all along.

I am inspired and honored to be one of the nominees alongside many of my heroes. A big mahalo to HARA for even considering 'Ukulele Paintings. To my fellow nominees: it is more than enough to say I share this title with you. I don't take this responsibility lightly. I feel compelled to continue sharing, writing, and teaching music more than ever. 

My good friend Matthew Riley once told me a quote from Frank Zappa that still rings true:

Music is the best.


Because I Couldn't Say Goodnight

Finished some late night noodling and wrote a new song! It's been a while since I picked up the guitar, but the reunion with Marie (my guitar) was so sweet. Checked the ego at the door and told myself to express my thoughts and feelings honestly. With my thoughts bittersweet, the music came out perfectly melancholy and encapsulated that moment without flaw. I love moments like this in spite of the pain because of the authenticity of the expression. It's too easy to lie to oneself and shade the world with the cool and ornate. I just want to strip away the husk of our conditioning to be able to genuinely connect. 

So I present to you a part of my soul, exposed and open to see.

Because I Couldn't Say Goodnight.

Some Musical Fun

This afternoon I decided to take the time to have some fun recording some music. I posted up a new video up on YouTube and put up a track on Soundcloud. 

This is Rocking Chair from Hoagie Carmichael.

An improvised composition titled Shen Sheshion, this track consists of two 'ukuleles through the same mic, no eq, and no reverb.

Also here is the rest of the painting. Had to crop it for my thumbnail. Hope you enjoy!

'Ukulele Paintings Liner Notes

It's been several months since the release of 'Ukulele Paintings and I wanted to put up the liner notes up here and also for download. Part of this whole process for me has been my exploration into sumie ink brush painting. When I decided that it was finally time to dive into it, I went to a local art supplies store by UW and decided to go with the traditional grindstone method of sumie ink. It just requires a little bit more time to prepare the ink but at this point I look forward to having that extra respite of time to focus on the intent of what I will paint. I enjoy the scarcity of ink I ran into while writing the liner notes. That black soot muddled in tiny drops of water became precious and required a tighten mind. The words: Do it once, do it right, and do it that way every time kept floating in my head as I tore through unsatisfactory results spread over sheets of rice paper. The irony oddly felt endearing at moments but I got the message I wanted to say after a handful of moments meditating with my ink to the grindstone. At the heart of it, I found it best to remember that the cornerstone of the experience for me was that it's something I love. My shoulder, arms, and hands loosened and I found fluidity in this last take. 

Liner Notes4.jpg


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!