2018 Hamburg, Germany
Ja, Ja, Ja. Went to Hamburg, Germany on the Hempel Ukulele Beatles tour. I wrote a song about it called, Hamburg Ja Ja Ja. I still need to record that one! ha ha ha!
2017 Blackpool, England
The George Formby Society magazine Vellum mentioned me in their What is Your Favourite Song?
A few years back, I attended a George Formby technique workshop over here in Canada at our former Ottawa Folklore Centre, taught by a guy from here who went over to the GFS Blackpool convention and I learned a lot from him. I’m not a total newbie to the style and I’m looking to interact with other GFS members to improve my playing. As for a favourite Formby song and why… my favourite song is The Lancashire Toreador. I love the minor key vibe to it. I learned guitar in my early teen years and my mom said to me: “Why don’t you play a song in a minor key?” I looked at her and said, “Ok what song?” She put me on to the folk classic Dark Eyes since her parents were from Finland (close to Russia) so I then started my path into minor chord melancholia for the next 35 years! In The Lancashire Toreador, the minor melody is great starting from the chorus. Wow, cool statue in Wigan!
Peter Forrest Ottawa, Canada
I was interviewed for a German radio station WDR and they featured my “Little Green Men in Berlin” song on May 18th. What is this about? When I first went to Berlin in 2011, I noticed that the pedestrian signs to cross the street were little green men wearing hats. I couldn’t figure out why the little green man was wearing a hat like in a Bogart film from the 1940s? I was in Berlin at the time and asked my ukulele friend Stefan and he explained it was an East-German left-over thing that the West Germans liked and adopted in Berlin since unification. Later, I learned they have a whole store in Berlin to sell Ampelmann (little green men) merch! I dropped by the store and bought a mini painting, keychain, and bottle opener. When I got back to Canada, it wouldn’t leave my mind so I wrote a song about it and made a video on YouTube. Many years later, German WDR radio found my video and wanted to interview me. The interview with my part is in German though the song plays instrumentally and winds its way through the entire interview here and there. You can download the podcast here. Sorry, no English. June 21,2017. It’s interesting that I’ve become part of German cultural history from Berlin.
2011 Winterswijk, Netherlands
Here’s my certificate in German for the farthest journey to Winterswijk. Every year, there is a ukulele get-together in Winterswijk, Netherlands in the countryside that is 10km from the German border and the near the German town of Vreden. It’s a joint Dutch/German ukulele weekend event where you can camp out at the school (or sleep inside the gym) and play ukulele all weekend, drink, and hangout. You should know how to speak German to attend. BTW – it’s not a German language learning camp. It’s right beside a winery.
I arranged a folk Gujarati song Aav re varsaad from India for ukulele in 2011. I used to go to the Indian restaurant The Sitar in Ottawa where some college students from Gujarti worked part-time and they helped me with the pronunciation. Armelle from France noticed my video and put it on her ukulele languages blog.
Ukulele song in Gujarati, Aav re varsaad
2010 Lille, France
A French newspaper in Northern France Nord Éclair wrote about me and my YouTube ukulele Cimetère de Roubaix video in 2010. They made fun of my trip to Roubaix, France (near Lille) and that I was some kind of a ukulele Ghostbuster. While in Lille, France in my hotel, I had read in a French tourist guide that one should visit the local Roubaix Cemetery so I did and I subsequently wrote a song about it back in Canada cause it was eerie and quiet there. I had never been in a place without sound. I also had brought my 2004 Canon digital camera at the time and it had really low quality video. Well, at least I captured something. I later recorded the green screen video of me at home back in Canada.
The interesting thing is that France’s father of the ukulele Cyril Lefebvre emailed me personally to tell that there was an article about me. No joke.