Sylvia Woods Harp Center
July 2020 Newsletter
I hope you all had a great 4th of July weekend. Although there were no official firework displays on Kauai, several families on my street had plenty of pyrotechnics to keep the neighborhood booming until late in the evening. Luckily, (from my viewpoint), it started pouring rain at about 11 pm, which brought an end to the "festivities."
Haircut
I recently got tired of my long hair, so I got it chopped off. I love my new hair-do and have received lots of compliments.

I also decided it was time for my website to get a make-over and a new look, too! The company that takes care of the e-commerce and shopping cart functions on my website is now working on a complete overhaul. We're hoping it will be ready in about a month. So, don't be surprised if my site looks a bit different -- and hopefully much better -- very soon!

Aloha,
Sylvia
Hawaiian Pidgin
This article is part of my ongoing series about living in Hawaii.

I was recently driving behind a Kauai Police Department cruiser and noticed a bumper sticker on the back saying, " no miss da census." I've also seen signs throughout the island with this phrase, reminding us to complete our census forms. (The photo here is the banner in front of the Lihue courthouse.) I realized that "no miss da census" makes perfect sense here in Hawaii, but people elsewhere might be confused, or annoyed by the "bad grammar." But this is not bad grammar: it is pidgin.
Da Census sign
In 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau released the data from a five-year American Community Survey, which tracked the languages spoken in the U.S. between 2009 and 2013. In Hawaii, over 1,600 residents reported that they speak pidgin at home. For the first time, the Census Bureau recognized Hawaiian Pidgin English as an official language, with its own vocabulary, grammar, inflection, and syntax.

Hawaiian Pidgin originated in the sugarcane plantations during the 1850s as a way for the Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese workers to communicate with each other and their English-speaking supervisors and Hawaiian-speaking locals. Around 1900, waves of Okinawans, Puerto Ricans, Koreans, and Filipinos arrived. Their languages were added into the mix of what we now call Hawaiian Pidgin.

Many locals speak pidgin on a daily basis. For example, there is a group of about ten local kapuna (senior citizens) who occupy four tables at Burger King for several hours every morning. I enjoy eavesdropping on their conversations since much of it is in pidgin.

In the April 2018 issue of this newsletter, I listed some Hawaiian words visitors should know: keiki, mahalo, 'ohana, 'ono, pau, etc. Some of these words are pidgin.

We often hear pidgin on Hawaiian radio and TV commercials. You can watch an example of a COVID-19 public service announcement featuring local comedian Frank De Lima. (A "tutu" is a grandparent.)

Here are a few examples of pidgin words and phrases that are in common usage in Hawaii.

Brah (short for brother or braddah): a casual way guys refer to each other
Broke da mouth or broke da mout: delicious
Chicken skin: goosebumps
Da: the
Da kine: a handy phrase that refers to anything you can't remember the name of
Grinds or Grindz: food, or a meal
Hele on: let's go or get moving
Howzit (a combination of "how," "is" and "it"): how are you?
If can can. If no can, no can: If I can get to it, I will. If not, I can't. (Often shortened to if can can.)
Okole: buttocks, rear end
Shishi: to pee or urinate
Slippahs: slippers, sandals, or flip-flops
Stink eye: a very dirty look
Tanks: thanks.
Talk story: to tell stories, gossip, and converse with friends
Talk stink: badmouth someone

P.S. It is customary to remove your shoes when entering a home in Hawaii. Here's an example of a fun front door sign.
Mahalo Slippahs
Our Featured Composer: William Mahan
William Mahan
William Mahan is our featured composer this month. Here's what he has to say about himself and his music.

Ours was a musical family. My mother sang and played the piano. My father had a beautiful voice, and my sister could sing and harmonize in alto. By five years old, I could sing and yodel like Gene Autry, my childhood hero. At age ten, my mother wanted me to take piano lessons at school. To Sister Anne's great consternation, I learned how to play by ear but not how to read music. In high school, I borrowed a ukulele from my girlfriend's mother and learned to chord a couple of tunes. When I was drafted into the army in 1953, I bought a baritone uke, and one of my army buddies taught me a few more chords. While in architectural school at Iowa State University in 1957, I purchased a guitar and learned the five easy chords; E, E7, A, D, and B7. They fit the range of my voice and allowed me to sing my favorite folk songs: Jamaica Farewell, Sloop John B, Me and Bobby McGee, and several others. I also fell in love with classical music and began a collection of records spanning from Bach to Rachmaninoff. However, I still have hundreds of charming and romantic popular songs of the 40's and 50's spinning in my head all the time.

In 1974 we bought a spinet piano, and I took an Adult Ed class in Improvisational Piano. Our class learned C, F and G chords in the bass to harmonize with many popular songs in the key of C, along with similar accompanying chords in the keys of G and D. We learned the beginning basics of reading music; at least where middle C, E, G, B, etc. were on a musical staff. I impressed the teacher by composing an original song. As usual, I played it by ear, so I have no written copy of what it was.

After the class, I lapsed back into my laziness and didn't practice, and soon the piano was seldom used. Occasionally, I would sit down and play a couple of pieces by ear. I returned to the guitar and the several songs that I could play and sing.
Folk Mote Music
The Folk Mote Music Store was in downtown Santa Barbara, selling folk harps, guitars, banjos, and other folk instruments. As I walked by the store one afternoon in 1990, I looked through the window and saw a young lady playing a beautiful harp. I stepped inside to listen to the music. She touched the strings with such ease that the music seemed to flow from her fingers. I didn't recognize the song, but it was charming. When she finished, I stepped forward and asked her the name of the piece.
" The Grenadier and the Lady," she said. "It's in Sylvia Woods' Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp book."
"And did you teach yourself to play?" I asked.
"No," she said. "I'm using the book and taking lessons from a harp teacher, Barbara Hilaire."
"That is certainly a beautiful harp," I said. "
Yes," she sighed, “I wish that I could afford it.

I purchased that harp several days later. It had 33 strings, made by James Rydeki, a renowned harp maker in the '70's and '80's. At home, I tried to play it by ear, but that didn't work. It is not like a piano where you are looking down at your hands and can see where everything is. It wouldn't play for me. It sat in the living room for several months before I yielded to the reality that I was going to have to take harp lessons.

In a little guest house on her parents' estate in Montecito, surrounded by 14 harps and 20 cats, Barbara Hilaire gave harp lessons, teaching her students to read music and pluck the strings correctly. Young students come to it quite easily, but at age 58, my eye-to-fingers coordination was very creaky. Still, I was able to memorize the music before each next lesson. We progressed through the book, and on page 40, we came to my favorite song, The Grenadier and the Lady. But I thought it was too short; only 16 measures. With the melody spinning around in my head, I composed an introduction for my next lesson. The following week I added an ending, and Barbara was very pleased. I had expanded the song to 42 measures, and it now felt like a real piece of music. I eventually added variations, expanding it to 108 measures, and numbering it my first work, Opus 1.

Next, we were working on a piece in the key of G whose melody I didn't care for, but I liked the bass very much. I composed a new melody for the bass and played it in our following lesson: Song in G, Opus 2. Once again, Barbara was very supportive.

Next, I composed a completely original song, Canyon, Opus 3, and Barbara was ecstatic. The music then started to pour forth every week: Autumn's Waltz, Opus 4, My Hometown, Opus 5, and Warm Sienna, Opus 6. I composed Far Across the Ocean, Opus 7 in the key of D. I was playing it for Barbara with great gusto -- by ear, of course -- when suddenly, I lost my way.
"Barbara, where am l?"
"I don't know," she said. "I'm mesmerized."
Later, I asked her to play it back to me, as I often did, so I could just listen to the music without worrying about playing. At the end of the session, as my fingers were thoughtlessly wandering over the strings, I heard a theme.
"Did you hear that, Barbara?" I asked. She hadn't, so I played it again.
"Doesn't that sound impressionistic?" She agreed that it did.
"Barbara," I said, "next week, I'm going to bring you an impressionistic piece."
Windows of Paris
The music, which I entitled Les Fenetres de Paris and later The Windows of Paris, seemed to write itself. Each measure anticipated what the next would be. It just flowed from my fingers into the score. When I played it for Barbara, she said, "Oh, Bill, we have to publish that in the Folk Harp Journal." We did, and I received thank you notes from all over the country, and several requests from harpers to record it on their upcoming CDs. I was overwhelmed. It was the beginning of a new endeavor for me. Twenty-one books of music later, and presently working on Opus 130, it has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding adventures of my life.

Along with thanking Barbara for all of her patience and encouragement, I must tell you how lucky I was to become befriended by Mary Radspinner, my editor and publisher. Without her support and assistance to my music, I wouldn't be where I am today.
Mahan family
On a personal note, we live in a house that I designed 36 years ago for my wife Nyna, and myself. It is in the foothills above Mission Santa Barbara. We share it with our dog Hauzer the Schnauzer, and three cats. Between the two of us, we have five stepchildren and seven grandchildren.

P.S. This 2002 photo of our family was taken when we were renting Charo Cugat’s (Xavier Cugat’s 5th wife) huge beach house west of Hanalei on Kauai. Pictured are Nyna and me, our four daughters, three sons-in-law, and seven grandchildren.
This month's sale
This month's sale features PDFs by William Mahan. The code word is Mahan
   
To get the 15% discount on the products below, enter the code word Mahan in the Promo Code box on your shopping cart page and click "Enter Code" by July 28, 2020. For more information, see the "How to get the 15% discount" section at the bottom of this newsletter.

PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
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PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
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PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
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PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
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PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
PDF
PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
PDF
PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
PDF
PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
PDF
PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
PDF
PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
PDF
PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
PDF
PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
PDF
PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
PDF
PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
PDF
PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
PDF
PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
PDF
PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
PDF
PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
PDF
PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
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PDF by William Mahan
15% off with Mahan code
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How to get the 15% discount
15% off select sale items when you use the code word Mahan

Our newsletter promo codes are redeemable online and are only valid for the William Mahan PDFs featured in the sale section of this newsletter. They are not valid for phone or email orders. This month's code word is Mahan , and it is valid for 15% off the select PDFs in the sale section above. Just because an item is mentioned somewhere in this newsletter doesn't mean that it is on sale. It must be in the sale section.  
 
Here's how to get your newsletter discount at harpcenter.com :
#1. Put the items you want to purchase in your cart. 
#2. On the page where you view the items in your cart, type this month's code word Mahan in the "Promo Code" box and click on "Enter Code."
The actual price of the featured sale products on this page will then automatically change to reflect the discount. You'll also see a note below the Promo Code box saying the name of the promo code you entered and the percentage amount of the discount.  
 
REMEMBER: you must enter this month's code word Mahan in the Promo Code box and click "Enter Code" on your shopping cart page by July 28, 2020 to get the discount!
If you forget, or if you have trouble adding it to your order, email Sylvia immediately .  
 
Offer expires at the end of the day on 7/28/2020.
Sylvia Woods Harp Center
Lihue, Hawaii
(808) 212-9525