You can email Rhan by clicking the link below:
In this book, Rhan Wilson has assembled a collection of thoughts and helpful exercises, gained from his nearly 50 years playing and studying music.
With a foreword by Joe Craven, this book is targeted towards the growing community of ukulele players, yet could easily be speaking to any musician on any instrument.
"Rhan offers here a humble, honest and heart-felt offering of what it means to truly connect to music making. This book is a guide that is both conceptual and pragmatic.
Rhan reminds us to not to hold, or worse own, negative opinions about our abilities from others or created within ourselves. Now as an educator, he has become a country doctor of music - making house calls, applying nature’s cycles and natural metaphors and with wonderful bedside manner.
Rhan importantly reminds us to, occasionally if not frequently, in the inimitable words of Sir Ken Robinson, to liberate ourselves from the “tyranny of common sense” in the world of creativity. Echoing Robert Fulghum’s brilliant book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”, Rhan brings it all back to the basics.
Read this book. Rhan really gets it and so can you. Find the time to take your time to modify your behavior. Remember my mantra, “Success is not the key happiness...happiness is the key to success”. Your table is waiting. It will come. You and the world will be better for it."
Joe Craven Musician, Educator
Rhan was one of six Santa Cruz artists to receive the 2012 Gail Rich Award. Santa Cruz Sentinel write Wallace Baine writes this:
Rhan Wilson first performed with "The Paisley Pudding", a "power-rock" trio, when he was 10. Forty years later he continues to create, perform, and explore the way we hear and interpret music.
His "Altared" shows: An Altared Christmas, An Altared Valentine's Day, and An Altared 420 which often sell out in advance, have provided him an opportunity to work with some truly fine musicians such as Jerry Martini (Sly and the Family Stone, Woodstock, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), Joe Craven (Jerry Garcia, David Grisman), Dale Ockerman and Richard Bryant (both of the Doobie Brothers and The White Album Ensemble), Grammy winner Barry Phillips, and Grammy Nominee Tammi Brown. His work with Tammi Brown has also included opening for Dr. Maya Angelou at the Santa Cruz Civic as well as Santa Barbara's Arlington Theater. His work with Tammi Brown has also included opening for Dr. Maya Angelou at the Santa Cruz Civic as well as Santa Barbara's Arlington Theater.
These "Altared" shows have also provided Rhan with the canvas with which to paint a musical scene depicting familiar songs rendered in minor keys - lighted only with blues and blacks.
An introduction to the ukulele in recent years has led him to co-create "Club Uke", a ukulele themed venue which hosts a monthly open mic night, as well as presenting ukulele themed performances.
Rhan has been active in teaching music, with a focus on rhythm, to the many beginning ukulele players in town - encouraging their confidence and assisting in performance techniques.
He has recorded and produced several CDs; three of his own, as well as with "pray-formance" artist THOTH and singer-songwriter Celina Gutierrez.
Brookside - Guitarist and vocalist/songwriter Rick Zeek leads this core group consisting of guitarist/vocalist Rhan Wilson, Terry Shields, and Patti Maxine - Brookside performs a variety of Americana/Bluegrass and similarly inspired inspired gospel music.
White Chocolate Funk - Electric guitarist for this hypno-impro-old school funk band.
ROMP - The name of this band began as an anagram of the first names of the members: Rhan Wilson (ukulele, guitars), Olaf Schiappacasse (drums), Matt Bohn (bass), and Patti Maxine (lap steel, guitar). Together they reinvented old songs "you forgot you remembered", changing tempos and often turning major into minor.
The Patrick Landeza Project - Rhan performed percussion for this project, joining lap steel wizardress Patti Maxine and bassisst Matt Bohn.
The Planet Cruz Comedy Hour - Rhan was the band leader of this popular monthly show produced by comedian Richard Stockton. Performed at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center, this show featured local as well as national talent and sold out consistently.
An Altared Christmas - Held every year at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz, this show continues to draw large crowds and is well on its way to becoming a local holiday tradition. Pro video and audio are recorded and are in the process of being edited for the creation of a DVD for public sale.
An Altared Christmas LIVE 2007 - Starring a cast of 20, Rhan produced this first live version of the recorded CDs to a sold out crowd at the Cayuga Vault. Pro audio was recorded and resulted in the creation of a top notch CD. To see more information, go to: www.altared.com
Beneath Broadway - Starring Ukulele Dick, Katie McKee, Bonno Benard, Bob Burnett, and Rhan Wilson. this ensemble performed totally tweaked versions of Broadway Showtunes. There is presently one short video performance on-line. Click here to see and hear us perform at the "Keep Santa Cruz Weird" show. (Scroll to the bottom of that page for this link.)
An Altared Christmas
The Drake Equation - This was a group of 5 core members who perfected their improvisation skills, meeting weekly for several years at the Cayuga Vault in Santa Cruz. All sessions were recorded and may someday be presented in part as a CD.
THOTH- Winner of a 1996 S.F., Weekly WAMMIE award, THOTH was a musical experience using theater, dance and ritual. The sound was been called "a blend of all the nomadic tribes in the world." Composed of violin, percussion and vocals, the music emanates sensuality and beauty.The CD "Maiden Flight" enjoyed national airplay and was listed in AIRWAVES TOP 50 , August of 1997. Violinist SKTHOTH has since gone on to New York, where he became the subject of the Ocsar winning documentary, "THOTH."
Haunted By Waters - Rhan was one of two percussionists in this San Francisco based band. The CD, "Like the Dust" is on XDOT RECORDS and is available at all Tower Records and Virgin Megastores nationally. In addition to Rhan, this recording featured singer Cait McWhir, David Hannibal on guitar and didgeridoo, Gerry Bassermann - keys,guitar and vocals, Cat Taylor on electric violin, Greg Stone on bass, and "Bean" on percussion and vocals. Bean also is the co-founder of the SF based band "D'Cuckoo" .
Erin Schwartz Band - This band consisted of Erin Schwartz on vocals, Ed Garnero on bass, Bob Burnett on guitar, and Rhan on percussion. They played jazz standards and originals.
ZOLA - Rhan played with this group for selected performances playing percussion. The band consisted of guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Marc Zola and cellist Eric Stein.
Took My Heart Away : This was one of Rhan's first solo projects. The recording contains three songs that he wrote, recorded and produced. Guest artists include: Bob Burnett (guitar), Gary Regina (saxophone), Dave Aldridge (percussion), Lee Beverly and Lisa Krueger (background vocals).
Haven Terrace - Rhan was a guitarist with this Santa Cruz based band. Founders were Bob Burnett and Laurie (Dizzy) Burnett. We played originals and cover tunes with an original, jazzy world-beat feel.
Dream Beach - Rhan played percussion with this very unique and popular group. A trio at first, founders Daniel Lewis (bass) and Pipa Piñon (vocals) . They played minimalistic jazz and melodic music with Pipa adding the vocals and dramatics. Pipa has gone on to record with Michael Hedges and husband Daniel has recorded with now defunct group "World Entertainment War".
The Bumps - This was a fun band that played raggae, funk, soul, calypso, rock... Vocalist and percussionist Coleen Douglas, Bassist Peter Wilde, Drummer Mike Strunk, and on Vibes Madelaine Nager. Rhan played guitar.
Flight - Rhan played lead guitarist for this rock band based in Santa Cruz. Flight played all the clubs, played all the covers of the standard rock tunes, though they managed to always gave them their own twist. They kept their own identity and had quite a following, cashing in on youthful exuberance and energy. This band lasted in various forms for many years, the four or five member keeping in touch and working on many projects together and apart. Bass player Lee Beverly (see "Took My Heart Away") is currently the bass player for The Eddie Money Band and keyboardist Stan Tristan is a songwriter living in Nashville.
The Paisley Pudding.
Rhan was asked to create a variety of props for DeLaveaga Elementary School's Earth Day Celebration produced by Paula Bliss. For this show he created a giant guitar, several little cars the children could put on and "drive around in", and giant television and computer screens. He also designed and created a giant windmill contraption that changed into the revolving sun. This perfoamance was then videotaped and called "Spin Cycle."
For this was a one-woman musical show, written and performed by Pipa Piñon, Rhan designed and built the set, obtained numerous props, designed, operated and installed lighting, designed and produced all graphic materials including: promotional photos, advertisements, programs, tickets, and billboards.
"The set and lighting design by Rhan Wilson are excellent. The set provides the atmosphere of a jumble sale, a fine contrast to the definitive music and the emotional starkness of Nancy's dream world, and the lights are alternately visually stunning and subtly enhancing"
THE LAST STAIR AND STUMBLE
For this ensemble production, Rhan designed and built the set, and obtained the props.
For this ensemble procuction performed at Enrico's Restaurant in San Francisco, Rhan had the challenge of designing and building a set that could be assembled and dismantled every performance night.
For this musical group, Rhan designed and built props for Pipa Piñon to use in her performance. Props have included: giant light switch and wall outlet, giant measuring ruler, assorted giant flowers, and various lighting effects.
I love teaching music and at this time, I have students ranging from the age of 11 up to people in their 80s.
I believe I have a practical and easy-to-follow approach to learning music - starting with the most basic, and leading the student forward to where they want to go.
I can help you learn:
as well as basic theory, rhythm, and musical "thinking" on any instrument.
$40 is the cost of a 45 minute lesson.
$175 is the cost of FIVE 45 minute lessons, which saves you $25.
I can also teach via Skype and take payments via PayPal, credit card, cash, or check.
I teach a weekly workshop called "The All In Good Time Orchestra" where we rehearse material, learn about charts, keys, transposing, and arranging.
I also teach workshops at several Ukulele Festivals in California and Oregon, as well as perform.
Please feel free to contact me to ask any questions about lessons, learning, and what you may expect from me during our lesson.
Wallace Baine January 05, 2012
Santa Cruz musician Rhan Wilson has talent, experience and creativity to spare. But what elevates him to the mantle of a special artist is a genuine artistic vision. That vision began more than a decade ago when Rhan conceived of "An Altared Christmas," in which he reworked well-known Christmas songs, playing them in a minor key. That minor alteration inspired Rhan to create an entirely new aesthetic tradition done up in blue and black instead of red and green. Every December, Rhan and his merry band of collaborators bring alive that aesthetic on stage in a concert that, he says, is not meant to parody or replace traditional holiday celebrations, but, in fact, to enhance them and give them new meaning, particularly to people whom a commercially oriented Christmas has failed to inspire. Rhan has expanded his "Altared" brand to include Valentine's Day and "4/20," but ultimately his goal is to revive and unleash the lost magic of Christmas.
Santa Cruz Sentinel
Wallace Baine December 08, 2011
Rhan Wilson (center, arms raised) presides over the ambitious theatrical concert ‘An Altared Christmas.
Posted: 12/08/11, 12:01 AM PST|
It is a conversation that centers on a paradox -- How can so many people both love Christmas and dread it at the same time?
It is a conversation that has little to do with the so-called "war on Christmas" that becomes a tiresome trope of the culture wars every December. It really has little to do at all with religion, though it is deeply entwined with the ideals we often express in religious terms.
The conversation we're not having revolves around one provocative question: Has the apparatus that contemporary consumer culture has built around Christmas strangling the more noble meanings of the holiday?
For the past seven years, Santa Cruz musician Rhan Wilson has taken it upon himself to reinvigorate the idea of Christmas with his show "An Altared Christmas." It's a delightfully eccentric show where red and green and replaced with blue and black and old familiar Christmas songs are reworked into a minor key.
There are those who think Wilson is just kidding around, that he's mocking Christmas tradition. Nothing could be further from the truth, he said.
"There are some misconceptions about this show," he said of "Altared Christmas," which takes place Saturday at the Rio. "A lot of people think it's irreverent. And I'm always baffled by that. They think we're making fun of Christmas, which is not true at all. What the show is commenting on is about what we've done to Christmas."
Christmas has not only become commercialized, it's become overly ritualized as well. Too many people drag out their tinsel and ornaments, and slap on that Nat King Cole Christmas album without much thought about it. There's a certain amount of comfort in the ritual itself, sure. But the great irony of the most holy of holidays on the Christian calendar is not necessarily that it's a spiritual observation celebrated with an orgy of materialism. The greater irony might be that it's a time meant for reflection that turns into robotic ritual. As Wilson puts it, "Nothing really stands out anymore."
What Wilson is setting out to do with "An Altared Christmas" is to take the familiar and make it just unfamiliar enough to give it a fresh feel. Wilson and his disciples do not change the lyrical content of the Christmas songs they perform. They change the setting of them and that makes all the difference.
Wilson's latest example of freshening up the familiar is a new rendition of "Angels We Have Heard on High." Wilson arranged the song in a minor key and Santa Cruz blues/gospel singer Tammi Brown recorded that arrangement with a string quartet. Almost everyone who has heard it, said Wilson, "has flipped over it."
The performers are a broad cross section of Santa Cruz's finest musical talent, including Ukulele Dick, Patti Maxine, Dale Ockerman, Rick Zeek, Pipa Pinon, Celia Gutierrez ... well, it would easier to name who's not in the show. Condoleeza Rice isn't in the show. Penn & Teller are not, either. And that about covers it.
"Altared" is really about examining songs that we too often sing without being conscious of what they say. Most famously, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" has become a kind of melodrama of delusional thinking in which the young girl who witnesses the title act grows up to be a deranged "Baby Jane" type.
"It's such a fascinating story to me," said Wilson. "One woman so tortured by a simple mistake that she goes over the edge."
Other songs get reworked as well, including "The Little Drummer Boy," one of the most grievous victims of December overexposure. Wilson and the band have re-imagined the song in a Middle East musical setting with Pipa Pinon lending lead vocals. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is daringly mashed up with the Police hit "Roxanne."
It's all in the spirit of bring a little freshness and a little fun to a season that is often missing both. At the same time, Wilson will have a kind of memory shrine at the show, dedicated to all those who have died in the past year, again inviting us to reflect on the meaning of the season.
"Christmas has become all about gimme, gimme, gimme," he said. "And I can't be holier than thou. I'll have product in the lobby for sale. But the idea, the original concept, was aimed at people who need to find a reason to believe in Christmas again, people who have always loved Christmas, but are just burned out by the way we do it nowadays. It's about helping people find joy in this time of year."
Where is Rhan playing?
Click here to see his calendar.
What sort of projects and bands is Rhan working on?
And how about his past work?
Take a look back in time and see some of Rhan's old band photos:
I WORE THAT?!