From the recording Drop in my Flower
Rhino Clouds was written in a park in South Africa (Johannesburg) as I was having a play-date with my friend Portia and her grandkids Gabby and Sebastien. I was noodling around on my ukulele while Gabby was telling me about her mermaid song idea and Portia kept jumping up from the picnic blanket to chase little Sebby around the jungle gym. It struck me how sweet it was that Portia, a woman with responsibilities of her own, made sure to make time for frivolous play-time with the kids. It would have been so easy to say, "No, no park today. I'm busy, just color or build that puzzle I bought you." But instead she was engaged and childish along with them. After we were all tired out, we lay in the grass on the blanket and pointed out cloud animals to each other. It was one of the best times I can remember, and I'm happy I was able to articulate it into a song.
The verse music was inspired by Daniel Ho’s “Colorful Sounds” lesson program through Yamaha music. He talks about creating “modules” from complex chords. His modules create unusual combinations of notes which invoke emotions one doesn’t often access when hearing ukulele music. I had my fingers stretched and twisted for the first section and luckily Daniel found a much easier way to play the same thing higher up the neck, utilizing open strings. Daniel was inspired to make the song even better with his “rhino-charging" bass sounds and beautiful finger style bridge section. He said, “The lyrics on the bridge say ‘We don’t have time’ so I added a faster rhythm to represent the impatience.” I couldn’t be happier with the result.
Beautiful Day, look at the clouds...
What do you see?
What do you see?
I found a rhino
Little Boy Blue...
What in the world?
What in the World?
What did I tell you?
We don't have time to play in the garden.
I've got the laundry, the bills and...
Oh never mind,
I've got plenty of time
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A fireman's dog?
That's not a thing.
Well, if you say so.....