Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Vacation in Orlando

Got back recently from a successful show at Dandelion Communitea Cafe in Orlando FL, where I spent all last week at. Beneath all the tourist attractions like Disney World and Universal Studios, lies cool little local hang-out spots to check out the local live music and arts scene.

The venue where I played my show, Dandelion Communitea Café, I call this place "Orlando's Best Kept Secret!" This vegan organic teahouse is a quiet, quaint, comfy, hip, and trendy remolded one-story house, so it has that comfy feel and you feel like you’re right at home in your living room. I also like how this place is more than just a business only concerned about making a profit for themselves. This place serves as a focal community hang-out spot, where they host weekly local live music, drum circles, yoga workshop, and other events. They are also eco/environmentally conscious, try to promote green living, and usage of compost.

The food here is good (and healthy), flavorful, full of unique spices and condiments, which comes to a surprise as I am not a vegan/vegetarian. Their burritos are as filling as a Chipotle burrito, hand-pressed like a Panini to give it a warm crunch exterior, and filled with unique tasty items like seeds I've never had before. I strongly recommend the "whirled peas," which is like an avocado dish but healthier while flavorful.

Someone did a video documentary on this nice little place, which pretty much summarizes the character of this place:

Another place I hung out a lot was Natura Café. A great chill hang out spot nearby the University of Central Florida, this place really seems interested in promoting the arts and culture to the college kids near UCF, and it's mostly nearby UCF college kids who are patrons of this place. They have original music 7 days a week, and I even saw on their music calendar a chapman stick player, whom I unfortunately missed. They have open mic twice a week, which is always packed, and originals only, which is good for encouraging creativity. There should be more places like Natura near colleges throughout the country, as it's great to see college kids engaging in the creative arts, rather than killing brain cells at a frat party.

The venue, however, is not a complete listening room, which is ideal for musicians who want a respectful crowd. When the audience is small, around 10-15 peeps, they are quiet and fully attentive to the music onstage. However, when the place starts getting packed, unfortunately, there's lots of chit-chat, side conversation, and noise in the audience as the performers are playing. However, most places in the country are like this, and the venue is already doing a great job at trying to promote local original music.

They also have great hookah specials. It cost $11 regularly, but during happy hour, they have half-off hookah, amounting to a total cost of $5.50! This is super cheap compared to where I live (DC/Baltimore), where hookah joints charge $15-20 per shisha on average.

 I also did some exploring at Downtown Disney, a large outdoor shopping mall right outside of Disney World, full of gift shops. I caught this incredible flamenco player, Nicholas Marks, at Pleasure Island. Not to use a cliché, but he’s the Hendrix of flamenco guitar. This fiery showman flips his guitar in the air, plays behind his head, upside down, sideways, lap-style, twirls his guitar around, you name it, all while churning out blistering flamenco licks and impeccable rhythmic strumming over a prerecorded jamtrack, to get the audience dancing and grooving. Apparently, he plays EVERYNIGHT for FREE at Pleasure Island, so be sure to catch him if you’re ever in Orlando:


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Folk Festivals This Summer!

So, I just recently finished a sucessfull set at the DC Folk Festival last week. The whole event was tons of fun. If you live in the mid-atlantic, you're lucky. There's some folk music festivals going on this summer, and looks like they're FREE:

Sat June 16th - Maryland Folklife Festival -  Never been this this one, but it looks promising, and it's free

June 27nd to July 1st - Smithsonian Folklife Festival - Been to this in the past, this is more like an "outdoor interactive museum" with lectures, demonstrations, displays, than an actual music festival. However, it's FREE, informative, and you can always learn something new.

July 20th to 22nd - Artscape - Been to this multiple times in the past. The largest free arts festival in the nation. This isn't really a "folk" festival, but they've got all sorts of top-notch national performing acts and performances. In the past, they've had Cake, Los Lonley Boys, Robert Randolph, Al Green, Issac Hayes, The Chinese Acrobats, and it's FREE!

Sat Sept 1st - DC Blues Festival - Been to this once in the past, had some solid local blues acts peform. I was lucky enough to catch touring Mississippi funk-bluesman Lil Dave Thompson at this before he unfortuantly passed away, what a talent! It's also FREE!

Sunday Sept 9th- Takoma Park Folk Festival - Never been to this before, but looks like it's worth checking out.

Do you know of a festival you recommend that I missed? Let me know in the comments sections below.............

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Video Tutorial: How to Make Fingerstyle Arrangements of Songs

Ever wanted to know how to create your own fingerstyle arrangement of a song? I just recorded a begineer's video tutorial on how to make a basic solo instrumental fingerstyle arrangement of a song and breaks it down step by step. The song I use as an example in the video is the Titanic theme song "My Heart Will Go On." Hope you enjoy it:

Monday, May 28, 2012

D.C. Folk Festival, Sat June 2nd, FREE

Hi, hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. Anyways, I'm playing Sat June 2nd at the Washington DC Folk Festival in Glen Echo Park. I'll be playing from 1-1:30pm at the Yurt Village Stage and admission is FREE! Come check out the other great performers and showcases on multiple stages as well. Fore more info:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

In honor of St. Patrick's day approaching, I'd like to share my original Irish fingerstyle instrumental, "The Irish Fiddler"

Monday, February 27, 2012

Have brunch with me every other week!

Hi, just wanted to let you know that I recently picked up a bi-weekly residency playing @ Java Mama's in Resiterstown, MD during brunch from 11am-2pm. My residency begins this sunday March 4th, 2012. Check my website gig calendar or FB page: Steve Hung for updates. Hope to have brunch with you soon!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year 2012!

Hi, hope everyone had a great holiday! I know I certainly did. All my holiday shows in Dec 2011 were a sucess, and it's great to spread the holiday cheer through music. In support of my holiday album "Fireplace Christmas Tunes," I played holiday shows anywhere between DC and Philly, with the tour finally ending with a highly sucessfully Church Benefit Christmas show in which we were able to raise about $800 for Cambodians living in poverty! Tis the season for giving.

I'm also glad that my album "Fireplace Christmas Tunes" sold well during my shows. I released that album partly because due to the gradually commercialization of the holiday season; there's been a lot of annoying crappy holiday music, mainly from pop artists, all over the radio and shopping malls. I wanted to record a genuine holiday album that evokes the true feeling of Christmas-time, not just going through Christmas tunes by the number.

Coincidentally, my friend Josh Urban also recorded a holiday EP. He's an electric guitar instructor from Southern Maryland. Check out his groovy rendition of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen inspired by his native DC funk/go-go, and his hysterically wacky original Santa is a Communist.

Check out my youtube page if you haven't recently. I've got some live footage from these holiday shows:

Silver Bells @ Carney Assembly of God Church Benefit Show (12-19-11)

So, what does 2012 bring? I'm currently working on my next all original album titled "Gutiar Gumbo," which should be ready in several months. This soulful album features acoustic and semihollow guitars, and although it's rooted in blues and jazz music, the album will be a "gumbo" of various vintage guitar styles ranging from Irish jigs, latin/jazz fusion, mellow and upbeat jazz, and gritty southern Americana music. Preview a few finished tunes here:

Irish Fiddler (Irish jig)
New Orleans Blues- (mellow jazz)
Little Duster- (Chet Atkins inspired country)