I returned home today to a message from my friend Lis regarding The Mighty Uke Movie.
Well, that hit a note and struck a chord!
In the 1980s, the musical instrument of choice taught in the Halifax school system was the ukulele, led by Chalmers Doane. I was one of many many children who took it up and went through that program. It was my first instrument to music in Canada, and I progressed far enough to make the prestigious A Ukulele Group. That ukulele musical experience left me with many great memories. I remember a couple of thousand of us kids played for the newly wed Prince Charles and Lady Diana as they visited Halifax in 1983. When I was in grade 8, we had an exchange with an outstanding group in Langley, BC, which was my first trip really far away from home. There were lots of good times and rehearsals in between.
Now, as the trailer said, the ukulele is sometimes said to be perceived as being a bit of a joke. Well, anything is until a lot of people embrace it, and there seems to be that going on. Ironically, I had switched to guitar during those school years and now, though I can still do more on a ukulele than I’ll ever be able to do on a guitar. It’s just a lot more versatile being a smaller instrument for a little guy like me. However, I’m very much keen to take it up again seeing there’s a revolution going on. That F# string is going to make be say a few things starting with F#, though, I’m sure, given it’s a semi-tone off from the G-string on the guitar while the strings surrounding it are the same. But I’ve got a lot of muscle memory left. I can still do the Jazz Pizzicato riff as well as ever.
But in case you think the ukulele is a joke, have a listen to a couple of pieces below. The first is the late Israel Kamakawio’ole playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World like you had never heard it before him. Nice and simple, but just gorgeous.
But for those of you who needs a little virtuosity in an instrument to prove its worth to you, check out this Jake Shimabukuro guy playing an instrumental While My Guitar Gently Weeps of George Harrison fame. Yowza!
Or try the MUCH cuter version! WHO IS this kid???
My ukuleles might have been put away, but they are coming back out! That’s right. That’d be plural! Cause like pistols, a real man carries two!
The Might Uke Movie is making its Toronto premiere soon. I hope they will bring it to Halifax! They had better!
Check out ukuleledisco.com for some good, bad and ugly ukulele performances!
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 6.8