Ukulele & Languages

Different countries,
Different cultures
one common language... the ukulele.

Archive for April, 2010

About a month ago, I received a mail from Amelia Robinson, telling me she had been spending several months in Qatar, playing ukulele on the Pearl Qatar, a man-made island in Doha, off the Arabian peninsula.

She had discovered my blog via Ukulelia while I knew of her through one of Al‘s Saturday UKe Tube on Uke Hunt, featuring her hilarious song Swine Flu.

My curiosity was piqued and I decided to interview Amelia in order to find out more about her unique experience on the Pearl Qatar. Reading her vivid and amusing depiction of the place will transport you there in a flash.

Read more ...

If you are still struggling with the pronunciation of the name of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull despite this video, then I am slightly worried the longest Finnish word might be beyond your depth : epäjärjestelmällisyydellistyttämättömyydellänsäkäänköhän

The word, which is actually a collection of words put together sounds like this :

Puzzled about its meaning ?

Hank W. has made the following attempt at splitting the word into its composite words to give a definition of its meaning (source …

Read more ...

Here is a brief account of my day at the Paris Ukulele Bazaar which took place on Saturday the 17th of April at Les 3 baudets.

The Ukulele Club de France team did a great job marketing the event in the medias, so much so that tickets for the evening concerts were sold out at the very opening of the Paris Ukulele Bazaar, leaving behind quite a few people who hadn’t booked in advance.

The venue was not really meant to welcome so many people and the hall where Ken Middleton, Rosyne and François Charles and Musique83 had their stalls quickly got packed.

The weather was really beautiful outside so I went out for a while to come back for the screening of The Mighty Uke

Read more ...

Let’s follow the ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull to move from Svavar Knútur‘s Iceland to Norway, the land of fjords and godterier (anything sweet that you can eat).

To help you picture beautiful Norwegian landscapes, unspoilt nature, and godterier, here is an ad for Kvikk Lunsj, a popular snack in Norway.

The song used on the ad is Safe Travels from the album Lightness by Texas band Peter and the Wolf. I’d swear there was a ukulele in it. But is there really ?

It’s hard to tell, although  there is definitely a ukulele track on their Lightness album. It is called The Bonsai Tree. Listen to track 8 on this page for a preview of the song.

More landscapes with a different version of the ad (some seconds of ukulele at the end) :

Read more ...

A little more than one month ago, while searching for ukulele videos from around the world,  I stumbled upon a video of Svavar Knútur, an Icelandic folk singer and songwriter who also happens to play the ukulele.

I couldn’t resist the combination of Icelandic language, folk music, ukulele, warm voice and bitter-sweet melancholy songs nurturing my emotions. I bought Svavar Knútur‘s latest album Kvöldvaka and enjoyed it so much that I decided to contact him and request an interview. Svavar very kindly accepted despite being busy touring Australia.

U&L : Where did you discover the ukulele? What appealed to you about it?

Svavar Knútur : I discovered the Ukulele for my own uses in december 2007 in a music store in Denmark Street, London. I wanted to buy a simple but elegant instrument to bring home to Iceland, one that would not require excess baggage, so I decided to try out an ukulele.

Soon after I came home, I had started using the Ukulele a lot at concerts and actually did a very stripped down cover of a beautiful song by one of Iceland’s most famous female songwriters at a memorial concert. The simplicity and elegance of the Ukulele really captivated me and also the beauty of its soft soundscape.

Here is the song Frá Liðnu vori that Svavar Knútur sang as a memorial to Icelandic singer songwriter Bergþóra Árnadóttir.

U&L : The cover of your latest album Kvöldvaka features a drawing of you holding a ukulele

Read more ...

Monthly Archives