Ukulele & Languages

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

Archive for August, 2010

I am just back from my express trip to the Middle Kingdom, totally burnt out after enduring the 6-hour-time difference twice in the last 6 days, and still suffering from motion sickness dizziness several days after being back.

Yet I am really glad to be back in touch with my fellow ukulele bloggers and readers, catching up on all the interesting posts I couldn’t access from China. I found out that my blog fell under the mighty censorship there too. I never realised that my writings were subversive… actually that most ukulele bloggers’ writings were too.

This explains why there has been no Weekly World Tour post last week, much against my will.

Anyhow, my very recently acquired Kala-niño (my Kala pocket uke) has made its pilgrimage to the land where it was made and I was very happy to have it around to fill my sleepless hours with its reassuring presence and joyful sound. I got to know it pretty well during this past week where I really discovered how to adapt my playing to its very small size.

Here it is, sweet and tiny, overlooking the streets of Beijing very early in the morning.

In case you are wondering why motion sickness is such an issue in China, this video should give you a pretty good idea

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By the time you read this, I’ll be somewhere between Lyon and Beijing, on my way for a very short 5-day-trip to China for work. It is quite amusing to think that I am taking my Kala Pocket Mahogany Ukulele back to China where it was produced, safely stored in my hand-luggage.

Besides my Kala Pocket, I have synchronised the 2nd Uke Hunt Podcast to my iPod, and I’ve had to refrain from listening to it for a few days to save it for my ten-hour-flight.

Now, time for the latest World Tour findings.

1. Country : Russia / Language : Russian

The band Ado with Andrei Gorokhov on vocals and ukulele.

2. Country : Ukraine / Venezuelan Waltz

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In my search for language-related videos, I came across Mind Your Language, a British comedy TV series from 1977 which I had never seen before and which I found rather hilarious.

Mr Brown, played by the late British actor Barry Evans, is a young teacher hired in a school for adults to teach English as a Foreign Language to a crowd of students from various horizons and very diverse levels of English.

The series Mind Your Language focuses on stereotypes from different countries as seen from a British perspective, explores multi-cultural interactions between students, which often are a great source of funny misunderstandings.

Student nationalities represented in the season 1 of the series are :
Italy, Germany, China, Japan, India, Greece, Spain, Pakistan and France.

Here is the very first episode of Mind Your Language

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If you’ve been trying to make sense of my posting schedule lately, chances are you didn’t have much luck. I haven’t been completely quiet though and you might have read my interview on Jim D’Ville‘s Play Ukulele by Ear blog.

Jim came up with really interesting questions on the similarities between language learning and ukulele learning and I must say I really enjoyed reflecting on the subject. You can read the interview here. I also discuss my ukulele learning process, the difficulties I encountered and the reason why I started this blog.

Now, let’s get back to our World Tour business. Today I saw a rat outside the window at work and this reminded me that I had seen a few ukulele videos featuring or mentioning rats lately. So we’re on for a Ukulele & Rats World Tour.

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Welcome to this week’s Ukulele World Tour featuring 5 countries and 5 languages.

1. Country: Poland / Language: English

Starting off with a ukulele cover of Summer Wine, a song written by Lee Hazlewood in the late sixties, performed by two Poles.

2. Country: Czech Republic / Language: Czech

Here is a Czech cover of a song taken from the film Báthory

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