Ukulele & Languages

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

Archive for October, 2010

This week’s Ukulele World Tourwill start off in Europe, with a lovely voice from Ireland and a Dutch song by the Uke Box.

Featured as well some excellent ukulele instrumentals from the UK and Japan as well as a live performance from Brazil.

Ever wondered how Nepali singing would combine with the uke ? Today is your chance to find out.

Country: Ireland / Language: English

Kitchen singing with Emily Cole singing Little Kočko.

Just noticed today that a very good live performance of this song had been uploaded so I’ve added it as well.

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Take some American and Spanish poetry from sunny Mexico, add to this a lovely voice from South Africa, a bit of Italian, a dreamy slightly haunting song about a stolen bicycle from the UK (no wonder people go nicking bicycles) , a ukulele song from French band Cocoon , and you should have your fill of ukulele and languages for the weekend.

Country : Mexico / Language: Spanish

Spanish, ukulele and recitation in this video featuring Jorge Guerra performing Mariposa Negra (Black Butterflies), a poem by New Yorker Barbara Joan Schaffer.

The Spanish lyrics to the song are (source : Barbara Joan Schaffer’s website) :

Mariposa negra de mi corazón
te esperaba y sólo llegó
La mariposa negra de mi corazón.

Te esperaba donde te sentaba
tu mano en la mía
escuchando lo que no pudimos decir.

Mariposa negra que vuela sin ver su camino.
Amor de sordomudo
Amor de tacto mudo
Sol oscuro de mi despertar.

The English words to the poem can be found here on Barbara Joan Schaffer’s website.

Country: South Africa / Language : Spanish

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Today I’d like to take a look at the latest fingerstyle videos and include some useful fingerpicking tutorials.

First a really lovely ukulele duo performed by Herman Vandecauter and one of his students. The piece, arranged by Herman, is called Le Rossignol (The Nightingale) and shows how good a teacher he is!

Relax and enjoy this beautiful piece of Renaissance music. If you’d like to learn to play along, Herman has posted the tabs of the first part here.

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This week’s ukulele World Tour will bring heartwarming performances from France with the Stoned Popes and Agathe and Fine. These are welcome to drive away the autumn cold which seems to settle in these days.

We’ll then move on to Australia on the other side of the world with another upbeat song by Mike de Velta and at the same time to discover a lovely original instrumental by Andrew Eyles.

After a little stopover in the UK with an upbeat performance by Gus and Fin, it will be time for us to get our share of foreign languages in this World Tour post with some Indonesian, Ukrainian and Russian.

1. Country: France / Language: English

The Stoned Popes is a French band that I have just discovered. Their song called The Loser Song successfully blends percussions, trumpet, xylophone and ukulele.

Guitar and ukulele duets are of special interest to me now that I have discovered the joy of playing such duos myself.

Agathe & Fine perform a lively duet cover

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Accents are a really fascinating subject for language lovers.  During the year I spent in Northern England for my studies, I was amazed by the variety of British accents and by the fact that British people had problems understanding each other if they were not used to their respective accents and dialects.

I remember the “how will I cope” feeling I had when I attended my first Managerial Ethics lecture given by a Glaswegian. I was however quickly comforted by the fact that British students were as puzzled as myself.

I discovered at that time that it only takes a short amount of time to adjust your ear to different accents. It does require a great deal of concentration at first in order for you to pinpoint exactly what is different from the accent(s) you know, whether it be the rhythm of speech, the melodic pattern, the swallowed consonants or exaggerated vowels sounds or the use of specific regional words.

Knowing my interest in languages and accents, Herman sent me the link to a video of an English student doing 24 different English accents. I think he did very well. Maybe not on all the accents, but some of them are really spot on (spo’ on). What do you think? Is your accent represented? If so do you think it is rather accurate ? Let us know in a comment.

Warning : there is a fair amount of swearing in this video.

If you intend to learn an accent in any language, actress, singer, and director Amy Walker has some very interesting tips in the following two videos.

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