Ukulele & Languages

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

Archive for November, 2010

I have featured a cool video of  Les Poupées Gonflées in one of my Weekly Ukulele World Tour post before and when I saw that they were about to release an album in which the ukulele played an important part, I set out to interview Valérie Charlot, the ukulele player in the band. Valérie seems to be seriously smitten by UAS (Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome).

Version française de l’interview des Poupées Gonflées ici.

Here is my translation of the interview. To read the original version in French, click here.

U&L: How was the band Les Poupées Gonflées formed? Can you introduce the different band members?

Valérie: Les Poupées Gonflées have been around for a year and a half but I started writing songs in the Poupées Gonflées style about 2 years ago. After writing my first originals, I started looking for accomplices!

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Ouille aïe aïe!

Voici la version française (et originale) de l’interview de Valérie Charlot, l’ukuléliste des Poupées Gonflées. To read the English version of the interview, click here.

U&L: Comment est né le groupe Les Poupées Gonflées et peux-tu présenter les différentes membres du groupe et les instruments dont chacune joue?

Valérie: Les Poupées Gonflées existent depuis un an et demi, mais j’ai commencé à écrire dans ‘l’esprit  Poupées’ il y a deux ans

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Today multi-string-instrumentalist Herman Vandecauter from Belgium discusses the importance of using the little finger when playing the ukulele and illustrates his point with an exercise for ukuleles in GCEA tuning which you can hear and download further in this post.

Here is what Herman says :

I am always impressed when I see good left hand technique on the ukulele. I attach the greatest possible importance on the use of the fourth finger (the little finger or pinky) of the left hand, so often neglected.
Your little finger can become extremely flexible and fast if trained in the right manner.

The 4th finger should be your first choice when you reach the third fret of the first string.

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Stealing ukuleles seem to have been a world occupation this week as it made the news both in New-Zealand and in Norway.

The Dominion Post in New-Zealand reports how a youth smashed his way into a Wellington music shop only to steal a ukulele worth $200.

On the other side of the world, Siri Nilsen from Norway reported that she had been assaulted in the centre of Oslo yesterday and that her precious Kala thin body ukulele was stolen.

Lillebjørn Nilsen‘s (Siri Nilsen‘s father) pictures of the stolen ukulele and its case.

And now for this week’s musical world tour…

Country: France / Language: French

This video has to come first in this post as it provides an excellent transition with my previous post on the international language of swearing, if only because of the sense of humour of a French ukulele band who have called themselves Le CUL (the arse).

Le CUL (Collectif d’Ukulélé Lillois) performing Le Museau Qui Tremble .

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I find the subject of swearing extremely fascinating from a language lover’s point of view. When you travel abroad to a country speaking a different language than yours, swearwords are among the first words you pick up as they are overwhelmingly present in nowadays everyday life.

The way those swearwords are used and combined with ‘regular’ language reveal  a lot about the culture of a country, especially when you start looking at their etymology.

Warning : As the subject of

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