Ukulele & Languages

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

Posts Tagged ‘Iceland’

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 am not sure whether it is the fact that temperatures have been unusually low this week or rather my reading a fascinating book about Norse Mythology but this week’s Ukulele World Tour will be exclusively Scandinavian.

On the menu, a favourite of mine, Svavar Knútur from Iceland, Siri Nilsen singing in Norwegian, some punk uke with Swedish Elvira Bira, a ukulele composition from Denmark by Carsten Knudsen , and a fishy Danish children song by the Kapitalen Klash.

1. Country: Iceland / Language: Icelandic

Most of Svavar Knútur‘s latest videos are guitar videos so I was well pleased to find one featuring the ukulele and even more pleased by the fact that he was singing in Icelandic, a language that really ravishes my ears.

Svavar Knútur is a talented Icelandic folk singer songwriter with a wonderful melancholy voice often singing about Icelandic myths and legends. Read an interview of Svavar Knútur here.

Svavar Knútur singing Mamma at the Melodica Acoustic Festival in Iceland.

2. Country: Norway / Language: Norwegian

Another pleasant find this week is this video of Siri Nilsen and her ukulele

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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

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New web design, new features : quite a few readers expressed their wish to read interviews of ukulele players from around the world. This sounded like a great idea so I’ve sent a few email to see if I would get any responses. I was very pleased to see that I did.

Soffia from Iceland is the first ukulele player to have answered my questions.

U&L : why did you choose to play the ukulele ?
Soffia :
I got my …

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Quite a few non-French natives have taken up the challenge to sing in French as you will see in today’s selection.

Haagendazs34 from the United States is singing a medley of three rather recent French songs : Ma soeur/Femme like U (Donne moi ton corps)/La lettre. I believe she really loves French because it is hard enough to sing one song in another language but a meddley of three, that’s adding to the difficulty!

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