Ukulele & Languages

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

Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

Today we’ll explore quite a few traditional songs played on the uke, before moving on to other types of songs from around the world and ending up with a couple of pop/rock ukulele covers and a funny bluesy original song to give you energy for the rest of the weekend.

Country: United-States / Language: English

ErinBev performs a traditional Scottish Folksong from the 18th century, The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond, on a baritone ukulele.

Lyrics and the history of the song. which was first published in 1841, can be found on Wikipedia.

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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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I spent the most memorable of my study years in Hull, in the North-East of England. Some people might be prejudiced and frown at the mention of Hull, but to an exchange student determined not to meet any French people for a full year, Hull was the perfect place to be.

One of the reasons my year in Hull has been so special was that there were students from many different countries of Northern Europe, many of them being as interested in languages as I was. Besides, trying to understand the locals (which was pronounced more like ‘løøcals’) was another endless source of fun, not to mention listening to all of us foreigners trying to imitate the accent. So yeah, it was never dull in Hull, it was f#’ ace !

The student house I lived in was also an excellent playground for a language lover as two of my housemates were from Yorkshire and taught me to pronounce ‘water is boiling in the kettle‘ something like ‘wa’er is boiling in ‘he ke’el‘ as well as many idiomatic Yorkshire niceties.

To travel around the cities of Yorkshire, why not listen to Tony, a Yorkshire ukulele player, singing A Dalesman’ s Litany. Lyrics can be found here.

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The very first fingerpicking e-book that I purchased was Rob MacKillop‘s 20 Celtic Fingerstyle Uke Tunes which I enjoy greatly. Even though I bought the e-book in April, I’m far from finished with it as there are a few challenging pieces that I haven’t even tried to play yet.

In order to find out a bit more about Rob MacKillop, I have asked him a few questions. But first things first, let’s hear him play in this flamencolele, a flamenco improvisation played on a Koloa UK-600 :

U&L : I read on your website that you actually started to play the ukulele at the age of eight then went over to the guitar before coming back to the uke : did your playing the ukulele influence the way you played guitar or did the guitar way take over and influence the way you play the uke now ?

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French culture does not usually leave people indifferent. Whether it be to mock the French accent or laugh at French stereotypes, to rebel against the difficulty of French grammar or to relish its wines and food, the net is full of articles on France and the French.

Today I will be looking at ukulele videos of French songs performed by non-natives.

Here is a very good introduction to French stereotypes and ukulele by the Bobby McGees (Scotland). The very old French song (15th century) he is singing is called Sur le pont d’Avignon. You can find the lyrics and the origins of the song here.

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Take a ukulele trip around the world and discover ukulele songs in many languages!
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