Ukulele & Languages

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

Posts Tagged ‘Uke’

A lot of my fingerpicking ukulele learning process has been about setting myself some challenges which were reasonably difficult for me to make some progress but not completely out of my league.

After 8 months of ukulele fingerpicking, both learning via Skype with Herman Vandecauter and working things out myself, here is a reflection on the things that worked for me.

1. Liking a piece

First and foremost, and mostly because the amount of time I can dedicate to my ukulele learning process is rather restricted, it is absolutely essential for me to work on pieces that I choose myself.
This is a crucial motivational factor : if I like a piece, I’ll be very intent on learning it.

2. Finding a piece that reflects your emotions

In addition to liking a piece, it has to be in accordance with my emotions.

Music is an important vector of emotions so if I feel melancholy, chances are I’ll be much better at playing John Dowland arrangements rather than say, a lively Spanish tune. On the contrary, if I feel joyful, I’ll be glad to work on Irish reels or other upbeat pieces.

3. How should the piece sound ?

Once I’ve chosen a piece I like that reflects my state of mind, I move on to the next step which is to figure out how the piece should sound when played properly.

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Today in several countries of the world, it is Sinterklaas (St Nicholas). In the Netherlands, Zwarte Piet (Black Peter), Sinterklaas’ helper, has helped Sinterklaas deliver presents to children who have been good while he has filled his huge bag with nasty kids. The legend says that Zwarte Piet takes children who have been bad to Spain. I think I wouldn’t mind being very bad, I would love to travel to Spain!

With these early Christmas celebrations taking place, it is …

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Interviewing Al aka Woodshed, the webmaster from Ukulele Hunt, also described as the world’s handsomest ukulele blogger, had to be very special for three main reasons :

Uke Hunt is my absolute favourite ukulele blog.

– I have a lot of respect for Al, for his tireless contribution to the ukulele community, for having managed to make a living out of something he was really passionate about. I also love his writing style, his sharp sense of humour and extreme use of self-derision. And I admire his outstanding ukulele skills.

Al has been very inspirational and helpful and it is partly thanks to him that this very blog has taken shape.

Since I am no match for Al‘s wit, what better introduction than to ask him if there was something he would like to be asked about ?

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Of all ukulele players (English-speaking players aside), Japanese ukulele players have been the most active in the past month, with many new YouTube uploads of ukulele songs in Japanese. Enough videos to hold a small Japanese Uke Tube while we are all impatiently waiting for Al from Uke Hunt to come back from his break.

Let’s start with this live performance from Taka & Nyaomi at a summer festival, performing one of their own songs.

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It’s always when you stop looking that things come your way…
Today’s ukulele find is really great for me : a traditional Irish song called Siúil a Rúin.The timing is perfect with the first International Irish Ukulele Festival being held this coming weekend (15th-16th of August) in Dublin. Find out all the details here.

The song is in English with an Irish chorus and tells about the sadness felt after the departure of a beloved one who has gone to France. I really like this cover of the song, it brings back some memories of my time in Ireland. She who sings has this _in my view_ very typical “acidulated” voice that suits Celtic songs so well.

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You’ve chosen to learn to play the ukulele. Read interviews of skilled ukulele players and find out about tips they are giving. See posts on useful tutorials and links.
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