Ukulele & Languages

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

Ukulele from China, 烏克麗麗

22 2009

The Chinese word for Ukulele looks fascinating : 烏克麗麗 . I wonder how long it would take me to try and write it on paper ! If you have any idea what the various Chinese ideograms composing the word ukulele are, I’d love to hear from you !

Anyhow, by means of an introduction, this short Chinese ukulele greeting song :

Next comes a cover of a very popular song by Malaysian Chinese singer Fish Leong, performed by messyhair playing both the flute and the ukulele : 小手拉大手.

Update : Al tells me that the original song is by Japanese Ayano Tsuji and is called Kaze Ni Naru in Japanese. So this video is a cover of an adaptation of the song in Chinese. The good news is that if you like this song, Al has done the chords for it on Uke Hunt.

Same song with a male voice, just to prove how popular this song is :

Finally, a Chinese love song called 烏克麗麗_哼情歌 (Ukulele Hum song)


Looking for ukulele songs from a specific country? Try entering the name of the country in the search field at the top right of this page.

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10 Comments »

  1. Al on the 22nd of November 2009 @ 20:19

    I think the song in the second and third videos was originally Japanese and written by Ayano Tsuji – not 100% sure about that.

  2. Armelle Europe on the 22nd of November 2009 @ 21:01

    Al : looks like you are right! Thanks for the info ! I’ve updated the post.
    The Chinese title of the song translates as “Small Hand holds Big Hand” and I found information about it here :
    http://fishmandiary.blogspot.com/2007/10/small-hand-holding-big-hand.html

  3. messyhair on the 17th of August 2010 @ 19:18

    hey! i stumbled onto here by accident, great site btw!

    im messyhair, from the second video and im from singapore! (not china)
    nonethless, our ancestors were from china, and we speak chinese, but i love singapore :)

    thanks! sarah

  4. Armelle Europe on the 17th of August 2010 @ 19:39

    messyhair: Sarah, thanks for stopping by and for correcting my mistake! Glad you liked the site.

    I did feature you in more recent posts and I got your country right in this one :)
    http://ukulelelanguages.com/ukulele-world-tour/ukulele-songs-from-korea-singapore-and-china/

    Keep uploading ukulele videos!

  5. eX-tremes on the 19th of June 2011 @ 02:40

    Do you know the ukulele brand of the 3th youtube, I like it the sound and tried to check the brand name but can’t see it clearly.

  6. Armelle Europe on the 21st of June 2011 @ 21:45

    eX-tremes: it’s too hard to tell the brand of the uke on the 3rd video. Maybe you could try contacting the guy who did the video via YouTube.

  7. Ken Li on the 19th of July 2011 @ 19:43

    For your information:
    The words “烏克麗麗” in Chinese means – “Black Beauty”

  8. Armelle Europe on the 19th of July 2011 @ 20:53

    Ken Li : thanks a lot for the information. Google Translate has trouble translating the words correctly.

  9. limsumin on the 10th of October 2012 @ 06:09

    烏克麗麗
    Four Chinese words with the right sound: Homonyms
    Wū kè lì lì = Ukelele!

    The idiogram 烏 is a picture of a bird! and is used for crow, by extension anything black.

    克 is the word used for “gramme”or “overcome” and is used just for the sound of the word.

    麗= pretty

  10. Armelle Europe on the 10th of October 2012 @ 09:01

    @limsumin : Thank you very much for this detailed explanation about the word ukulele in Chinese. It always amazes me that to transcribe foreign word into Chinese, you use a combination of ideograms reproducing the sound of the foreign word rather than the meaning.

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