Ukulele & Languages

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

Archive for February, 2010

Thanks to Al from Uke Hunt, I now have a new language to add to the world tour ukulele collection.

The video features a band called Abdul Khan and the Projections performing a song called Munki Bhat. Abdul Khan is from Pakistan and moved to the UK in 1963. He has only recently formed a band with Andrew Hodson who plays the ukulele. The musical style Abdul Khan sings in is called Ghazal which describes a poetic form consisting of rhyming verses and a refrain with each line sharing the same meter (Wikipedia).

The other members of the band are Andrew Daly on keyboards, Kevin Roach on guitar, Julie Peake on cello, Norman Knight on bass and Juju on percussions.

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That settles it : I can’t take more snow! Let’s spin the globe and find a warmer destination…. Right, give me time to pack my suitcases, hop on a flight ! Today we’re headed for Brazil ! Who’s coming along ?

Firstly, a bit of samba with Brazilian pop singer Marisa Monte‘s warm and rich voice in her hit Universo Ao Meu Redor

A few _ too few _ Brazilian ukulele videos have cropped up thanks to Marcelo Silva‘s Brazilian Ukulele Contest over on Ukulele Brasil.

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Today is the start of yet another winter weekend with the hills covered in snow and the temperature outside stuck below zero degrees Celsius. Perfect weather for checking film and video games soundtracks played on the ukulele and for learning how to play some of them.

Let’s start with a cover of Guaranteed by Eddie Vedder, from the  soundtrack  of the 2007 film Into the Wild by Ukejohnhenry.

Update of the 13th of Feb : the YouTube account of Ukejohnhenry is now closed which is a shame because his cover of Guaranteed was nice.  Hope you’ve been quick enough to catch a glimpse of the video! I hope he’s not been a victim of copyright claims.

Al Woodshed plays the Coronation Street theme. His arrangement is available on Uke Hunt here.

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Herman Vandecauter has been very kind to create two videos explaining how to play rasgueado on the ukulele. Rasgueado means ‘strummed’ in Spanish but it is also used to describe a flamenco strumming technique designed originally for the guitar.

Although this technique might look dead simple when you watch Herman play it, it does take a while to get it right. I’ve only just started to learn the technique  and the first time I tried to play a rasgueado, I think I got the worst sound ever out of my Fluke. I even feared I’d break my strings.

Don’t worry too much if you feel like your brain doesn’t manage to control your fingers. It does get better with practice. Herman recommends practising rasgueado against a piece of cardboard first as demonstrated in his first video :

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My knowledge of Japan and Japanese is rather thin and basically amounts to being able to count to ten in Japanese, which anybody having practiced a Japanese martial art for some time should be able to do.

Add to this a couple of verses from the Ponyo theme song I learnt thanks to Keonepax‘s lovely ukulele version and you’ll know exactly how little I know.

Today’s Japanese ukulele findings will enable us to visit Asakusa, in Taitō, a …

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