Ukulele & Languages

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

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25 2014

Language post : Shakespeare in Original Pronunciation

A friend of mine pointed me to this great video in which David Crystal, a renowned British linguist and his son, Ben Crystal, actor and writer, explain how Shakespeare‘s plays performed in the accent that was in use at Shakespeare‘s time reveal many puns and jokes that are lost in modern pronunciation. Read more on Original Pronunciation (OP), on David Crystal’s dedicated website.

In this video, you will be able to listen to several excerpts from a few Shakespeare‘s plays in both modern and original pronunciations. Ben Crystal also explains how performing Shakespeare in Original Pronunciation affects his acting. You need not worry, although there are many differences between modern and original pronunciations, you will still be able to understand the plays performed in original pronunciation !

I strongly recommend David Crystal‘s The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, one of my favourite books.

04 2014

Nature and ukulele World Tour

In need for some music to unwind after a stressful week ? How about ukulele videos set in the middle of nature to start the weekend ?

UK band Cardboard CarouselCalliopi McDowell and Richard Dawson perform their song Does Anybody Know ?

26 2014

Ukulele covers in Irish / Gaeilge

Ukulele songs in Irish are extremely rare so I was really pleased when I found this post by Tony on the Uke Ireland blog mentioning a ukulele group from Belfast singing in Irish.

I never would have thought I’d see a Tom Waits song covered in Irish but here is Jockey Full of Bourbon as Gaeilge, played by a grand ukulele trio, Cait Ni Mhurchu, Holly Ni Ghrada and Georoid Mac Lochlainn !

02 2014

Discovering the joys of songwriting on guitar and ukulele

Let me start this post by wishing you all the very best for 2014 ! What better way to start this new year than with something fresh, say songwriting ?

When you’ve been playing covers of songs for a while you will eventually reach a stage where you’d like to try writing your own. The whole process is great fun but not without hurdles. Patience and persistence are your best friends…

One day, an event triggers a creative process in some obscure area of your brain : suddenly, you have a melody in your head, a few words pop out and there you have it, the skeleton of a song… You can choose to ignore it because, when you think of it, turning it into a real song is going to cost you hours and hours unless you’re a real pro. But, if you feel slightly adventurous you will decide to move ahead and try to make something out of it, no matter what.

That’s exactly what Ganymede Gwilym and I did. It all started with a walk in the hillsides that didn’t turn out to be as pleasant as we would have hoped. This inspired me a few words and a melody which I sang to Gwilym. He enjoyed the melody and decided to pick his guitar and try to make out the chords by ear. We used a trial-and-error approach until we were happy with the chords. From there on Gwilym polished up his guitar playing, adding transitions and a nice rhythm to the song. In the meantime I worked on the lyrics and the singing and eventually added the ukulele solo part.

Here is the result, our song Countryside Walk on guitar and ukulele. We hope you’ll enjoy it too !

19 2013

Chinese songs on Ukulele

你好 ! (Ni Hao) Feel like practising Chinese and ukulele today ?

Here are a couple of songs performed by Zhang Songtao.

First, a Cantonese song :

and another song :

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