Ukulele & Languages

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

Posts Tagged ‘interview’

About a month ago, I received a mail from Amelia Robinson, telling me she had been spending several months in Qatar, playing ukulele on the Pearl Qatar, a man-made island in Doha, off the Arabian peninsula.

She had discovered my blog via Ukulelia while I knew of her through one of Al‘s Saturday UKe Tube on Uke Hunt, featuring her hilarious song Swine Flu.

My curiosity was piqued and I decided to interview Amelia in order to find out more about her unique experience on the Pearl Qatar. Reading her vivid and amusing depiction of the place will transport you there in a flash.

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A little more than one month ago, while searching for ukulele videos from around the world,  I stumbled upon a video of Svavar Knútur, an Icelandic folk singer and songwriter who also happens to play the ukulele.

I couldn’t resist the combination of Icelandic language, folk music, ukulele, warm voice and bitter-sweet melancholy songs nurturing my emotions. I bought Svavar Knútur‘s latest album Kvöldvaka and enjoyed it so much that I decided to contact him and request an interview. Svavar very kindly accepted despite being busy touring Australia.

U&L : Where did you discover the ukulele? What appealed to you about it?

Svavar Knútur : I discovered the Ukulele for my own uses in december 2007 in a music store in Denmark Street, London. I wanted to buy a simple but elegant instrument to bring home to Iceland, one that would not require excess baggage, so I decided to try out an ukulele.

Soon after I came home, I had started using the Ukulele a lot at concerts and actually did a very stripped down cover of a beautiful song by one of Iceland’s most famous female songwriters at a memorial concert. The simplicity and elegance of the Ukulele really captivated me and also the beauty of its soft soundscape.

Here is the song Frá Liðnu vori that Svavar Knútur sang as a memorial to Icelandic singer songwriter Bergþóra Árnadóttir.

U&L : The cover of your latest album Kvöldvaka features a drawing of you holding a ukulele

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Today I’m inviting you to Italy where we meet Lorenzo Vignando, aka Ukulollo, who describes himself humorously on his YouTube channel: “I don’t know if I’m a ukulele player who likes movies or a filmaker who likes to play the ukulele…”. Whichever, he certainly is a talented ukulele enthusiast !

Lorenzo was many ukers’ favourite contestant for the Bushman World Ukulele Contest 2009 where he came second and has also been nominated for Uke Hunt‘s 2009 Video of the Year.

He has made quite an impression on the ukulele world with his multiple personality rendition of Ravel‘s Bolero. I have been wondering how much work was necessary to create such a great video and asked Lorenzo a few questions which he very readily answered.

Since we cannot get enough of this video, let’s first watch Ravel‘s Bolero by Ukulollo. Ukulolollo by the way is a one-man band, defined by Lorenzo as “me, myself, lollorpool, krenfilm and other hidden personalities”.

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I have featured quite a few videos of Gawasiman, a ukulelist from Japan who has the knack for arranging Japanese pop music as well as classical pieces for the ukulele.

I have therefore decided to find out a bit more about him and his ukulele arranging. Gawasiman has been most helpful and has even offered to write a lesson for ukulele beginners which you will read about further in this post.

Let’s first get acquainted with his ukulele style with his arrangement of a famous Japanese song called Oyome Samba (お嫁サンバ ):

U&L : I read on your blog that you were playing the guitar, ukulele and bass. How did you discover the ukulele ?

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Update of the 7th of May 2010 : UkuleleSunnyBoy‘s latest EP, Play the Game, is now available on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby.

Today we are escaping to the Alps where we meet Ukulele SunnyBoy from Switzerland, a ukulele player inspired by beautiful Alpine landscapes.

Ukulele SunnyBoy is about to release an album so I decided to ask him  a few questions to find out a bit more about his music and about ukulele playing in Switzerland.


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