Ukulele & Languages

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

Alpine Ukulele from Switzerland : an interview with Ukulele SunnyBoy

26 2010

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.


U&L : Which part of Switzerland are you from ?

Ukulele SunnyBoy : In Switzerland, we have four regions with different languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. I come from the German speaking part of Switzerland. My Hometown is Solothurn, which is situated between Bern and Zurich.

U&L :  I read on your MySpace that you have studied Classical guitar. How did you come to the ukulele and how long have you been playing it ?

Ukulele SunnyBoy : As I began to study classical guitar in 1992, I started to give lessons at the school of music in my hometown. I also taught children how to play the ukulele. That’s how I began to love the sound of this instrument. I realized that its sound inspired me to create melodies and songs. So I began to record these ideas at home in my studio.

Kahi Blues, an original ukulele Blues by Ukulele SunnyBoy

U&L : You have a new album coming out soon. Will that be a ukulele-only album ? How would you describe your music ?

My new album will contain pieces for ukulele solo and also songs accompanied by other acoustic istruments. I would describe my music as folk or acoustic. For the first time, I recorded a song together with the young and talented swiss-australian singer/songwriter Lara Penfold who has a incredible voice and a great talent to write wonderful songs.

For You, a single from the future album.

U&L :  Many of your videos are shot outside in the mountains. Are the moutains a great source of inspiration for you ?

Ukulele SunnyBoy : Yes, indeed. I like to hike with my dog Dinka through the mountains and forests. In the mountains, far away from civilisation, I can feel the power of « mother earth ». It’s both inspiration and energy. For my music and also for my life. Sometimes, when the weather is sunny, I take my ukulele and the cam with me. And when I find a inspiring place, I sit down and I try to record a video.

Here is an example, with Mountain Rag, a ukulele original recorded in the Austrian Alps.

U&L : Are you subject to UAS (Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome) ? How many ukuleles do you own and what brand are they ?

I am infected indeed ;-) My newest and also my favourite ukulele is a Koaloha Tenor. I just love the sound of this one. I own the following ukuleles.

Soprano :

-Brücko (Made in Germany, solid mahagony)

-Tenessee (Made in Germany )

-Coronna (Made in Portugal, solid accacia)

-Kala Flame Maple Longneck Soprano

Concert :

-Kanile’a K-1 C DLX (Made in Hawaii, solid koa)

-Koalana (Made in Asia, solid koa)

Tenor :

– Pono PKT-2 (Made on the Island of Java, solid koa)

-Koaloha (Made in Hawaii, solid koa)

Baritone :

-Brüko (Made in Germany, solid mahagony)

U&L : Do you sometimes play with other ukulele players ?

I sometimes play with my wife Gabi. But only for pleasure. We played at a funeral once. I decided to play the ukulele instead of the guitar. The mourning guests found our music very comforting.

In Switzerland, unfortunately the ukulele has no tradition. In some schools children only learn to play the ukulele before playing the guitar. I never discovered a CD with ukulele music in a CD-Store. Furthermore in our music stores, you’ll find only cheap ukuleles for kids. There are no professional instruments to buy.

Ukulele SunnyBoy‘s first album Made of Wood can be purchased on iTunes or on cdbaby here.

Subscribe to Ukulele SunnyBoy‘s YouTube channel.

Listen to more music from Ukulele SunnyBoy on his MySpace.

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  1. Ron Hale on the 27th of January 2010 @ 00:35

    Yes, yes, he can play the ukulele, but
    can he yodel? Al would have asked him that.

  2. Ukulele Lover on the 27th of January 2010 @ 09:13

    Aloha there. Hey your Kahi Blues sounds great. In the beginning it sounded like you were going to cover Spinal Tap’s ‘Gimme Some Money’, haha. I’m glad I was wrong. I really like the pace at which you play it — I find many people get caught up in the uke and speed everything up. You’ve shown there a good example of how speed doesn’t matter. Well done!

    ps — nice Pono tenor

  3. Armelle Europe on the 27th of January 2010 @ 18:14

    Ron : Would he really ? Well, I am not Al.

  4. Al on the 27th of January 2010 @ 21:02

    I don’t think I would have asked him that. Armelle does much better interviews than my anyway.

  5. Ukulele Sunnyboy on the 27th of January 2010 @ 21:45

    Hi Ron
    Unfortunately I can’t yodel. If I could yodel, I could sing and if I could sing, I would sing…

    Hi Ukulele Lover
    Thanks for your kind words. It’s possible, that the beginning sounds like “Gimme Some Money”. I don’t know this song, for me, it sounds like a very traditional blues riff.

  6. Ernst Sticher on the 21st of February 2011 @ 20:33

    Hey, ich finde deine Videos besonders schön, vor allem die Aufnahmen in den Bergen!

    Gruss von einem anderen Ukulele- Banjo- und Gitarrenplayer!


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