Ukulele & Languages

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

Black butterflies from Mexico, Tristram, Cocoon : Weekly Ukulele World Tour

24 2010

Take some American and Spanish poetry from sunny Mexico, add to this a lovely voice from South Africa, a bit of Italian, a dreamy slightly haunting song about a stolen bicycle from the UK (no wonder people go nicking bicycles) , a ukulele song from French band Cocoon , and you should have your fill of ukulele and languages for the weekend.

Country : Mexico / Language: Spanish

Spanish, ukulele and recitation in this video featuring Jorge Guerra performing Mariposa Negra (Black Butterflies), a poem by New Yorker Barbara Joan Schaffer.

The Spanish lyrics to the song are (source : Barbara Joan Schaffer’s website) :

Mariposa negra de mi corazón
te esperaba y sólo llegó
La mariposa negra de mi corazón.

Te esperaba donde te sentaba
tu mano en la mía
escuchando lo que no pudimos decir.

Mariposa negra que vuela sin ver su camino.
Amor de sordomudo
Amor de tacto mudo
Sol oscuro de mi despertar.

The English words to the poem can be found here on Barbara Joan Schaffer’s website.

Country: South Africa / Language : Spanish

More Spanish language with a cover of the Gipsy Kings performed on guitar and ukulele. Lovely vocals by Mitelene.

Lyrics and their English translation can be found here.

Country : Italy / Language : Italian

Italians are world-renowned for talking with their hands. So much so that ukulele player Fabio Koryu has written a song called Una Mano (a Hand).

For an Italian’s view of Italian stereotypes, including body language, check this article.

A demonstration of  Italian dexterity with Rockindiego playing The Godfather Theme

Country: United-Kingdom / Language: English

Different corner of the world, different style of music, Tristram performs Ballad of a Stolen Bicycle.

Read about Tristram here.

Country: France / Language: English

Popular French band Cocoon who became famous with their ukulele song Chupee is releasing a new album tomorrow, titled Where the Ocean Ends.

I found this acoustic version of one of the songs from the album, called Sea Lion. I hope there’ll be a few other ukulele tracks on Where the Ocean ends.

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.

To see all the posts for a specific country, click on the appropriate flag on the sidebar (flags are sorted in alphabetical order).


  1. Al on the 24th of October 2010 @ 21:24

    I don’t know how South Africans came to be singing in Spanish but I’m glad they did. That one was lovely.

  2. craig robertson on the 24th of October 2010 @ 23:33

    Thanks for these, Armelle.

    The real find this month is Mitelene. A pretty girl who plays ukulele (not unusual) but sings a song by the Gypsy Kings…ah.

    and has a Chihuahua.

  3. Armelle Europe on the 25th of October 2010 @ 18:32

    Al: Glad you liked my first South-African video on the blog.
    She is mentioning something about Argentina at the beginning of the video so there is a possibility that she has Argentinean origins. Just a guess.

    Craig: Somehow I wouldn’t have thought the Gipsy Kings would be your kind of music, but what do I know… Glad you enjoyed!

  4. Craig Robertson on the 25th of October 2010 @ 18:51

    Armelle: I love the Gipsy Kings. They sing very passionately. While it’s not music I would play, I like it when they do.

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