Sunday, August 10, 2008

Missing a big one in Ukulele Land

Allen Salkin's New York Time's article about the growing interest in the ukulele is a great Sunday morning reading...

Suddenly there’s something irresistible again about ukuleles. What Ms. Kwok stumbled into is an international voraciousness for all things having to do with the tiny four-string instrument. From wildly popular Web videos to car commercials and concert stages, the ukulele, born in Hawaii more than a century ago, is gently plunking heartstrings everywhere.

Yes, Jake Shimabukuru is freakin' amazing. But Salkin's overview of the uke scene makes a glaring, unforgivable mistake in overlooking the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

My wife Kathy found the UOGB on YouTube several months ago while searching for a performance of the theme from "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. " These people are serious musicians, great uke players, and wildly, hysterically entertaining. I'm amazed that they haven't shown up on American TV. (But then, who needs TV?) Their performance of that old movie theme still makes me laugh, and I must have watched it a hundred times. But see for yourself...



The ukulele is indeed, as Salkin observes, a smile-inducing instrument, and the members of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain wield that power to wonderful effect. If they ever come to the Cleveland area, I'll be first in line for tickets.


No comments: