As much as I enjoyed Bust Magazine’s uku-ladies, there was a glaring omission. Writing about female ukers and not mentioning Bliss Blood is like listing the chalcogens and not mentioning tellurium – unforgivable.
Bliss Blood sings in a dizzying array of retro-groups including The Cantonement Jazz Band and Delta Dreambox along with guest appearances with the likes of Angels of Light. As wonderful as these groups are, the real thrill is seeing her busting out the uke with The Moonlighters or on her lonesome (such as in these recent videos on MUD filmed in front of the tomb of Rustie Lee). Since forming in 1998, they have become something of an NY fixture and they have even, thanks to their foot-long necks and monocles, been immortalised in New Yorker cartoon form.
The Moonlighters recreate the music made in the 20s and 30s by mainland US musicians influenced by Hawaiian music. I find the music created when two cultures mix to be fascinating. Many of the greatest musical genres arose a decade or so after guitars entered a culture (blues, African rhumba and, indeed, Hawaiian music). The mixture of ragtime/early jazz bands and Hawaiian music certainly produced its share of great songs which The Moonlighters perform beautifully. Many of the songs they play are penned by Blood but you wouldn’t notice as they fit in seamlessly.
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