Friday Links

This week it’s been very hard to find anything in the ukulele world – the entire internet is a constant stream of that damn kid. Anyhoo, here are a few things that managed to make their way through.

MP3’s: Sophie Madeleine has a collection of covers for download (and she’s heading over to New York), The Stingray Sam soundtrack is now available for download, Indie MP3 has tracks from Eliza Newman.

Daddy Stovepipe has released a blues ukulele ebook and you can watch the associated lessons here.

Acilius has written an extensive review of the DVD of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain’s Prom appearance.

Jake Shimabukuro and Bette Midler entertain the Queen.

I think Taimane Gardner is an incredible player which makes watching and listening to this even more painful.

Rock Hudson on the ukulele.

View Comments

17 Comments

  1. Minamin December 18th, 2009 2:19 pm

    Why are the big Hawaiian ukulele acts so good live, but then so cheesy in the studio? Is there some cultural divide where they think stuff like that Tico Tico video is cool?

  2. Jimmy December 18th, 2009 2:26 pm

    My friend came up to me today and said “Jimmy did you see that guy that played the ukulele at the Queen’s thing”
    And I said “That’s Jake Shimabukuro fool” then proceeded to hit him

  3. Hello Jodi December 18th, 2009 2:28 pm

    Oh my goodness Al: I was “gallery-sitting” for a friend at the open house of an artist studio collective last Saturday. It’s pretty boring just sitting there watching people look at artwork, so I played ukulele. At least half of the people that came in wanted to talk about the ukulele and brought up that video of the kid. And the gallery was all female nudes, so I would generally consider it more compelling. And as far as cute videos go, Surprised Kitty is way better anyway.

  4. Acilius December 18th, 2009 3:05 pm

    Thanks for the mention, Al! Twice in one week, I must be doing something right.

  5. byjimini December 18th, 2009 6:11 pm

    Same here, Jimmy. Half the twon knows I play the uke, and I had them coming into work asking me if I’d seen “this guy” on the tele. Luckily I have my iPhone to hand with his “My Guitar Gently Weeps” video on it to educate them. :P

  6. CharlesHugh December 18th, 2009 9:05 pm

    How does Taimane Gardner get that tremolo effect on the g string whilst she is picking? Love to be able to do that.

  7. CharlesHugh December 18th, 2009 9:11 pm

    She did the monkey. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE3d2GHBuvQ Oh that’s just to cringe worthy.

  8. Ron Hale December 18th, 2009 11:23 pm

    Well, the kid’s I’m Yours has over 6 million views. Buckle up, because this is just beginning. We can pretend that someone like
    Jake or James is our ambassador to the civilian world, but not so. By this kid shall we be known, like it or not. Jake playing for the Queen, pish-tosh, imagine the kid playing and the media frenzy. This kid will spur uke sales more than all of the flying-fingered uber-stars combined ever have or ever will. He has garnered huge amounts of goodwill for the ukulele, and we
    should be glad. We should be sending his videos to
    our civilian friends, not waiting for them to send them to us, and
    we especially should not bad-mouth the kid to civilians and counter the good feelings people are having about our instrument. We can debate the kid amongst ourselves all we want, but we should do nothing that will detract from the great public relations gift that has fallen into our laps so unexpectedly.

    If allowed into the Ukulele Hunt Video of the Year finals (and the civilian world found out – and it would ), I’m Yours would crush any and all “competition” mercilessly, hideously, gruesomely. This kid is a game changer for the ukulele world, a holiday gift for us all. Let’s hope we don’t blow it.

  9. Acilius December 19th, 2009 1:40 am

    @Ron: I’m not sure it’s such a good thing. I fear the general public might be about to get a huge confirmation of all its anti-uke prejudices. Remember the phrase “jump the shark”? That’s my fear, this looks like the shark-jumping moment that ends the current vogue for our favorite instrument. That’s especially likely in the USA, where some good acts have been tainted by association with the country’s least loved talk-show host, Jay Leno.

  10. Aurora F. December 19th, 2009 3:06 am

    I think That Kid is getting so many hits because he’s a funny kid. I think the uke is pretty secondary to his popularity. I suspect that he won’t change how anyone feels about the ukulele for better or worse.

    Taimane Garner, for all her virtuosity, on the other hand…well, at least she’ll never be as popular as That Kid.

  11. Paddy Fleming December 19th, 2009 3:51 am

    I think what Ray has said is definately valid. There would definitely be a tendancy for us, the ukelele lay people, to be somewhat begrudgeing towards any kind of success for any particular ukulele star. The ukulele is intrinsicly eccentric and sits firmly on the pariphery of music society and pop culture. This is a major part of its charm for those who find comfort in it. To comercialise it and make it mainstream would seem to our protective little community a threat to that uniqueness and as such we are very defensive when it comes to standout success.

    Specifically with this case, we like to belittle Jake by calling him “that kid” but it takes a man to take that step outside of the protective little bubble and search for greater success and greater ambition in what he loves doing. If he was some cheesy novelty act, lampooning the likes of George Formby, then there would be cause for concern about “anti-uke prejudices” but what he’s doing is musically sound and focused heavily on the quality over the novelty aspect. If you are going to judge him judge him for his music. Not because he took an opportunity any of us would give our left arm for (although that would be somewhat counterprodutive).

  12. Acilius December 19th, 2009 5:57 pm

    @Paddy: Jake isn’t the kid. It’s a little chap, about four years of age, strumming the ukulele and pretending to sing “I’m Yours.” I envy you for not knowing this.

  13. LonnaB December 19th, 2009 8:39 pm

    Wow, lots of comments about that non-link this week.

    Someone sent a link to that damn kid to me, and I returned the email with a link to my most recent youtube video.

    That’s how I do it. One view at a time, six million here I come! :)

  14. Paddy Fleming December 20th, 2009 12:38 am

    @Acilius: Oh right I see. Yeah I wholeheartedly agree that something like that should be subjected to a most hideous death (not the child obviously) in order to save not just the the reputation of the ukulele but also the human race.

  15. Woodshed December 20th, 2009 2:27 pm

    Minamin: I’d guess there’s quite a lot of money in the cheesy Hawaiian area.

    Jimmy: Harsh but fair.

    Jodi: And hamster on a piano has a similar level of musical merit.

    Acilius: You are.

    Ron: I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be allowed. Although I certainly won’t be voting for it. I’m closer to Acilius in my thinking.

    Aurora: My experience (and I think that of many uke players) is that people certainly do now associate the ukulele with that kid.

    Paddy: My views on the monarchy are somewhere around those of Guy Fawkes, so I certainly wouldn’t give either arm for the opportunity.

    Lonna: Your video is far better anyway.

  16. Paddy Fleming December 20th, 2009 9:00 pm

    I’m from Ireland so it’s in my blood to despise the monarchy with a passion. Still though, that’s a pretty big opportunity.

  17. Tim S December 31st, 2009 2:27 pm

    just a thought from a average lay person who has been trying to learn this wonderfull instrument for a few years now with only modest success. Maybe some people will get interested because if the little guy can do it then maybe they can. Or is that the point instead of gaining interest folks would rather stay a closed off little niche. The boy cant sing yet but he is playing fairly well and isn’t that the goal.

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