Ukulele Video of the Year 2009: Vote

UPDATE: The poll is now closed.

After totting up the nominations, here are the 10 nominees for this year’s award:

Ukulollo – Ravel’s Bolero
Ukulelezo – Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun
uke3453 – ma-i-na-ku-ma-na
U900 – Diamond Head
tUnE-YaRdS – Hatari
Dent May – Love Song 2009
Sophie Madeleine – Take Your Love With Me
John King and James Hill – Larry O’Gaff
Todd Baio (doogey9) – I’m a Uke-aholic
Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer – Chap Hop History

You only get one vote, so use it wisely. I still haven’t made my mind up – although I have safely eliminated one of them.

Vote here (you’ll have to visit the blog if you’re reading this by email or in a feed reader).

[poll id=”4″]

Voting ends Tuesday 9th February (midnight Hawaii time).

View Comments


  1. Tad February 3rd, 2010 6:53 pm


  2. newbie February 3rd, 2010 7:33 pm

    Uhg, democracy doesn’t work!
    (not a fan of pretty girls with heavenly voices playing simple chords, sorry)

  3. CharlesHugh February 3rd, 2010 9:04 pm

    Oh I wonder who you could have ruled out so quickly…hmm.

  4. Woodshed February 3rd, 2010 9:32 pm

    Tad: Correct.

    newbie: The list was drawn up democratically and I think it’s very diverse. And it’s a bit soon to be declaring a winner.

    CharlesHugh: Yes, I’m sure you can guess.

  5. Woodshed February 3rd, 2010 9:34 pm

    ChalesHugh: I’ve just noticed, he’s the only one with no votes. I love my hard-core readers.

  6. Acilius February 3rd, 2010 9:58 pm

    Most of them are excellent, but two stand far above the rest as far as I’m concerned. Those are Sophie Madeleine on the one hand and John King and James Hill on the other. I voted for one of those.

  7. Jimmy February 3rd, 2010 10:39 pm

    It was a tough choice between James Hill and John King, two of my favourite players, and Ukulelezo who is quite amazing. But the Beastie Boys won it for one of them.
    Newbie are you saying that the majority of votes didn’t vote for the winner because I never understood that idea

  8. Woodshed February 3rd, 2010 10:39 pm

    Acilius: Those two make up 2/3s of the videos I’m currently considering bestowing my vote on (the other is tune-yards).

  9. Dan February 3rd, 2010 10:59 pm

    I went with King/Hill even though it’s not my usual cup of tea. The talent displayed there is just too amazing.

    I actually think that Ukulelezo’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” cover was her best of the year. I wish I had remembered that video in time to nominate it.

  10. Woodshed February 3rd, 2010 11:16 pm

    Jimmy: Ukulelezo was my brother’s choice as well. I think newbie was complaining about Sophie Madeleine being in the lead.

    Dan: That video is an incredible display, no arguments here.

  11. zym February 3rd, 2010 11:25 pm

    I nominated and picked the winner for the past two years. Didnt get my shit together this year :(

    i’ll have to study the form before i cast my vote

    Either way, spectacle wearing ukuladies and facial-hair wearing ukumen are already the true winners in my eyes ;)

  12. Ron Hale February 3rd, 2010 11:26 pm

    Newbie is dead-on correct and has absolutely no
    need to apologize. Given some of these choices, anyone
    criticizing you-know-who should seriously rethink.

  13. Woodshed February 3rd, 2010 11:33 pm

    zym: Spectacle wearing men seem to be doing quite well for themselves as well. (I treasure my testicles too much to ever make a joke about a lady’s facial hair).

    Ron: I don’t think anyone was demanding an apology. (And I’m not sure who).

  14. cardboardfrog February 4th, 2010 12:29 am

    spent a long time debating as to whether to vote for todd or Mr B, not an easy descision.

  15. Hello Jodi February 4th, 2010 3:36 am

    A lot of these were ones I hadn’t seen before – I don’t pay close enough attention apparently. I’ve enjoyed all of these – especially that ukulollo. I’m pretty sure I’d drink that man’s bathwater. Sophie has been replaced: I have a new ukulele player to be obsessed with.

  16. PaulC February 4th, 2010 9:31 am

    I hadn’t seen that tUnE YaRdS video before. I had been leaning towards Mr B but, as much as I appreciate killer covers, I definitely have more love for phenomenal originality!

  17. Frottom February 4th, 2010 10:35 am

    Ah yes, life’s so much easier when you’re a pretty girl.

  18. JCMcGee February 4th, 2010 12:05 pm

    Well, we’ve gotta rule out all the covers on the ground that they are covers and therefore have little of merit other than wankery….which rules out the best video which is clearly and without doubt Mr B.*

    The U900 one is ace, but it looks like it was made by a professional studio, probably a TV company…so is it fare to judge it next to the others?

    Todd’s song is really just a 12 bar blues and isn’t very funny. if he’d have done his homework he’d have found “With my little ukulele in my hand”

    Dent May is still just an ugly ball-less Magnetic Fieldz thief.

    Tune tards looks promising, when she stops trying to have this quirky stuff and just writes a song I’m expecting it to be quite good…going to see her live soon which I’m looking forward to.

    That leaves Sophie…she is very pretty isn’t she? And she has a beautiful voice. Simple chords? That is a plus point when writing songs…anyone can sit in their bedroom working out jazz runs on dminished progressions…very very few people can write beautiful songs….
    Simple? Jeez, the world was changed forever with 3 chords and a good song**….the most beautiful ukulele song of last year had only 2 chords (I know, I wrote it)

    I’d give my vote to Sophie, but she’s from my home town and that’d be favoritism! (This year I’d like to see her make a “video” rather than “simply” a video recording of a song…I have a few ideas, but I’d prob’ get slapped, banned & possibly arrested)

    Soooo….let’s go with that mad little kid and pretend that because we don’t speak whatever crazy language he’s singing in that we don’t know it’s a cover!…and anyway his playing is better than 90% of the others anyway..and it’s a cute video!

    As I believe we say now: uke3453 FYW!

    * I’m not calling James/John or Mr B wankers!
    **…and yes, I know…it was probably also a cover!

  19. Allison February 4th, 2010 6:48 pm

    So hard to choose! Toss-up between:

    Ukulollo, tUnE-YaRdS, Mr B & Dent May!

  20. mictoboy February 4th, 2010 7:45 pm


    i like almost all of them, but for completeley different reasons. there are a few that are equally as good as each other. I have voted, but i have also changed my mind at least twice


  21. ida giadone February 4th, 2010 11:39 pm

    As a newbie to ukeworld, it would seem hands-down favorite should be John for his pure mastery. It takes genius to make beautiful music, & make it look effortless.

  22. Rob NY February 5th, 2010 12:33 pm

    Tough choice. I went with ukulollo.

  23. Woodshed February 5th, 2010 12:39 pm


    Jodi: Eww!

    Paul: I have a preference towards original songs as well – in most cases.

    Frottom: I often think that. But it does come with its own problems.

    Jimmy: I have to take issue with your first statement. There are plenty of cover versions around that are far more inventive than many of the original songs I hear.

    Great performers can do things way beyond the song itself. There’s an art to performing as well as writing.

    I don’t think U900 are a TV company product. I’ll have to interview whoever is behind them. I don’t know much about them.

    Allison: Good luck deciding.

    mictoboy: It is hard to compare such diverse stuff.

    ida: Well chosen words.

  24. Woodshed February 5th, 2010 12:40 pm

    Rob: Don’t blame you. It’s musically and visually excellent. I can’t believe he didn’t win Bushman.

  25. Nick B-C February 5th, 2010 1:13 pm

    …Voted…It was tough…I liked some lots…some not so much…I’ll leave it at that…no hubristic outbursts…no finger pointing…no need…it’s not very attractive and it whiffs of sour grapes…

  26. milko February 5th, 2010 2:46 pm

    U900! It’s the best video. I take these things literal so no amount of praise for songwriting or uke-mastery will dissuade me.

  27. milko February 5th, 2010 2:46 pm

    also those li’l guys are super-cute.

  28. Ian Emmerson February 5th, 2010 2:49 pm

    Has to be Mr B for me, although John King is amazing and that Bolero is pretty spectacular too. I also found ukulelezo pretty darned impressive, and I was prepared not to, because I usually switch off at the first sign of ‘pretty, but slightly kookie girl with ukulele.’

    In videos, I like good stuff, whether it’s original material or not. Blindly dismissing everything that isn’t original suggests you’d accept any old rubbish over a really imaginative reinterpretation. There’s some very poor original material out there. It isn’t all gold.

    Al in all though, a varied and excellent crop.

    I’m going to knock you aaahhhhhhhttttt!

    I x

  29. Hello Jodi February 5th, 2010 5:23 pm

    I don’t care what you think, Al. I’m pretty sure he has the same effect on me as Zoe seems to have on every man. That accent is seriously making me melt.

  30. Paul February 5th, 2010 5:28 pm

    Mr B for me. Tough choice as there was only one entry that wasn’t great.

  31. J-Hob February 5th, 2010 10:13 pm

    My vote went to Mr B, nice concept really well executed – both music and video. There were some other good uns there too, but Mr B gets my point.

  32. Howlin' Hobbit February 6th, 2010 9:02 am


    I’ve seen some of them before and some I’m watching for the first time.

    tUnE-YaRdS vid is great. The song itself is pants.

    The little kid? Puhleaze!

    Dent May is at his usual level (very high) but he’s beginning to feel like a one trick pony.

    That still leaves a lot of good stuff. It made it *very* hard to choose. Finally, I voted with my heart.

    P.S. Hello Jodi — Fabulously sexy as you are, if you ever invite me out for a drink, please forgive me if I decline. But you’re right on the one thing, Zoe does makes me all jello.

  33. Bossarocker February 6th, 2010 12:39 pm

    What am amazing shortlist. With the exception of one highly annoying brat, I’m really impressed with the high standard of tunes. There were a few new ones to me too so that was a nice treat. However, it came down to two for me: Tune Yards & Mr B. In the end, I voted for Mr B but I was very, very torn. He deserves it though, great execution & his strumming is to die for, tight as a duck’s arse. And let’s face, he is just so terribly British, what…

    I absolutely LOVE ukulelezo but don’t think the song here is one of her best. I can’t stand Dent May & I’m starting to wonder what all the fuss is about now everyone’s got over the initial “yay, another uke player” joy. Sophie just doesn’t do it for me – I see why everyone loves her & I think her songs are well crafted & well sung/played but it’s a bit too sweet & sickly for me.

  34. Steve Provost February 6th, 2010 2:00 pm

    Wow! There are some tough choices here. All are very good in one way or another. I do like pretty girls with sweet voices playing ukes and I really love the blues! ( I play bluzalele…). However, my vote went to the video that displayed the most talented player (IMHO) – King and Hill. Uh, like King Of The Hill?

  35. Woodshed February 6th, 2010 6:52 pm

    Nick: Very fair minded of you.

    milko: There’s no lack of creativity in that video, that’s for sure.

    Ian: I’d say Mr B is definitely the most entertaining on the list.

    Jodi: As much as I like Zoe, I still wouldn’t drink her bath water.

    Paul: Agreed on the one entry thing.

    J-Hob: I didn’t nominate Mr B myself but I can certainly see the appeal.

    Hobbit: Congratulations on bothering to write tune-yards properly. I can’t be bothered most of the time.

    Bossarocker: Don’t get me started on being British = being upper class.

    Steve: I’ve finally made my decision and I’ve gone with King and Hill as well. Doesn’t look like they’re in with a shot, but still.

  36. Howlin' Hobbit February 6th, 2010 7:02 pm

    Woodshed — Type? Try “copy/paste”. :-)

  37. Bossarocker February 6th, 2010 10:13 pm

    Woodshed: you mean you’re not?? I’m bathing in champagne as I write this.

  38. kennedy February 6th, 2010 10:24 pm

    I think that all of the videos are notable, and most show excellent musicianship and talent.

    Part of what made choosing difficult was that the contest is for video – which to me means a bit more execution than sitting in fromt of a camera and playing. Nothing wrong with sitting and playing, but the video media allows a whole lot more, so I gave a bit more weight to the vids that showed a theme to use the media as well as playing a song.

    I also agree that for many of the choices, they aren’t representative of the artists’ best. IMO, Sophie Madeline, Ukeleleozo, and Dent May have better stuff out.

    I originally dismissed Dent May as being ‘whiney’ upon first listen, but I do now own his album. I also consider Neil Young and FDR (Felix McTeague) as ‘whiney’ singers; just something different that may take getting used to.

    I usually dismiss the ‘classical guitar’ style artists like John King despite their sometimes enormous talent. I researched more videos of him as a result of this entry, though, and I’m a definite fan now. Sad to know that he’s gone.

  39. Woodshed February 7th, 2010 12:45 pm

    kennedy: I think the ‘sitting down and playing’ videos can be as engaging as the fancily edited videos.

    I wouldn’t call John King’s playing ‘classical guitar style’. There’s a definite influence from that style of playing but the technique is very specific to the ukulele. The way he played the uke wouldn’t work on guitar. ‘Classical ukulele style’ perhaps.

  40. Steve Provost (rockinstephen) February 7th, 2010 5:38 pm

    Video of the Year…Hmmm…That certainly does imply that there’s more to consider than talent alone. That’s where production, editing, camera angles, songwriting, & themes all play a role. I did end up with talent as the major factor in my decision. I tried to steer clear of anything that could be viewed as “campy or tackey”. I’m doing my part to promote the ukelele as a serious instrument and hope that others will come to see it the same way. Just think of all the good blues, jazz, & Hawaiian uke music out there…,

  41. kennedy February 7th, 2010 6:20 pm

    The person in ‘front of a camera’ videos can definitely be engaging – some are my absolute favorites. As a bonus, in trying to show a face, they often show the fretboard of the uke, which is a great educational tool. (even if it’s unintended)
    In terms of a video contest, though, I was looking for additional imagination to be added.

    @Steve Provost – Part of the history of the uke is its ‘camp’ factor. I think that part of the charm of the instrument is due to its use in vaudeville. It’s an instrument that can bring undeniably happy associations to all age levels as a result. In my mind, that makes it a serious instrument.

  42. Woodshed February 8th, 2010 12:12 pm

    Steve and kennedy: I definitely wouldn’t want to airbrush all the ‘camp and tackey’ out of ukulele history. So long as there’s other stuff to balance it out.

  43. Magilton February 17th, 2010 8:31 pm

    Well done to all but it is clear to me that Mr B is by far the most innovative, entertaining and skilful on this list. All hail the Chap!

  44. Woodshed February 17th, 2010 9:05 pm

    Kanye Magilton: Entertaining: possibly. Innovative and skillful: no.

  45. Bossarocker February 18th, 2010 12:50 am

    I’mma let you finish, Al – but are you seriously saying he’s not skillful??

  46. Woodshed February 19th, 2010 1:18 pm

    Bossa: I’m seriously saying he’s not the MOST skillful on the list. If you’re judging on skill, it’s a one horse race.

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