Ukulele Video of the Year 2010: Nominations

I’m sure 2010 will got down in ukulele history as the year of Hey, Soul Sister (don’t even think about it: released November 2009). But I’ll be remembering the year for the diversity, skill and invention on display from the ukers. And it’s heartening to see that, despite all the mainstreamification and talk of the uke being for big get-togethers, it is still an instrument played by weirdos.

The real purpose of the vote: to get people watching excellent musicians. So if there’s a video you think has been cruelly overlooked, be sure to give it a nomination because I’ll be watching anything I missed first time round.

For the first stage, everyone gets to nominate up to 5 videos – leave them in the comments. From those nominations, I’ll cobble together a list of ten (ish) that will be voted on next week. Use whatever criteria you like. I went with whichever videos/songs I enjoyed most.

The Rules

The rules remain as ramshackle as ever:

– There has to be a ukulele in there.
– Videos must have been originally uploaded in 2010.
– Videos must be publicly available online.
– Maximum of five nominations per person.
– Post your nominations in the comments.
– Nominations close midnight 7th February (Hawaii time).
– Ten acts with the most nominations go into the final vote with their most nominated song going forward.
– No prize. Just the love and admiration of the heaving masses.
– No sucking up by voting for me.

Don’t panic if your comments don’t show up right away. First time commenters and comments contains a few links can get held back for spam checking.

My Nominations

Serious problems narrowing it down to five this year. It kills me to leave out Manitoba Hal.

Little6ster – I Wish…
SoftSpot – Half a House
Jónsi and Nico Muhly – Go Do
Kaki King – Falling Day
Secret Home Party – Reciprocation

Videos You May Like

To jog your memory, here are some more videos that have caused a stir in the comments, on the net or in my pants:

Keston Cobblers Club – You Go
Brett Domino – Justin Timberlake Medley
Manitoba Hal – Poulet Shack
4DJB25 – Esmerelda
Savannah Smith – Ventriloquism
Sanfordandsong – Flim
Matt Griffo – One Love
Jim Boggia – Thunder Road
Ben Lerman – Ben Lerman Plays the Ukulele
Ukulollo – Knight Rider
U900 – Twist and Shout
Agathe and Fine – Rambling Man
The Ooks of Hazard – Kids
Lila Burns – Young Hearts, Young Minds
White Hinterland – No Logic
The Bobby McGee’s – Bang Bang Bang
Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra – Short People
Jake Shimabukuro – Bohemian Rhapsody
James Hill and Victoria Vox – Billie Jean
Yoyoyo Acapulco – Orange
Mike De Velta – Fuller’s Hill
Bella Hemming – Play Guitar
Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer – Songs for Acid Edward
Antarctica Takes It – C&F
Sophie Madeleine – The Rhythm You Started
Veronica Sbergia and Max di Bernardi – Take It Easy Greasy/Dirty Mother Fuyer

View Comments


  1. cardboardfrog February 2nd, 2011 6:28 pm

    my nominations have to be keston cobblers club and the ooks of hazard. frankly my two favourite uke songs of last year.

  2. John Irving February 2nd, 2011 6:46 pm

    James Hill: Billie Jean. This version w/o VV is better in my opinion. And it is the best ukulele video of the year.

  3. Jenny February 2nd, 2011 7:36 pm

    Secret Home Party!!! It doesn’t need a comment of why it rocks so hard!

    And Antarctica Takes It.

  4. Hello Jodi February 2nd, 2011 8:50 pm

    1. Pomplamoose-pick a video with ukulele in it
    They have a keen awareness of how to leverage YouTube for self-promotion. Add to that they are doing something new and interesting and they are good at it.
    2. Ukulollo Bolero (gosh, I hope this was 2010)
    Ignore for a moment that I have a nerdy ukulele fan girl obsession with this man. No, don’t. This video made me fall in love with a complete stranger. For 2 straight weeks I played it every morning when I first woke up. And it was only partially because he is handsome: it is technically well played and well rendered on video. When I’m showing videos to people who have little knowledge of the ukulele as a modern instrument (as I did this weekend), I show them 2 videos first. This one and
    3. You – Music For a Found Harmonium
    Lack of complex production is a plus here: it just proves that the ukulele is a serious instrument and incredibly versatile.
    4. Plexophonic – I’ll See You In My Dreams
    Walking Stick is my favorite, but only because I saw it first. Each of his offerings is as good as the last.

    I’m going to give some thought to my final selection.

  5. Hello Jodi February 2nd, 2011 8:58 pm

    Oh shit, I just saw the part about sucking up. Not that it matters, as I don’t care to be nominated. It is not false praise, Al. I really admire you to the point of adoration. If I had to narrow down 3 players I wish I lived close enough to learn from, it would be James Hill, Ralph Shaw & you. And you’re the only 1 of the 3 I feel like I could get rip roaring drunk with.
    Have I embarrassed you now? Moving right along…

  6. Woodshed February 2nd, 2011 10:12 pm

    cbf: And fine choices they are too.

    John: The playing is definitely clearer in that video. But Victoria is a far better singer than he is.

    Jenny: My, my what excellent taste you have.

    Jodi: You have broken so many rules I’d be sending you to bed without supper if you hadn’t sucked up so hard. Ukulollo’s Bolero was nominated last year. And could you point to a Pomplamoose ukulele video because I don’t remember seeing one (if I had, I definitely would have posted it).

  7. Don Crowder AKA @eldergeek February 3rd, 2011 2:05 am

    Ingrid Michaelson. Hands down.

  8. Liz February 3rd, 2011 2:24 am

    Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra – Short People !! Those guys rock!

  9. suzalele February 3rd, 2011 2:34 am

    this was hard! It was a great year for the uke on youtube!

    middle aged guy with a ukulele- mike kassel
    poulet shack- manitoba hal
    ode to a frozen boot- james hill , unbelievable
    you and the night and the music- j walter hawkes trio

    I too reserve the rights to come back with my fifth one..

  10. Ron Hale February 3rd, 2011 4:28 am

    I’ll put all my five nominations into just one, Al:

    Mad Tea Party “Can’t Help Myself & itty Bitty
    Pretty One” live @ Grey Eagle, Ashville, NC

    Full-screen/full blast & try taking your eyes off Ami…

  11. johnny p February 3rd, 2011 9:15 am

    seeeeeeeecreeet hoooooooome paaaaarrrrttttyyyy!!! my vote counts for twenty. go ahead and put that in the tally. thanks. -jp

  12. Tim Cooke February 3rd, 2011 9:47 am

    Chonkinfeckle, they don’t seem to get a mention. Here’s are 2 from last year.
    First off is their debut song ‘I’m from Wigan me’

    2nd is an instrumental ‘Road Trip, filmed on the way to Ray Shakeshaft’s Ukes galore in Kidderminster

  13. Jane February 3rd, 2011 11:53 am

    James Hill and Melanie Doane playing a uke-duet: Lullaby of Birdland at the Toronto premiere of The Mighty Uke

  14. sulli February 3rd, 2011 12:07 pm

    Secret Home Parrrrrrttyyyyyyy!!!

  15. Gav February 3rd, 2011 12:14 pm

    Secret home party

  16. Teletha February 3rd, 2011 1:33 pm


  17. Lauryn Elise February 3rd, 2011 1:50 pm

    Secret Home Party :)

  18. Woodshed February 3rd, 2011 1:53 pm

    I think it’s safe to say Secret Home Party are in the next round. Best to save your firepower for the vote.

  19. Llewelyn Bach February 3rd, 2011 2:07 pm

    Bella Hemming’s (She Might Love You If You) Learn To Play Guitar.

    Utterly charming.
    Hummably brilliant tune.
    Easy to play.
    Witty video.

  20. Krista February 3rd, 2011 2:44 pm

    Secret Home Party!!!!

  21. uke66 February 3rd, 2011 2:50 pm

    Manitoba Hal They’re Red hot

    Russbuss415 and Ukulollo Where the streets have no name

    “Honky Tonk Woman” Ukulele cover by Little 6ster

    The Ooks Of Hazzard – Kids (MGMT Cover)

    “10 thousand miles away” Uke Original by Little 6ster

  22. jolac February 3rd, 2011 3:22 pm

    Secret Home Party!!!!

  23. Ginger February 3rd, 2011 4:02 pm

    Secret Home Party!!!! They RaQ!

  24. Sunny February 3rd, 2011 4:04 pm


  25. Meredith February 3rd, 2011 4:17 pm

    Secret Home Party!!!

  26. pepamahina February 3rd, 2011 4:46 pm

    I second the motion for John Irving’s suggestion of James Hill’s “Billie Jean” without Victoria Vox.

    I want to make a big plug for Sophie Madeleine, but I really prefer “You are my Favourite”. For me that video really deserves to be a finalist. What better example of the Aloha spirit? She wrote the song, taught us to play it, invited us to show us what we can do, and then put us into her music video. It seems to me that it really represents what we’re all doing out here, doesn’t it? Plus it’s such a sweet love song.

  27. nonch February 3rd, 2011 5:28 pm

    My noms:

    WIUO – Short People

    Guggenheim Grotto – The Universe is Laughing

    Sophie Madeleine – The Rhythm You Started

    Jake Shimabukuro – Bohemian Rhapsody

    Brett Domino – JT Medley ties with Keston Cobblers Club – You Go :)

  28. shp February 3rd, 2011 5:50 pm

    Al, sorry about all the secret home party fanaticism. was maybe just a little but too super excited that you put us in your personal 5 and maybe i said something to one or two people? um, won’t happen again…

    ok, here are my nominations:

    The Do – Stay

    Amanda Palmer – Map of Tasmania

    WIUO – short people

    Jonsi and Nico Mulhi – Go Do

    and that one Florence the Machine vid you posted not too long back

  29. Venus February 3rd, 2011 5:55 pm

    Wellington Internation Ukulele Orchestra- Short People

  30. Art February 3rd, 2011 6:25 pm

    The top selections are very professional. However I think the rules ought to include that you must see a ukulele in video and should sound like one.

    Manitoba Hal is my first choice on that criteria, Also Secret Party another great choice

  31. Leah Ashley February 3rd, 2011 6:36 pm

    Secret Home Party :)

  32. sanford(andsong) February 3rd, 2011 7:03 pm

    Having only discovered the world of Ukulele Video (watching and posting) in 2010, I’m a little overwhelmed with choice. But I’ll narrow it right down to the one vid that gives me a deep emotional response every time:

    Gwynthesizer’s “Winter is Blue” (Vashti Bunyan cover)

    A beautiful interpretation and heartfelt performance it is…

  33. Woodshed February 3rd, 2011 7:07 pm

    nonch: I’m not letting you get away with 6.

    SHP: Don’t worry, not a problem. I’m glad to have people spread the word. I just wanted to save people the bother when you’re already through.

    Art: What’s your definition of ‘sounds like a ukulele’?

  34. Woodshed February 3rd, 2011 7:09 pm

    sanford: Oh crap, you just reminded me I meant to include your version of Film on the list. I’ll add it right now.

  35. sanford(andsong) February 3rd, 2011 7:10 pm

    really?! Thanks!
    (“Flim”, to be exact…)

  36. Woodshed February 3rd, 2011 7:11 pm

    And I can’t even type right. *Flim*

  37. sailboats February 3rd, 2011 7:23 pm

    Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra – Short People

    Manitoba Hal – Poulet Shack (i just found out he grew up not to far from me. Also going to a blues workshop of his on Saturday.

  38. Venus February 3rd, 2011 7:40 pm

    WIUO- Short People

  39. shp February 3rd, 2011 7:40 pm

    sandfordandsong’s FLIM is amazing. i want to trade my florence and the machine nomination for this one.

  40. Beth February 3rd, 2011 7:42 pm

    Dream a Little Dream by ECLove 143 – beautiful ukulele cover featuring an electric kazoo solo!

  41. Beth February 3rd, 2011 7:42 pm
  42. Woodshed February 3rd, 2011 7:45 pm

    shp: You can have it in place of Amanda Palmer. That wasn’t until this year (it’s on my best of 2011 list already).

  43. Bonnie February 3rd, 2011 9:20 pm

    Manitoba Hal – Poulet Shack No way can this awesome bluesman be left out. Be sure to check out his you tube videos :)

  44. Nornb February 3rd, 2011 11:48 pm

    Agathe and Fine – Rambling Man

    Great song. Great performance. One shot, no cuts.

  45. otis February 4th, 2011 12:52 am

    Secret home party is my personal savior. They must prevail!

  46. Jane February 4th, 2011 2:02 am

    I’m gonna be up all night checking out all of your nominations. So cool!

  47. Mattie February 4th, 2011 2:40 am


  48. Carl February 4th, 2011 5:19 am

    Secret Home Party fo sho

  49. muz February 4th, 2011 7:06 am

    Im going to have to nominate

    Rise- Andrew chin

    And out of the ones you put ill put in my weight with:

    KakiKing- Falling day
    Mike De Velta – Fuller’s Hill
    Bella Hemming – Play Guitar
    Sanfordandsong – Flim

  50. gwynthesizer February 4th, 2011 11:28 am

    Classy choices Al,

    Here are mine:

    1) that amazing Jonsi/Nico video of “go do” – probably my video of the year, although I’m not actually a fan of the album at all…

    2) Great to see everyone acknowledging what a very talented fella Sanfordandson is. For mine, a top 5 of 2010 has to include his version of Monk’s “Dinah”

    (It was super nice of him to mention my video!)

    3. Darren Hanlon’s “all these things” – great clip and clever songwriting:

    4.Rob Mckillop’s “Sea Blues”

    5. Spring Breakup’s “Peepers & Howlers”

    Meanwhile it’s killing me that you’re not letting us vote for you – that version of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra tune you did should be up there dammit!

  51. karl February 4th, 2011 1:16 pm

    1. Those New Zealanders on their knees
    2. Veronica and Max
    3. No Ukulele Orchestra of GB? Okay, their Dirtbag-proms video was recorded in 2009 and the morning television bit even in 1988, but both were ‘originally uploaded’ in 2010, on 6th January and 2nd September, respectively. Furthermore, for the sake of being taken as a musical instrument, the ukulele needs orchestras (I refer to exhibit 1. above). I rest my case, Your Honor. No further questions.

  52. Jackuk February 4th, 2011 2:28 pm

    Sam Hart – If you ask me to
    its such an amazingly beautiful song and just wonderful in all

  53. purplellama February 5th, 2011 12:10 am

    Lila Burns- Young Hearts, Young Minds. For sure.

  54. Jane February 7th, 2011 2:35 pm

    After careful consideration…
    James Hill Billy Jean (with or without Victoria Vox)
    U900 Twist and Shout
    Manitoba Hal Poulet Shack
    Brett Domino Timberlake Medley
    Savannah Smith Ventriloquism

  55. the captain February 7th, 2011 7:13 pm

    I vote for Bella Hemming, good tune and even I can play it … and if Elmer’s Electric Tricycle by Phredd was 2010, then that’s my second vote. Number three is Seven Nation Army by

  56. Julia February 7th, 2011 10:26 pm

    midnight beginning 7th febuary or ending it… and was hawaii in front of european time or past it (if it doesn´t count anymore its okay, sorry I´m late, crappy internet + university stuff hindered me)
    So if still possible:

    Ben Lerman – plays the ukulele
    Look at the fields – Miracles (
    + already named
    Antarctica takes it
    Darren Hanlon’s -all these things
    Keston Cobblers Club- You go

    what a pitty Goldheart Assembly´s self/ untitled song ( was uploaded two years before I discovered it, as it was probably my most favourite ukulele song this year

  57. Woodshed February 7th, 2011 10:30 pm

    Julia: You’re good. Hawaii is behind the whole rest of the world. It’s about lunchtime there.

  58. Woodshed February 8th, 2011 10:02 am

    Thanks for all the nominations, folks. It’s now closed and I’ll cobble them into some sort of list.

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