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Uke Hunt’s 2021 Ukulele Favourites

Uke Hunt’s 2021 Ukulele Favourites

It’s award season and time to hand out the most coveted of them all The UkeHunties.

Ukulele Record of 2021: Tyrone and Lesley – Have No Words

I don’t think there’s a better instrument pairing than ukulele and double bass. They’re made for each other. And that pairing is shown off on Tyrone and Lesley’s beautiful record Have No Words. The album almost entirely forgoes vocals in favour of their perfectly crafted music (which has always been my favourite aspect of their releases). I highly recommend giving it a listen.

Runners Up
The Backyard Revival – Live Tracks 2018-2020
dodie – Build a Problem
Ra – Happy in the Haze of a Drunken Hour
Bridge City Sinners – Devil Like You
The Sonder Bombs – Clothbound

Ukulele Song of 2021: Polo G and Einer Bankz – RAPSTAR

For the past few years Einer Bankz has been playing ukulele with a vast number of young rappers. As in all genres, a ukulele accompaniment really separates those with skills from those without.

In 2021 he teamed up with Polo G to create the instantly catchy RAPSTAR. The song went straight to the top of the charts and became the first ukulele record to hit number 1 since Hey Soul Sister.

Runners Up
Sonder Bombs – What are Friends For
dodie – Hate Myself
The Staves – Paralysed

Instrumental Performance of 2021: Vinícius Vivas – Eureka

Vinícius’s is so smooth and graceful. I love it and I wish I could play like that. Every time he puts out a new video it’s a treat.

Runners Up
SeattleUke – Jerry’s Breakdown
Vivian Kim – Mozart Symphony No.40
Ryo Natoyama – Absolute Zero
Remi Harris – All of Me
Mathias Cévé – Vivaldi's Summer
Abe Lagrimas, Jr. – Take The A Train

Ukulele Cover 2021: Kawehi – Hawai’i ’78

Written by Mickey Ioane and made famous by IZ, Hawai’i ’78 is such a musically and emotionally powerful song. IZ’s version is so great most covers leave me cold (even those by people whose music I’m a fan of). But I found Kawehi’s version deeply touching.

Runners Up
Jake Shimabukuro and Willie Nelson – Stardust
Laura Anglade – You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
Keston Cobblers Club – Happy Hour

Favourite Song Tabbed: David Bowie – Space Oddity

These days, almost all tabs I do are requests from Patreon members. Which means I’m tackling a lot of songs I really should have done years ago. And Space Oddity is certainly one of those. I had a lot of fun putting in harmonics to suit the spacey setting and messing with the solo. A lot of fun to play.

Runners Up
Warren Zevon – Keep Me in Your Heart
Childish Gambino – Redbone
Dolly Parton – Jolene
Guns N’ Roses – Patience
Robert Schumann – Vanitas Vanitatum Mit Humor
Frightened Rabbit – I Wish I Was Sober

Best Non-Ukulele Record of 2021: Kanye West – Donda

I was expecting this album to be a disaster. If it even came out at all. Kanye has been increasingly unhinged, the first listening party for the album was unimpressive and he decided to make the album in a football stadium he refused to leave. But it turned out to be one of the best albums of his career.

The record makes an honest account of his mistakes, moral failings, the breakdown of his marriage and the loss of his mother. Along with his attempts to create a more fulfilling and spiritual life. Culminating with the most cathartic moment on any album I’ve heard: Come to Life. The build up of shimmering pianos and distorted guitar at the end breaks me down every time I hear it.

Runners Up
Arca – KicK iii
Tyler the Creator – Call Me if You Get Lost
Typhoon – Sympathetic Magic

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