Bosko and Honey’s Ukelele Honeymoon

I’ve been a fan of Bosko and Honey from the early days of my ukulele experience. There are many great uke players out there, but B&H have a unique approach to the instrument and the music they make.  I have their “Ukulele Safari” CD and am eagerly awaiting their second CD, “Pretty Please” which is on its way.

They recently appeared on Australia’s 1233 ABC Newcastle radio “Mornings” programme. Living, as I do, in the UK, I listened via the web. It’s a nice interview with some live pieces from B&H.  Listen and enjoy.

 


Guitar Heroes at the BBC – Archive recordings

My first non-ukulele post, but hey…

These performances are from a BBC 2 broadcast in January 2011 of archive recordings dating from 1969 through to the early 1980s.


Electric ukulele improvisation, Pedro da Silva

I hadn’t seen this performer anywhere on the web until today.  A New York resident, Pedro da Silva is an NYU music professor and composer and master of the strings.  In the video he treats his audience to a range of improvisation styles on a borrowed Eleuke.

I found this after exploring several web sites based around the New York ukulele scene, e.g. Ukulele Disco and NY Ukulele Salon.

There’s a whole lot of uke’ing going on.


Jake Shimabukuro, ukulele, plays Bohemian Rhapsody at TED

This is a fantastic example of the ukulele’s versatility and potential. Truly a musical instrument to be reckoned with.

It’s great to see the power of the uke demonstrated to the TED audience. This can only be good for the popularity of this understated instrument.

http://ted.com/talks/view/id/1063

Fingerpickin' for beginners

Well, I’ve just about reached the end of the “Absolute Beginners” omnibus ukulele book by Steven Sproat. There’s more I need to do to improve my technique in the exercises contained in the book, but I want to move on to other things at the same time, to keep the momentum in my ukulele learning.

Since buying my uke back in August, I’ve had a couple of other books to consider, both of which focus on fingerpicking. Until recently, they were just too advanced for me, but now I think I’m ready to have a go. I’ve opted for “Bluegrass Ukulele” by Fred Sokolow, in the Jumpin’ Jim’s Ukulele Songbook series. The book includes a CD with all the exercises and songs, as well as some additional audio instruction and comment which I find very helpful. I’m still at the first few exercises in the book (very basic) but I’ve had a listen to several of the more advanced tracks on the CD and I am impressed with the quality of the production and the clarity of the voiced instruction.

For someone who, like me, is new to the ukulele and has never played guitar, the first chapter of “Bluegrass Ukulele” hits the right level. The combination of tabs and standard musical notation are introduced from the outset, without unnecessary complication.  It’s clear how the tabs work and how the picking and chords are performed.  If you’re already familiar with tabs, then you won’t be bored with lots of explanation.

The written instructions are concise and pitched in a nice informal way.   I like the references to musicians whose fingerpicking styles are being explained.  It give a good sense of purpose and context to the exercises.

Listening to the examples on the CD and then trying to reproduce the sounds myself, I get a real sense that I am making progress. The rate of that progress is up to me and how much practice time I can find each day.

This is a book that I shall continue to use for the months to come. If I can progress just half-way through the book, I will have made significant strides into the realm of fingerpicking ukulele oneness :)


John King: Bach Prelude

A beautiful piece to inspire all ukulele students.

Prelude from the Cello Suite, No. 1, BWV 1007 performed on unaccompanied ukulele by the late John King.

Coutesy of NaluMusic.


The story so far…

After much procrastination, I finally bought myself a ukulele in August.

It’s an Ohana SK50WG soprano.  A lovely gloss finish and a beautiful sound for so small an instrument.

I’m teaching myself to play, initially using the Stephen Sproat omnibus edition (books 1 and 2).  Also have some chord books and more advanced books with fingerpickin’ pieces.

Although these other books are too advanced for me right now, I use them as a kind of encouragement device to keep up with the practising, not that that is a problem.  I love taking out the uke and just strumming out a few chords or doing some simple fingerpicking exercises.  It sounds pretty musical to me, at least :)

One other learning resource I must mention is Ukulele Underground.  These guys are so enthusiastic about the uke.  They publish regular tutorial videos and these, and their archive of previous ones, are an excellent way to get a feel for what the uke can do.  In the absence of a skilled instructor, these vids are a good alternative.

Finally, I must say something about The Mighty Uke Roadshow DVD.  If you take a look at the website you’ll get a taster of some of the excellent uke-inspired video footage.  It is truely inspiring and a must-see for any uke player.  I ordered the DVD and it arrived a couple of weeks ago.  It’s NTSC format (not PAL) but it plasy fine in my DVD player which, I guess, is doing some on-the-fly conversion to PAL.  Also plays OK in my PC’s DVD drive.

Well, that’s all for now. Aloha  :D


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