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Video Feature: Discovering the Edgier Side of Ukulele

Video Feature: Discovering the Edgier Side of Ukulele

This year, I returned from my annual holiday trip to my hometown with a fun new toy - a ukulele. It’s a casual instrument that most people can learn the basics of in a day or two, and if you play guitar you could probably learn to play a song in minutes. I immediately got “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” and “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz under my belt and was left wondering what else I could do with my beautiful, tiny instrument.

I googled “ukulele music” and was not surprised to find a lot of Hawaiian, tropical sounding music. In other words, a lot of “cute” music. Cute can get real boring, real fast. I set out on a virtual quest to find people who are doing unique, musically deep, non-cute things with the ukulele. 

Hopefully some of my finds will inspire you to experiment with the ukulele, or any instrument, in a new way.

My first choice is “Powa” by tUnE-yArDs, the moniker for the eccentric Merrill Garbus. This lady isn’t looking for “cute.” In the New York Times she said, “I definitely made it my goal to make the ukulele sound not like the ukulele.” Perfect. The use of amplification and overdrive adds an edge that makes the instrument so much more interesting.


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