About Me

A slightly over-educated sailor sharing the wet and dry sides of his life.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ukulele Baby!!!

This here is one of my musical treasures.  It is a September 2000 KoAloha Soprano ukulele. 

I bought this sweet little number new, back then in 12/2000, when I had to bail a ship in Hawaii, after a knee cap to hip bruise/contusion.  The overnight spell in Honolulu gave me the opportunity to visit the shopping mall of my childhood.  There, I found the Ala Moana Ukulele Shop kiosk--and this all koa wood soprano ukulele.  Apparently, back then, one could buy such a uke for under $400.  Nowadays, there's no hope (except for an Ebay score), to get such a perfect example of a Hawaiian koa ukulele.  Tone?  I just visited Dusty Strings, in Seattle's Fremont 'hood today.  There was this $4K Martin uke that paled in comparison.  Sure, that little flea was a very sweetly crafted instrument, but it didn't have the volume and clarity of my Kama'aina flea.  Wasn't there a band by the name of "The Screaming Fleas"?  That's my uke!

So what have I been doing with the dancing flea?  For only the last two years, after the previous eight?  Hey now!  The first song I figured out was Bob Welch's (formally of Fleetwood Mac) Sentimental Lady.  The second was the folk song, Wayfaring Stranger.  Those two took me, together, about one year.  More recently, I figured out Minnie The Moocher.  That probably took me about three weeks to memorized.  My latest project is Mac The Knife.  It's coming along.

The first version of MacHeath I heard was Bobby Darin's.  His take has been the definitive version for me, for decades.  However, I have to admit that Sting's slow rendition struck me as something that might have roots to the original stage production.  What made me think that?  Well, if you grab a uke and start slow, soulfully, staccato-raking the strings, you'll quickly get the sense of the difference between the two rhythms. 

If I get my shit together soon enough, I'll make it a point to post some videos of my playing.

Fuuuuuuck!!!!!!!  Me playing!!!!?????  Scary sheeett! 

Actually, the hardest thing to avoid is the sudden Foxtrot Uniform. 


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