Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ukulele Reality Check

The ukulele craze has spawned a million Jason Mrazes and Julia Nunes. Boo hoo. I think those of us who are depressed that the ukulele is increasing in popularity are missing the big picture. Ukulele impresario Jake Shimabukuro said it best when he stated:

I really believe that the ukulele is the instrument of peace. If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place.

And I agree. And yes, if everyone played the ukulele, you would hear a billion "I'm Yours" covers heard on a million street corners. But.


You would also get a million little moments like this:

Isn't this worth the price of popularity?


RussBuss said...

Jake seems like a genuinely nice guy and all but i question his idea of "better". I believe the last few blog posts are proof that ukuleles are capable of creating both happiness AND hate.

Cute video though. You sure know how to pick 'em Al.

Little 6ster said...

Sorry to disturb, but it's true like Adelle says in her amazing "about me section":

deach said...

1. Jake is a stealthy marketing genius.
2. Is Jake THE ukulele god who all uke players must listen to?
3. Give that kid any instrument, fuck, a stack of pots and pans, he'd be just as happy and video would be just as cute.
4. The popularity of the uke isn't depressing, being compared to every Noonz and Mrass is though.

Grumpy Coyote said...

Yep - the uke brings joy too. No doubt about it.

I can say with no BS at all that the uke changed my life for the better. Not just music, but that little box with 4 strings.

As for the "instrument of peace"... The jury is still out on that. I see his point, but he may be overstating things just a bit.

I do agree with the sprit of your post though - the issues I have with the current state of things hasn't ruined my love of the uke - yet.

Adelle the Great said...

Alan- I really appreciate what you're trying to do here, but...

Deach was right about the pots & pans... and as far as the statement Jake made- you can substitute "ukulele" & "play" with just about any two positive, non-offensive words & have a true statement.

That little boy *is cute- adorable, even- but if "everyone played the ukulele" and we had "a million moments" like that- they would cease to be cute. They'd be like the cat videos that plague the internet.

cheerios said...

Lance's Over the Rainbow video is much better.
This one is almost worth going to war over to
stop from ever having to watch it again. The notion of ukes and peace being connected is just plain silliness. It's just a little four-string instrument, that's all.

No, all ukers need not listen to Jake. Jake
is an Institution, a Symbol. And for
me, anyway, the purveyor of a lot of ukulele
Muzak. He played here in Napa a few days ago
and I passed on it. Absolutely no regrets.

I love Nora, the piano playing cat.
And I also love the Horse with a Fscking Ukulele. Check that video out...PotofBasil

Anonymous said...

I'm ok with Jake, and I'm ok with that little boy, and I'm ok with anybody else playing what they want to play. I mean, come on, we live in a world in which People magazine delivers endless news stories about the same 20 celebs, and where only a handful of people are thought to have enough talent to be shown on TV. The ukulele may not bring peace to the world, but it's a relatively easy instrument to get started on and through which to feel a connection with music and self-expression. And music has been around forever. It's a basic part of human culture, and yet it's hard to enjoy it that way anymore with the Simon's and Warner's of the world. Sure, beginners will be ignorant of a lot of things and some of them will bring with them attitudes that you might not like, but then, welcome to life. If you're tired, take a break. Take up something else, like sky-diving. A little fresh air will do you good.

Tina_in_Germany said...

well, look at it this way, if the history of the ukulele is any indication, people will lose interest as soon as the economy turns around and they can afford guitars again. The the uke will go back to the fringes, where it's the main weapon of choice for chicks in skinny jeans, dudes with facial hair, and people who rock back and forth muttering to themselves. And since all of these people are lacking in the sort of plaid golf pants better suited to gay monkeys on nitrous oxide, I'd much rather hang out with them. So turn economy, turn!

Anonymous said...

Popular or not, the ukulele is awesome! - As long as there is a community with active and interesting ukulele players and ukulele lovers, the little 4-stringer will successfully hold its position as an important instrument in the Net Generation's pop-culture.

Grumpy Coyote said...

@ Tina_in_Germany

Hell yes! Exactly.

DeG said...

Aldy sure was cute when he was little.

Dave said...

Okay, looking at the UCB Banner. I see a group of individuals that have contributed more to the uke in the last year then most people have in a lifetime. Each and every one of you have inspired so many people and I'm sure each of them look up to each of you in some way or another. So here you are with you hands in the air saying in different words "maybe I'm not uke crazy after all"
Thanks for the memory's

Anonymous said...

I hope it doesn't go quiet on this channel. I love UCB, and I enjoy the crazy eloquence of the commentary. Mostly, I admire the honesty. I understand your recent discontent--it makes total sense to me--and I'm glad it was getting talked about somewhere. But people say all sorts of things. It's what they do that matters. I hope you guys continue saying what's on your mind. As for what you'll do, it's always been fun and interesting. I'm pretty sure it'll go on the same way. If you're looking for ideas: how about a Jason Mraz sing along?

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