I’m sure there are ukulele purists who will cringe at this posting, but that’s half the point of posting it. Amanda Palmer’s music is always irreverent, inappropriate, and infectious, and in this song she joyfully implores her audience to learn 3 ukulele chords and start covering Beatles songs, because they just might save the world.
Disclaimer: As usual, Amanda Palmer is not entirely safe for work. So put on your headphones, or save this one for home.
Skip to about 10:45 to get to the Ukulele Anthem.
This clip of James Hill is… unusual. Responding to a request from the audience, he pulls out a pair of chopsticks and a cheap comb and proceeds to tease shocking sounds from his ukulele. It’s a bit reminiscent of comedian/musician Reggie Watts.
The whole video is entertaining, if you enjoy stage chatter, but if not you’ll want to skip to 3:45. Even then it starts a bit slow, but the rap and techno sections near the end are stunning.
If you’ve seen anybody else go to such radical extremes with their ukulele, please leave a note in the comments!
Julia Nunes isn’t the most technically-skilled ukulele artist on the Internet, but her delightful strumming, crooning, and creative editing have earned her well over 10 million views on YouTube, and I have no doubt that she’s personally caused spikes in ukulele sales in every college town in America. Her cover of “Buttercup”, a gift for her friend’s birthday, is her most popular video, and is also a great example of the joyful pleasure of her work.
I’ll admit, I had to google this song to learn who had originally written it. The Foundations, whoever they were.
So, readers, what do you think of Julia Nunes?
One of the most unexpected music stories in recent years is Eddie Vedder’s return to relevance… as a ‘ukulele artist. His 2011 album “Ukulele Songs” featured 16 songs, a mix of originals and covers, and guest appearances by Glen Hansard and Cat Power, among others. Here’s a live performance of “Without You” (the music starts about a minute in):
I’m curious if global ukulele sales spiked after he released this album.
In this “Video of the Week” series, I’ll be sharing clips of amazing ukulele performances, to inspire anybody who wants to learn to improve their playing. I’ll also have a “Tutorial of the Week” series to share instructional videos to help you get there.
This first clip is the video that inspired me to start this site in the first place, Jake Shimabukuro’s jaw-dropping performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” by the Beatles.
Hope you enjoyed it! Tune in next week for another inspiring piece.