Saturday, March 30, 2013

Whistle And A Light - Mama Kin

from the EP Talisman (2013)

After a long journey, the ukulele is finally becoming hip.  My earliest memories come from old movies, where stars like Don Ho, Bing Crosby, and Elvis Presley crooned to a backdrop of hula girls and swayin' palms.  As cool as that was, the ukulele remained something of a novelty instrument.  Then came Tiny Tim and Tiptoe thru the Tulips...

It took a while to bounce back, but then Israel Kamakawiwo'ole began recording incredibly beautiful music using this native instrument.  His rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow is a masterpiece.  Maybe that's what turned it around for the ukulele.

In recent years, it has found crazy, commercial success with Hey, Soul Sister by Train.  It has also found a more alternative audience, with artists like Eddie Vedder releasing an entire album of Ukulele Songs.  Nice comeback for the punchy, little, four-stringed dude!

So when I first stumbled across the song Whistle And A Light by Mama Kin, I was attracted to the melody line.  I have deep respect for any songwriter who can craft such a catchy melody.  The song also has great harmonies over a bouncing beat and hooks galore. But as I listen to it again, I say "Hey, I've never heard a ukulele song like this before."  I really dig that.

So check out this Seattle songstress.  She seems to me like one of those special people who was born to make music... with a ukulele!

Click Here to watch a stripped down backstage performance.

Click Here to watch a live performance.

Click Here to watch Tiny Tim perform Tiptoe Thru The Tulips on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.

Click Here to watch Israel Kamakawiwo'ole sing Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

4 comments:

  1. Four strings and imagination are the things of creativity!

    Music is such a wonderfully creative outlet. Harmony, melody, tempo and timbre mathematical and soothing and all only possible when you give of your time and touch to make it. Beat, strum, blow or touch, these activities coupled with a guided mind and the results meld with the universe. Simple or complex the desire to create music has been around for as long as there have been ears. It's always good to hear the next new rendition, and to be amazed that, event after all so many years, new creations are still possible.

    To delve into more Ukulele music follow Jake Shimabukuro. His tribute to George Harrison's "While my guitar gently weeps" is nothing less than magical.

    http://jakeshimabukuro.com/home/

    Watch some of the videos from this page, or look it up on Youtube.

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    1. Wow JB...he really is amazing. I think his ukelele is wheeping after that version! My 20 year old god -daughter, a junior at the Colorado School of Mines (and the only kid, I think, who has ever gone to that prestigious school on scholarshio sporting dread locks) takes ukelele lessons, so if following the habits of that generation is in any way telling, the instrument is "cool"...just like Don Ho!

      Uke on, I guess!

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    2. I meant "weeping"...and scholarshiP. Hoppy Eeester...

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