Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Uke Stuff

It is Holy Wednesday night and I am trying to figure out if there is any way I can play "Were You There" on the ukulele for Maundy Thursday Communion.  The fact is, there is almost no way to make it sound contemplative with either the Soprano or the Concert sized instruments.  They want to be perky and bounce around.  The tone of the service is contemplative...  Perhaps as a sing-along prelude?  Postlude?  Maybe I should rush-order a baritone?

Anyway, this quandary has motivated me to do something else with my evening.  I am, therefore, adding a "Ukulele" subject heading to my "Labels" list.  This will be the first and will contain other relevant links below....

Folk Worship? (August 5, 2010)

End of an Era (Sort Of)  (August 30, 2010)

Return of the Staybattical Part 1  (December 30, 2010)

The Magic Fluke (A Review?) (March 23, 2011)

If you have any suggestions concerning my current issue, by the way, do let me know.  My colleague Matt is already playing something on the guitar for the anthem so it may be a case of "less is more".


  1. Mmm, I think the 'ukulele can sound contemplative. Some recordings of traditional Hawai'ian strumming styles are very mellow and relaxed. To my ears, it sounds like a combination of (1) using fingertips more than nails, (2) using rolls and other strumming techniques that are softer and mellower, and (3) a looser, more relaxed sense of rhythm. Re: that last point: I like the way the best traditional Hawai'ian 'uke playing supports the rhythm of the vocal part, rather than having the 'uke being the primary driver of the rhythm.

    By the way, I got to hear Herb Ohta Jr. playing Christmas music last December, and his 'uke playing ranged all the way from cheery and bouncy to very mellow and even transcendent. But then, he's Herb Ohta Jr.

  2. Thanks Dan,

    I went for a very basic thumb-based downward strock and no upstroke. Seemed to work OK...