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The Mighty Uke []



Given the scores of people who have borrowed ukuleles from this library, it was time for me to watch a documentary on the uke. According to filmmakers Tony Coleman and Margaret Meagher, the humble ukulele (which means “jumping flea” in Hawaiian) is at the crest of a worldwide resurgence in popularity. Why? Well, it’s accessible, it’s cheap, it sounds pretty good right from the start, you can adapt a huge variety of music to it, and it’s small and easy to carry around. Who would have guessed, as our 1920s-era ukulele method books languished on the shelves since the last uke fad died out, that in the 21st century there would be ukulele clubs in every major city? Or that a virtuosic ukulele player (is ukulelista word?) would be hitting the pop charts?
This is a delightful movie about people having fun making music for themselves and with their friends. The archival footage of musicians and hula dancers alone is worth the price of admission (which is free, but who’s counting?). The joy is catching and you may next find yourself borrowing Jim Beloff’s books or a Jake Shimabukuro CD, or looking up the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain on youtube.

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