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View Full Version : Who Is The Best Singer/Ukulele Player?



open-road-matt
01-27-2010, 06:10 AM
Hi Folks,
I am new to playing the ukulele and to ukulele music in general.

My hope is to get good enough on the ukulele to play and sing my original songs.

I would love to watch videos or listen to recordings of highly regarded singers/ukulele players but I don't know anyone who is doing that so I don't know who to look for.

I know the word "best" is highly subjective. I'm just looking for people to fill in a sentence like,"if you are looking for a great singer/ukulele player you have to check out..........."

Thanks!
Matt

Rzr
01-27-2010, 06:14 AM
A lot of UU's members are really awesome. Many have their youtube channels in their sigs. Start checking them out and who they're subbed to and you will find tons.

Melissa82
01-27-2010, 06:16 AM
A lot of UU's members are really awesome. Many have their youtube channels in their sigs. Start checking them out and who they're subbed to and you will find tons.What he said.

I subscribe to as many uke players channels as I can. When I bored, need some inspiration or just want to check out the awesomeness of uke players, I go through my subscriptions.

UKISOCIETY
01-27-2010, 06:16 AM
Either me or someone else.

Gary Jugert
01-27-2010, 06:32 AM
I second that UKISOCIETY is the best at both.
http://www.youtube.com/user/UKISOCIETY

Skitzic
01-27-2010, 06:42 AM
Just surf you tube until you find someone you like. Subscribe as you see fit.

sukie
01-27-2010, 06:52 AM
Don't forget Aldrine. I saw him in Long Beach last week. He is one amazing player and singer. I think his youtube name is ukuleleoversoul?

RevWill
01-27-2010, 06:54 AM
Some of my favorites: Craig Robertson, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Jake Shimabukuro (instrumentalist), Brittni Paiva, Taimane Gardner, Seeso, Victoria Vox. The UkeCrazyBitches are a good place to start for UU user videos. Don't forget Julia Nunes, Molly Lewis (sweetafton23)

Captain_Lovehandles
01-27-2010, 07:08 AM
Since you're probably really wanting to know, Jason Arimoto is the best.

His myspace (http://www.myspace.com/jasonarimoto)
His Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/user/facemeltingukulele)

Melissa82
01-27-2010, 07:11 AM
Since you're probably really wanting to know, Jason Arimoto is the best.

His myspace (http://www.myspace.com/jasonarimoto)
His Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/user/facemeltingukulele)Omg, he is amazing! I love his voice.

Brad Bordessa
01-27-2010, 07:20 AM
Troy Fernandez
Herb Ohta Jr.
Kimo Hussey
Keoki Kahumoku
Kalei Gamiao

Moller
01-27-2010, 07:22 AM
Beirut (Zach Condon) really needs to be mentioned!

He doesn't play uke in this video, but he plays both ukulele and trumpet in concert
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-mqhkuOF7s&feature=related

awesome original music.

KoPa
01-27-2010, 07:43 AM
Imua Garza from Opihi Pickers; Vince Saures from Malino; Kelly Boy Deima from Kapena; Hippie Guy above nailed it with Otha Herb Jr & Keoki Kahumiku. This would be if you like hawaiian/jawaiian music with both ukulele and strumming. If you were to look for all these guys online...you would run into choke groups you would like. For what your asking I think these are some of the best. Obviously you have to check out Jake. And now there is a wave of artist like him all throughout Japan. Have fun with your search. And check out these guys here. Aldrine is pretty damn good. He does great work on his lessons. I can only assume that the rest of his circle here is pretty good too.

russ_buss
01-27-2010, 07:44 AM
this guy is pretty good:

http://www.youtube.com/user/BaronK69


but if you're looking for the best, it's UKISOCIETY.

JCMcGee
01-27-2010, 07:47 AM
Sophie Madeliene
http://www.youtube.com/user/misssophiemadeleine

Nice uke player....beautiful singer and extra points for:
1.Being very pretty (Which is a rarety in the uke world!!!)
2.Writing her own songs...which are actually good (a rarety in the "good uke player" world)

Bluke
01-27-2010, 07:48 AM
Matt, sometimes a newer player will not know what or who is 'best'. Of course it's a matter of style, too. I think Del Rey is fabulous, but others may not understand a thing she does. People often think that the original Hawaiians are best. On the other hand, contemporary players such as Jake S. or James Hill are the best, technically and as musicians.

hoosierhiver
01-27-2010, 07:55 AM
I think there is differences between, who I think is the best technical player, who is the best performer and who i"d most like to see play live.

Ahnko Honu
01-27-2010, 08:09 AM
Who makes da bes' laulau? Wendall's! But some say Keoki's. Music like food is so subjective depends on your taste. Allot of people say Jake S. but to me no, not even close. I don't think there is a "THE BEST". I do have several favorites though.

AverseBliss
01-27-2010, 08:19 AM
I recommend Sophie Madeliene (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B96wv6Tfmg), Rocky and Balls (of which Sophie Madeleine is one half) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vVdWHADKto), The Bobby McGees (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erkUjkoAIIg), Kate Miccuci (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FznlyA_iqrs), and Garfunkel and Oates (of which Kate Miccuci is one half). (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZDTkxWudXo)


If all has gone to plan they should link to a song by each of them. That last one has swearing, so yeah, just a warning label. These are some of my favourite ukulele musicians/sing songwriters!

open-road-matt
01-27-2010, 09:07 AM
Wow!
Thanks for all the wonderful info and the great links!

It's neat to get a sense of what's out there. This will keep me busy for a while.

I have watched a lot of Jake Shimabukuro and he's totally amazing but that's just not my style of music and I will never play the ukulele like that (even if I did nothing but for the rest of my life!) If I try to draw parallels to the guitar world, I'd say Jake is like Leo Kottke and I'm searching for something like the ukulele equivalent of say John Prine! If that makes any sense.

Thanks again!
Matt

kenikas
01-27-2010, 09:26 AM
Who makes da bes' laulau? Wendall's! But some say Keoki's. Music like food is so subjective depends on your taste. Allot of people say Jake S. but to me no, not even close. I don't think there is a "THE BEST". I do have several favorites though.

Bettah dan poi, bettah dan pig, Wendall's laulau's frikin big! Got to agree with Ahnko Honu there are to many greats to pick just one.

UKISOCIETY
01-27-2010, 09:38 AM
Wow!
Thanks for all the wonderful info and the great links!

It's neat to get a sense of what's out there. This will keep me busy for a while.

I have watched a lot of Jake Shimabukuro and he's totally amazing but that's just not my style of music and I will never play the ukulele like that (even if I did nothing but for the rest of my life!) If I try to draw parallels to the guitar world, I'd say Jake is like Leo Kottke and I'm searching for something like the ukulele equivalent of say John Prine! If that makes any sense.

Thanks again!
Matt

Matt Lindahl is a great choice if you like Prine. Check him out. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kku2uKnEXXQ)
One of my favorites of mine is this Tom Waits song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBh2LxD1qfU).

UkuleleHill
01-27-2010, 09:46 AM
Seeso is awesome!

http://www.youtube.com/user/seeso

GreyPoupon
01-27-2010, 09:57 AM
All the names mentioned already are amazing musicians who play the ukulele. But for me the best uker - that is the guy who best personifies the spirit of the ukulele is.... UKISOCIETY. Honestly.

Melissa82
01-27-2010, 10:00 AM
Seeso is awesome!

http://www.youtube.com/user/seesocan't agree more. :)

His songs make my clothes fall off...

rogue_wave
01-27-2010, 10:04 AM
I assume that you, like me and so many others, want inspiration and even more, to get an idea of what is possible, what others are doing, song ideas, styles and more.

Besides following every link posted here, check http://www.uketoob.com/ all the time. They collect new videos all the time.

My current faves (from UU and elsewhere):
(no particular order)
Inspiring / Examples to follow/ Great writing, technique, etc:
Troy Fernandez (YouTube at tntmusic2729)
Daniel Ho / Herb Ohta Jr.
Aldrine of course
Ken Middleton
Ukelelezo
Seeso
facemeltingukulele
danielle at the sandwich

Fun to watch but not styles that I imagine myself playing even if I ever had the skills:
Jake
Taimane
Lyle Ritz
James Hill

Most importantly I just keep listening, to ukulele players, and now in such a different way to all music, trying to absorb and create.
Learning to play has been the most fun I have had listening to music in years!

bt93
01-27-2010, 10:04 AM
i think matt dahlberg (thejumpingflea) and aldrine

Captain_Lovehandles
01-27-2010, 10:46 AM
I'm searching for something like the ukulele equivalent of say John Prine

Then go with:
BaronK69 (http://www.youtube.com/user/BaronK69)
Doogey9 (http://www.youtube.com/user/doogey9)
unclejeff64 (http://www.youtube.com/user/unclejeff64)
UkePunk (http://www.youtube.com/user/UkePunk)

...and of course, hoosierhiver (http://www.youtube.com/user/hoosierhiver).

ukecantdothat
01-27-2010, 10:59 AM
...ukulele equivalent of say John Prine! If that makes any sense.
UU-wise, Grumpy Coyote is good for this sort of stuff, and check out MrPlatypus70 on YT for some earthy stuff from time to time. I just started making vids, but it's mostly instrumental at this point.

ukecantdothat
01-27-2010, 11:06 AM
Don't forget Aldrine. I saw him in Long Beach last week. He is one amazing player and singer. I think his youtube name is ukuleleoversoul?
I still can't believe you made it out for the show, Sukie! Thanks again!!! And you're right about Aldrine. He's the real deal, the whole package that one! He's got all the technical prowess of the great ukers, plus he sings, and entertains a crowd between songs (great way to cover up re-tuning after all that shredding...). A triple threat for a performer.

GrumpyCoyote
01-27-2010, 11:19 AM
Then go with:
BaronK69 (http://www.youtube.com/user/BaronK69)
Doogey9 (http://www.youtube.com/user/doogey9)
unclejeff64 (http://www.youtube.com/user/unclejeff64)
UkePunk (http://www.youtube.com/user/UkePunk)

...and of course, hoosierhiver (http://www.youtube.com/user/hoosierhiver).

Yep - that's a solid group if you are into the rustic singer/songwriter vibe. I sure am.

I'd add Mr. Krabbers (http://www.youtube.com/krabbers) to that list too. Too many others to list really.

kenikas
01-27-2010, 11:30 AM
can't agree more. :)

His songs make my clothes fall off...


That conjures up quite a mental picture Melissa! LoL! I better be carefull where I listen to Seeso's music!

Melissa82
01-27-2010, 11:34 AM
That conjures up quite a mental picture Melissa! LoL! I better be carefull where I listen to Seeso's music!It's all good. Spread the naked uke love!

cpatch
01-27-2010, 11:57 AM
Since you're probably really wanting to know, Jason Arimoto is the best.

His myspace (http://www.myspace.com/jasonarimoto)
His Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/user/facemeltingukulele)

His cover of Gravity is amazing...musical minimalism at its finest (and possibly better than the original):


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICMT0w-A7Us

whetu
01-27-2010, 12:04 PM
ugh... I had a good response all written up and hit ctrl+x instead of command+x, damn you windows keyboard hooked up to my macbook!

Executive summary: Watch youtube/uketoob and decide for yourself. I rate Jason Arimoto too, but only because I have a bias: I was raised on blues. Otherwise I'd have a hard time choosing, you've got Aldrine, Jake, James, Taimane, WS64 and so on... I also must admit to having a soft spot for Chipswow (http://www.youtube.com/user/chipswow), she's adorable. I think the easiest answer is: "anyone who picks up a uke and plays it is the best player"

I think this video sums up the better aspects of uke-ing, here you have some of the best jamming, and none of them are trying to one-up the others, none of them are out for glory, they're just playing and enjoying the moment. To me that's what it's all about.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWX-LHohB2M

I thought it was especially cool of James to not only know the words to Victoria's song, but to only sing the chorus as a backup singer - it added a nice extra depth to it. Victoria should really get him in the studio and record that!


It's all good. Spread the naked uke love!

Hmmm, at first I thought I'd have to get my back waxed. Then I saw the word "Spread" and my thought process went all downhill :o

beeejums
01-27-2010, 12:07 PM
I'm the best.

J'Ukebox
01-27-2010, 12:20 PM
Totally agree!!


His cover of Gravity is amazing...musical minimalism at its finest (and possibly better than the original):


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICMT0w-A7Us

ukecantdothat
01-27-2010, 12:21 PM
I'm the best.

Goes w/o sayin', beeej... :nana:

buddhuu
01-27-2010, 12:38 PM
There's more to uke than just being good. Some well loved players are good, others are brilliant, still others are just themselves. We love 'em all.

Amongst my favourites (but there are others):

Krabbers
Seeso
BaronK69
4DJB25
ukecrazybitches
Iz
thejumpingflea
pebbl3s
Julia Nunes
Ken Middleton
deach69
kneebly
boozelele
WhenDogsSing
russbuss415
MissZooey
shanifawni

Oh, and SO many more.

Some you'll need to search here, others on Youtube. Apologies for not linking just now, but it's late and I have to sleep!

For me, uke is about character as much as it is about music.

BarbaryBill
01-27-2010, 12:54 PM
And I would add : Ukebucket because she's always smooth and often clever ; Doogey9 because Todds always just so relaxed and slick and natural and gifted. To be that good is special - as so many other tubers are!

Stew

Chris Tarman
01-27-2010, 01:02 PM
As far as uke-playing singer/songwriter types, I like Sophie Madeline and especially Victoria Vox. I love her voice. Also, as someone said above, Chipswow on Youtube is really adorable. I haven't really found many male folky singer/songwriter ukers, but admittedly I have not looked that much. I wish Richard Thompson played ukulele. That would be AWESOME! There are some interesting OLD ukelele singers though. George Formby comes to mind, although I can only listen in small doses. He did bawdy English Music Hall type songs. I have to say that I am more interested in the sort of '20s jazz-type ukulele than Hawaiian style stuff, but that is probably more upbringing and exposure. Oh! I don't know the singer's name, but check out the Moonlighters. Neat old fashioned jazzy stuff on ukulele, guitar, upright bass and steel guitar. They sound like they're from the '20s or '30s, but I know at least one of them came from a punk rock background.

Ukulele JJ
01-27-2010, 01:10 PM
I wish Richard Thompson played ukulele.

Oh man. I think I just peed myself a little bit.

JJ

Plainsong
01-27-2010, 01:14 PM
I think the easiest answer is: "anyone who picks up a uke and plays it is the best player"

I think this video sums up the better aspects of uke-ing, here you have some of the best jamming, and none of them are trying to one-up the others, none of them are out for glory, they're just playing and enjoying the moment. To me that's what it's all about.



This is too true! I met Mike Von D, who runs ukulele24.de, a great player and all around fun guy to be around, and he explained it like this. The first rule is that there is no such thing as a famous ukulele player.

Meaning no one is too good to be above jamming with others. He's got some wonderful stories of jamming with some of the greats, but it's supposed to be the kind of thing any uke player can do. No famous people in the uke community, we're all just about having fun and great music tends to come from that. :)

BarbaryBill
01-27-2010, 01:20 PM
Damned fine philosophy!

luvdat
01-27-2010, 01:45 PM
Who makes da bes' laulau? Wendall's! But some say Keoki's. Music like food is so subjective depends on your taste. Allot of people say Jake S. but to me no, not even close. I don't think there is a "THE BEST". I do have several favorites though.

And this is one of my favorite posts.

Sonseeker30
01-27-2010, 01:58 PM
All good advice...youtube is the way to go. I check out Keonepax and many others too.

open-road-matt
01-27-2010, 02:31 PM
Hey Everyone!
Thanks again for all the great info!


I assume that you, like me and so many others, want inspiration and even more, to get an idea of what is possible, what others are doing, song ideas, styles and more.

That is exactly what I'm looking for! I am as new to the ukulele as I could be both as a player and a listener. Prior to this post, the only ukulele players I had heard of were Jake Shimabukuro and Israel Kamakawiwo'ole meaning every other name posted here (and again I appreciate everyone's input) is brand new! How cool is that?! That's a ton of great new music to wade through!


Bettah dan poi, bettah dan pig, Wendall's laulau's frikin big! Got to agree with Ahnko Honu there are to many greats to pick just one.


I think the easiest answer is: "anyone who picks up a uke and plays it is the best player"

I wholeheartedly agree with all who have posted to say that there is no "best," and I hope it wasn't an offensive way to ask my question. All I was trying to do was to get people to do exactly what you have done for me and that is to list some of the folks on your "must listen to" list.

Thanks for taking the time to help me along!

Enjoy the day,
Matt

Chris Tarman
01-29-2010, 07:27 PM
I wish Richard Thompson played ukulele.

I don't know if he has ever recorded any ukulele, but I do have a recording of him doing the George Formby song "Why Don't Women Like Me?" on guitar.

hawaiianmusiclover06
01-29-2010, 11:21 PM
Herb Ohta, Jr.
Jody Kamisato
Jake & Bruce Shimabukuro
Kalei Gamiao
Keoki Kahumoku
Brittni Paiva
Taimane Garner
Imua Garza
Ohta-San

luvdat
01-29-2010, 11:56 PM
My favorite reminder of the "no best" outlook is the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain...collaborative all the way...and great!

Actually even if you read an interview with Jake S., he sees the uke itself with its tonal capacties and yes limitations as providing a kind of open, suggestive context which allows and requires the interpretative contribution of the listeners. In short, even solists who play or sing/play need to be collaborative.

The best players listen while they play (vs. "do" the notes) and the best players are colloborating with the listening audiience. This is NOT of course a reference to a performer's spoken intros...most of which, I really can't stand.

grappler
01-30-2010, 01:19 AM
i think this guys is pretty good
everyone covered most of it
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5jL38aMPYk

RevWill
01-30-2010, 04:50 AM
Mea Culpa:

I forgot to mention Aldrine in his own house. Sorry, Aldrine.

Plays as well as Jake, sings like an angel. Seriously.

SweetWaterBlue
01-30-2010, 05:41 AM
I don't know who is the best (whatever that is), but I subscribe to those I enjoy. When you find someone you do like, subscribe to their channel. That way, YouTube alerts you when they post new stuff, and you can also check out those on their subscribe list. Some of my favorites, I discovered when YouTube alerted me that someone whose talent and/or taste I respect favored one of their videos. I have also "discovered" great players by looking at the "Recommended for You" section on my YouTube account. It is done by one of Googles search algorithms, so sometimes it gives rather odd results, but it also works well most of the time.

I may be a bit odd in that I like earthy music sung and played by real people. I also appreciate a high level of technical accomplishment that really great players have attained. There are a few members of UU that are so polished and professional, that I don't listen to their music as much as some others who are less polished - if that makes any sense. That's probably why I like Willie Nelson more than I like very polished singers backed by full orchestras and a boatload of backup singers. I like them all, but...

DJ ukulele
03-01-2010, 07:41 AM
Imua Garza from opihi pickers is good

Link
03-01-2010, 08:04 AM
Aldrine guerrero, youtube is ukuleleoversoul. great singer, and obviously one of the best ukulele players alive. He's on a whole 'nother level.

hoosierhiver
03-01-2010, 09:43 AM
Gus and Finn!

blackunicorn
03-01-2010, 11:37 AM
can't agree more. :)

His songs make my clothes fall off...

I know this was a little while ago, but I have to say, this is pretty much the best thing I've ever seen anybody say about anything. Ever.

pulelehua
03-01-2010, 12:06 PM
can't agree more. :)

His songs make my clothes fall off...


There are so many things to say.....................................

but clearly Seeso should be the one to say them.

;)

New goal in life: to get a girl to say that about my playing.

We are talking about... never mind.

I'm reminded of When Harry Met Sally:

"You made a woman meow?"

Davethewave
03-04-2010, 01:34 PM
big fan of tiny tim myself lol

hawaiianmusiclover06
03-04-2010, 02:09 PM
Jake & Bruce Shimabukuro, Herb Ohta, Jr., Jody Kamisato, Bryan Tolentino, Aldrine, Imua Garza, Brittni Paiva, Taimane Gardner, and also Kalei Gamiao.

itsme
03-04-2010, 03:17 PM
Posting in a legendary thread so I can come back and check out all the recommendations. :)

One I don't think I've seen mentioned yet is Uni & Her Ukelele (yes, she spells it that way) who plays a sort of kitschy 80's style pop. I really like her On My Way (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8McSK-h_Yk). That's a total production number, but she does a lot of live solo stuff.

Hey, neat... when I went to youtube to get a link for that vid, MGM popped up as one of the top google ads. :cool:

Rick
03-04-2010, 03:33 PM
I don't think anyone is.. the best at it. But! there are tons of good players out there. Aldrine, Jake, Dominator, Guting, UKISOCIETY apparently and many more. I haven't really seen a bad 'ukulele player aha

Chris Tarman
07-02-2010, 04:50 PM
Sophie Madeliene
http://www.youtube.com/user/misssophiemadeleine

Nice uke player....beautiful singer and extra points for:
1.Being very pretty (Which is a rarety in the uke world!!!)
2.Writing her own songs...which are actually good (a rarety in the "good uke player" world)

AND she has amazingly perfect hair.

tnobes
07-02-2010, 05:25 PM
Umm....
I love this thread. I just found so many talented UUers that my computer might explode. So much uke to watch and so little time!

Brad Bordessa
07-02-2010, 05:49 PM
Imua Garza from opihi pickers is good

+1. Out of all the contemporary reggae band 'ukulele players Imua is definitely the best. He really breaks things up and plays melodically.

13jparker
07-03-2010, 04:32 AM
Julia Nunes!

Graymalkin
07-03-2010, 05:18 AM
No idea if she's any good or not (uke-n00bness, I'm afraid), but I absolutely love the noise tUnE-yArDs makes... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R004IiEFrB4

beckstraordinary
07-03-2010, 11:30 AM
shanifawni - Her songs/covers inspire revelations for me.
uketreehugger - Had her open for me in Ames, IA. I got to see her sing, play AND hula hoop at the same time. Amazing.
Peyrson - She is French, adorable, and sings like a bird.
Danielle Ate The Sandwich - Got to open for her here in Omaha. She has so much control over her voice, it's CRAZY.