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View Full Version : Which performer inspired you to start playing ukulele?



alndrkmp
09-01-2010, 04:08 PM
Which performer first inspired you to start playing ukulele? I know for many it will be Jake or maybe Iz. For me it was Ian Whitcomb. I found a cutout 8track of his album "Crooner Tunes" for next to nothing when I was in high school. (For you young people,maybe you can find out from Wikipedia what a "cutout" and an "8track" were). Let me know who got you started, Andy

TCK
09-01-2010, 04:31 PM
I am one of those people who should have been born a long time before I was...
My inspiration is an easy one

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNsLTB1vmm8
'course, I played RAMONES covers on my Martin type 3 when I first got it...took a while to seek out the goodness

kilaana
09-01-2010, 04:48 PM
Awesome! I like Ukulele Ike! I had never heard of him (aka Cliff Edwards) until I saw this post, and now I'm off to YouTube to hear more!

dianalele
09-01-2010, 04:58 PM
I had a fun approach to the ukulele. I just wanted a fun new instrument that no one else played. So, because ukes were cheaper than accordions I picked one up. lol.

and then i startd youtube uke players and my eyes got wider with everyone.
First, Julia Nunes- how fun!
then Braddah Iz- beautiful!
then Jake- thats not possible!!!!
then I came here, to assert my new addiction to the uke :)

so I wasn't inspired by anyone in the beginning, but I sure am now!

janeray1940
09-01-2010, 05:17 PM
I first played uke when I was a little kid, because I was too small to play a guitar. Then of course I became a teenager, and moved on to cooler pursuits. (Little did I know how *cool* the uke was!)

As an adult, though, I think I was inspired to pick it up again after seeing Janet Klein (http://www.janetklein.com/) perform.

tumnusLOVE
09-01-2010, 05:21 PM
Ingrid Michaelson. Lovely.

TCK
09-01-2010, 05:54 PM
Awesome! I like Ukulele Ike! I had never heard of him (aka Cliff Edwards) until I saw this post, and now I'm off to YouTube to hear more!
Glad to send someone else off down the right path...but we have all heard of Ukulele Ike- he did this (as Jiminy Cricket) before my dad was born, Dad spent his formative years watching it, and thus, my sister and I probably saw it oh...ten thousand times.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ1NYFFDT8I
Makes me smile still...kinda corny, but that is how I roll

Chris Tarman
09-01-2010, 06:03 PM
Initially, George Harrison. I bought a uke right after he died and played it for a while. It was a terrible instrument and I put it down after a while. Then in January of '09, for some reason I picked it up again and started messing with it. I did some internet searching, saw Jake playing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", was blown away, decided I needed a better uke, and then totally lost my mind and now have (I think) 14 of them. I don't really have any interest in trying to play like Jake (although I'm not opposed to stealing little bits from him!). I then found George Formby, Cliff Edwards, and Roy Smeck. That's more the sort of thing I want to play. Of course, there are newer players that amaze me too. On Youtube, Krouk (and his amazing Martin collection) does the sort of music I hear myself playing (at least in my head). I'm probably forgetting a ton of people, but "that's how I roll"!

DeG
09-01-2010, 06:14 PM
Troy Fernandez

mds725
09-01-2010, 06:28 PM
Awesome! I like Ukulele Ike! I had never heard of him (aka Cliff Edwards) until I saw this post, and now I'm off to YouTube to hear more!

Here's a little more about Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards. Most people don't know that he was the voice of Jiminy Cricket.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6omeanjaweA

AlohaUlulani15
09-01-2010, 06:36 PM
at first my family (ie cousins uncles) got me interested but they all played island reggae and i wanted to hear something different.

so when my dad popped in kapena into the CD player, i aspired to play like them

mm stan
09-01-2010, 06:49 PM
For me, It was my cousin who played at my father's funeral service...he's awesome...
MM Stan...

kenikas
09-01-2010, 07:11 PM
Roy Sakuma and Herb Ohta (Sr), and of course seeing Brudda Iz play live a couple times was a big push too. Oh almost forgot Troy Fernandez!

Brad Bordessa
09-01-2010, 08:51 PM
Nobody really inspired me to start. I MYSELF wanted to play. But the first guy to be a "hero" was Herb Ohta Jr. I got 'Ukulele Breeze at the library and thought it was just the bomb (it still is). Then I saw him in person on the steps in the Pahala Plantation house from about 5 feet playing Sir Duke and that was when I said: "Yeah. This is it."

ukecantdothat
09-01-2010, 08:57 PM
Harrison, in every way imaginable...

Ahnko Honu
09-01-2010, 09:09 PM
My dad since before I could remember always bustin' out his Kamaka pineapple for kanikapila at our Friday night pau hana parties. I miss my dad allot and try to honor his memory in many ways the 'ukulele being just one.

farmerboy
09-01-2010, 09:39 PM
Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain needs a mention here. Their sense of fun and nice arrangements made me think there may be fun to be had with this instrument and it may be one that would inspire others to have fun with music too - 60 kids and staff at the school I work at on the last count, but lots more to come!

philxbx
09-02-2010, 01:29 AM
I've had my ol' Keech knocking around since I was born but use to tune it to GDAE (Mandolin tuning) as I couldn't afford a proper Mandolin. Recent inspiration though has been Todd Baio, AKA doogey9. http://www.youtube.com/user/doogey9

Something about his style that really grabs me, and he's a top bloke to know!!

Here's one of my faves...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azARU7Mi2zs

Markwell
09-02-2010, 03:18 AM
I think when I was about 12 or 13 I was searching out of curiosity for different instruments on youtube, and ended up seeing finding a banjo ukulele video in the related videos tab. It was this video, I think:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9b4esVTOvM

And then I carried on watching more ukulele vids. I got a cheap 'Lazy' Ukulele from the music shop in my village. I originally wanted to get a banjo uke, but then found out how expensive they are (although there are a lot more makers now, at much more affordable prices).

My next uke definitely has to be a banjo uke.

rasputinsghost
09-02-2010, 03:52 AM
Iz -> Jake -> Julia Nunes. Boom.

Keef
09-02-2010, 04:09 AM
The uke boy did I don't know his name but I just wanted to have as much fun as he was :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErMWX--UJZ4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Monkeyswithladders
09-02-2010, 04:10 AM
Gugug for sure. From just browsing music videos on youtube, I stumbled upon Gugug's cover of Link Wray's Jack the Ripper. Directly influenced me to take home the $16 uke I saw at a surf shop a little while later; hadn't even considered the uke before.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wajQrVXOAIA

nickman2
09-02-2010, 04:16 AM
i think my fist was IZ... but then I found a really cool ukulele song by Hellogoodbye and that's when it started taking off. after that it was a lot of cover stuff then julia Nunes, George Formby, and the Monao company. but I think the very first preformer that inspired me was my good friend Connie.

spookefoote
09-02-2010, 06:43 AM
George Formby. He used to live round the corner from me.......... If I'd been born then!

RuthMarie
09-02-2010, 07:07 AM
Tally (live2tivo) inspired me. She was featured on the NaNoWriMo website, which inspired me to look up her YouTube videos, which inspired me to ask for a uke for Christmas. And the rest, as they say, is history!

Dougf
09-02-2010, 07:21 AM
My dad taught me to play when I was about ten years old, but I didn't get serious until a backpacking trip a couple years ago where I brought my kamaka and my bother in law brought his daughter's child-sized guitar. We had some great jams, but after listening to what he could do with that toy guitar, I decided to become a better uke player. Little did I know that the uke's world-wide resurgence was already well underway.

fiveqs
09-06-2010, 03:18 PM
I've enjoyed Hawaiian music for quite a while, especially Iz. It occurred to me to check out Uke stuff. Went looking around the web and on Youtube and found lots of great players. Ken Middleton almost hooked me with His very nice Gospel stuff. But... the guy that pushed me over the edge (and my Wife) was Wilfried Welti. I've been an early music fan a long time and love listening to lute performances (see LuthVal), but it hadn't occurred to me that it could be done on the Uke. When I started watching His vids it was stunning. Made my Wife come and watch. It was decided right then we were going to learn. Got hold of MGM and while we couldn't afford anything great we now have two Makalas, a soprano and a concertnad a Dolphin thrown in for good measure (Thank You Mike!!). The Uke makes it accessible for us. Being in our early fifties there aren't many instruments we could hope to get really proficient at. So begins the practice :-)
Don't know if He's on the board, but... Thank You Wilfried!!
Paul Q

Pippin
09-06-2010, 08:58 PM
I had my first ukulele while I was living in Teaneck, New Jersey (1962-1968) and plunked on it. I got really serious about playing in 1969 or so and had no inspiration from a particular uke player. At the time, there were occasionally uke players I'd see in film and on television, but, I grew up with a musical family that included a professional songwriting mother (with a Nashville contract), a father with a family on Broadway (NYC), and lots of singers and musicians. We were surrounded with musicians and performers. I took up guitar at age ten and started playing almost immediately, but by age twelve, I was on stage. So, I never had time to think about it and I have always had at least one ukulele in the house. I guess it is no surprise that I eventually started publishing Ukulele Player Magazine, given the history.

Graymalkin
09-06-2010, 11:46 PM
For me it was Erin Cavellier (Lady Lioness - look her up on Bandcamp, there's some lovely free stuff (although not all uke-based)) - not only because of her lo-fi sound and simple yet affecting arrangements, but also her encouraging me to uke it up and write some songs...

Hippie Dribble
09-07-2010, 01:01 AM
I had not even heard of any ukulele players except George Formby when I started playing about 4 or so years ago.

What got me interested was going into my local music shop and drooling over guitars that were invariably worth in excess of $1000 and unaffordable to me...then looking over my shoulder one day at the coloured Mahalo ukes on the wall with the yummy pricetag of $25 each. I bought one just for the fun of it. The rest is history...

Most inspiring performers I have gotten into are without doubt, 1. Lil' Rev 2. Cliff Edwards 3. Janet Klein and her Parlour Boys 4. The Old Spice Boys and 5. Lyle Ritz. Like everyone, Jake Shimabakuro amazes me but also intimidates me in equal measure. I can't help feeling a bit deflated after listening to him or watching him play.

bazmaz
09-07-2010, 01:05 AM
Without a doubt both George Harrison - http://gotaukulele.blogspot.com/2010/04/beatles-uke-cool.html

and

Loudon Wainwright III - http://gotaukulele.blogspot.com/2010/04/why-blog-name_17.html

Ukulele Jim
09-07-2010, 07:30 AM
Tom Hanks.

arashi_nero
09-07-2010, 08:42 AM
i think performers who inspired me to play were mainly don ho, tiny tim, and iz. after i bought my tenor, jake's music has inspired me to not only learn traditional stuff, but try to learn to push my boundaries.

uke552
09-07-2010, 06:16 PM
George Harrison and later Joe Brown.

Rich T
09-07-2010, 06:31 PM
Stan,
What did he play?

TCK
09-07-2010, 07:01 PM
Not enough love for GUGUG on here (although he was mentioned once)...to a guy who has collected SKA and reggae for 25 years, this fellow is a god.
My students are so sick of seeing this video, but yet, they are subjected to it daily (and it has led to 3 melodica players- when the cigar box drops next week, I am expecting some Uke fans too)

http://www.youtube.com/user/GUGUG#p/u/0/M7jAahzzlw4
Of course Ike as I said earlier...
and my wife. She wanted a banjo, I got her a $50 soprano instead (banjos are EXPENSIVE). The fact that she plays it every day makes me smile, and play every day as well.
Incidentally...I found this video when I learned the Melodica.

snau18
09-07-2010, 10:37 PM
I have to say that what got me starting to play ukulele was when I saw the video of aldrine guerrero playing his pokemon medly. I then looked around at his other videos making me want to play ukulele even more. He is such a great player :)

TonyI
09-08-2010, 08:19 AM
Certainly the UOGB but perhaps more significantly the incomparable virtuosity of John King.

His performance of Larry O'Gaff & Swallowtail Medley with James Hill will inspire me to the end of my days.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3j-b35zkGw

Rest In Peace Mr King

TonyI

pulelehua
09-08-2010, 11:51 AM
When a student wanted to start a ukulele club, I went and watched The Jerk again. Then, another student introduced me to Iz. Then, on my own, I discovered Jake, but honestly, the group that really did it for me, that made me think, "I want to play with them" were the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra.

Uncle-Taco
09-08-2010, 01:40 PM
I have but 3 early ukulele influences:

#1: The "big kids" at my elementary school. (There was a ukulele club for 3rd-6th graders. Couldn't WAIT to be old enough, but wasn't allowed to when I finally was.) .
#2: The old lady across the back fence. She'd sit on the patio in her robe & slippers with a bottle of White Horse scotch, a pack of Raleighs, and a ukulele. The drunker she'd get, the dirtier the songs and the better her performances. She kicked butt!
#3: Rowlf the dog from the Muppet Show. Jim Henson had great musical taste

iggy
09-08-2010, 04:41 PM
IZ! His voice, lyrics and style. Music that brought people of all races together. Love him
RIP IZ

Chris Tarman
09-08-2010, 05:35 PM
I have but 3 early ukulele influences:

#1: The "big kids" at my elementary school. (There was a ukulele club for 3rd-6th graders. Couldn't WAIT to be old enough, but wasn't allowed to when I finally was.) .
#2: The old lady across the back fence. She'd sit on the patio in her robe & slippers with a bottle of White Horse scotch, a pack of Raleighs, and a ukulele. The drunker she'd get, the dirtier the songs and the better her performances. She kicked butt!
#3: Rowlf the dog from the Muppet Show. Jim Henson had great musical taste

Those are the best influences I have read so far!

Zaza The Rebel
09-08-2010, 05:45 PM
Ingrid Michaelson, for sure. She still inspires me to keep playing, and I'm more than slightly obsessed so...

Also Julia Nunes!

TCK
09-08-2010, 06:30 PM
Best post EVER- need to find some White Horse.
But it left me wondering, why weren't you allowed to play in grade school?

I have but 3 early ukulele influences:

#1: The "big kids" at my elementary school. (There was a ukulele club for 3rd-6th graders. Couldn't WAIT to be old enough, but wasn't allowed to when I finally was.) .
#2: The old lady across the back fence. She'd sit on the patio in her robe & slippers with a bottle of White Horse scotch, a pack of Raleighs, and a ukulele. The drunker she'd get, the dirtier the songs and the better her performances. She kicked butt!
#3: Rowlf the dog from the Muppet Show. Jim Henson had great musical taste

the52blues
09-08-2010, 06:47 PM
Well....being Canadian I'm surprised I ever heard of a ukulele. The wave still hasn't really started much up here but I happened to hear James Hill in concert and was blown away. I know have 4 ukes.

Uncle-Taco
09-09-2010, 02:07 PM
Best post EVER- need to find some White Horse.
But it left me wondering, why weren't you allowed to play in grade school?

Not altogether sure. That's something mama took to her grave with her. Ukes wer 8 bucks (17 for a nicer one), and we could have handled that. I have an older sister who WAS allowed to play music and DID become a very accomplished musician who won scholarships. It was probably just that I was an obnoxious little squirt and would've bugged everybody to death.

OR...

Maybe Mama was just afraid I'd sit on the back porch in my robe drinking scotch and singing "Mabel, Mabel, strong and able, get your big --- off the table, those two bucks are laying there for beeeeeer...." (of course we uke people all know that's called FUN; that old neighbor lady was onto something.) :nana:

At the very end of grade school, though, my mom started working to support said sister's education. Since I went to school when everybody was gone, I sneaked off early and went to Uke Club anyway for a few months and borrowed a uke, or just sang along wishing I had one of my own. After the initial beating and the grounding, I did get away with it for a little while.

live2tivo
09-11-2010, 10:19 AM
Tally (live2tivo) inspired me. She was featured on the NaNoWriMo website, which inspired me to look up her YouTube videos, which inspired me to ask for a uke for Christmas. And the rest, as they say, is history!

Hey! Haha. This makes me happier than you could even imagine!

Kate Micucci is who got me hooked on the idea of playing the ukulele! I LOVE her.

ceviche
09-11-2010, 05:01 PM
The airlines. Hauling along a guitar guarantees an excess baggage charge. That's why, two years ago, I dragged out my 10-yr/old standard KoAloha to take with me. I sure kicked myself in the butt for not starting sooner. Talk about finding a hidden treasure in your own backyard.

--Dave E.

regine
11-22-2010, 07:27 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqVYozVviuo ....the beginning

and than I found this...... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zb4HjGkizRQ

Dane
11-22-2010, 07:39 AM
What sparked me to start playing was Jake, but I've always loved somewhere over the rainbow, really one of my favorite songs of all time.

The_Oddness_of_It_All
11-22-2010, 08:24 AM
I had never even much uke music before I started playing. I just picked an old junky one my mom had and never played and I loved it.

lambchop
11-22-2010, 08:26 AM
Abe Lagrimas Jr. - His version of Spain. Mike

Bill Mc
11-22-2010, 10:14 AM
About four months ago my girlfriend and I were at a birthday party for a three year old. The three year old's older sister - about seven years old - took out her ukulele and played Happy Birthday. In my entire life I had never heard a ukulele played live. The sound was so enchanting to me that I told my girlfriend I was going to buy a ukulele and teach myself to play. After some research I purhased my first ukulele a Lanikai NK-T. I'm sure glad I went to that party !

Harold O.
11-22-2010, 12:08 PM
ricdoug pushed me over the edge. Anonymously, by happy accident, entirely at random.

afeistyfiesta
11-22-2010, 03:07 PM
Awesome! I like Ukulele Ike! I had never heard of him (aka Cliff Edwards) until I saw this post, and now I'm off to YouTube to hear more!

"ukulele ike" sang "When You Wish Upon A Star" and was the voice for Jimminy Cricket.

afeistyfiesta
11-22-2010, 03:11 PM
For me, I was on vacation in Hawaii in 2002 (my senior year of high school), and I asked a guy in a record store, "If I were to buy one Hawaiian record to take back with me to the mainland, what should it be," and he handed over "Alone in IZ World" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, and my life was changed forever. I went the next day to Bounty Music and bought and a solid Australian blackwood Lehua tenor ukulele. It is crazy that at first you couldn't find anything ukulele to save your life, and now they're EVERYWHERE! I love it love it love it.

cletus
11-22-2010, 04:04 PM
Back in the olden days (last March), on 'the youtube' when I was first getting interested in this ukulele idea I was having... I remember after seeing

ukulelezo *(swoon)* with "She Don't Use Jelly" and pauljmuk doing "Creep" making me think it was entirely possible. Then I discovered GUGUG and it was all over...

and here I stand, Fluke in hand.

OldePhart
11-22-2010, 04:40 PM
None of the above. I actually picked up a uke so I could learn to play it well enough to teach my granddaughter to play. She is six, almost seven, and started showing an interest in my guitars a few months ago. Her hands are way too small for even a 3/4 sized guitar so I figured the uke was a good bet.

That was about three months, four ukes, and $1300 ago, and I just ordered my granddaughter's uke last night...

Now, once I decided to get a uke I'd say that Jake, Taimane, WS64, Gus and Fin (GUGUG), Ken Middleton, The Dirty Johnson, Ukulele Mike, DominatorUke, and a few other youTube folks have definitely kept my interest up.

John

Gmoney
11-22-2010, 04:58 PM
My daughter. She came home from Charleston, SC with a $25 Savannah uke she bought at a pawn shop & sang & accompianed herself through Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah & a couple others. I was hooked!

[and technically, my daughter IS actually a performer, having done musical theater for most of the last 10 years - the girl has an amazing voice!]

vacuousnacho
11-23-2010, 03:32 AM
Well honestly I just wanted to play an instrument and randomly picked up an ukulele, but Aldrine is the one who really inspired me to keep playing and improve my skills.

habe
11-23-2010, 03:47 AM
I've always wanted to learn to play guitar but (and I know this is probably just an excuse), never started because my jobs working hours makes taking lessons impossible.

I saw Uncle Willie K play in Honolulu in September at a private party and I was hooked.

Came home, started searching the internet for as much info as I could find and landed here. I next discovered Musicteacher2010's lessons on Youtube. Between the lessons/help here and lessons on Youtube, I figured that I really could make a go of it without formal sit down lessons. I also just found out that one of our new airtraffic controller trainees at work is a pretty good guitar player. He told me he'd help me any music reading, theory, etc. type questions that I come up with.

habe

Jnobianchi
11-23-2010, 05:10 AM
I started in the late 70's on baritone uke so I could work up to guitar. Then, it was clown Bill Irwin and musician Doug Skinner that got me back on the path - I saw them do this show in 1983 and was hooked, though it took me 25 years to find the sheet music for Pasadena:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q52gbIYXVzg

Then, a couple of years later, I finally heard George Formby, and that has just been the greatest. It seems he had a bottomless collection of songs, but this was the first I heard:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEymZ3rXOmc&playnext=1&list=PL33C79029A2FFDA3E&index=13

Ukulele Ike was also a big influence for me - His "That's my Weakness Now" is my favorite of his, I think.

rem50
11-23-2010, 02:29 PM
For me it was Julia Nunes. Saw her playing build me up buttercup and it looked like so much fun. Had to get one after that.

tjomball
01-17-2011, 12:52 AM
For me personally.. Amanda Palmer

CountryMouse
01-17-2011, 01:10 AM
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. :)

CountryMouse

BWright
01-17-2011, 01:46 AM
It was the character played by Jason Robards in the movie "A Thousand Clowns" playing "Yes Sir, That's My Baby". That became the first song I learned.

Eric Blooduke
01-17-2011, 01:54 AM
Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

Nick from PA
01-17-2011, 08:49 AM
For me it was seeing Irish duo Guggenheim Grotto (http://www.guggenheimgrotto.com/) play. First time I had ever heard live ukulele.

CTurner
01-17-2011, 09:04 AM
Lyle Ritz and the idea that the ukulele had much more depth and variety than I had imagined.

Nelson-Fritata
01-17-2011, 09:17 AM
At first it was Julia Nunes, who i stumbled over accidentily on youtube. After some exploring i came across Aldrine, and then i was sold.

experimentjon
01-17-2011, 10:05 AM
It was the one and only Mr. Danyo Cummings for me. Then old school, I-Am-Hawaii-Aldrine taught the skills. :)

Chap
01-17-2011, 10:30 AM
For me, it was Mr. B, the Gentleman Rhymer.

philpot
01-17-2011, 11:02 AM
Uhm... Tiny Tim xD After watching this particular video actually... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjzqlIK_aN0&feature=related
Its nothing horribly impressive but him and his uke just made me want to pick one up and play. As much hate as he gets for using it as a novelty act, I think he deserves more respect then he gets :P

OldePhart
01-17-2011, 12:19 PM
Wow, there are so many. Very near the top of the list would be Tamaine Gardner, followed closely and in no particular order by Jake, GUGUG (YT), WS64 (YT and here), Ken Middleton, rawuke (YT), and several others I can't think of at the moment, but the folks listed above illustrate pretty well the versatility of the instrument!

John

Miss Michele
01-17-2011, 05:40 PM
I was wanting a little music in my life, so I started to search for instruments to play. I saw the little uke boy playing the uke, and thought to myself, Well, if he can do it so can I! So a little more research on the uke and I was hooked!

Sake1one
01-17-2011, 06:13 PM
Braddah Tory Fernandez!

angeltreats
01-17-2011, 10:34 PM
Nobody famous actually... a lifelong friend of mine back home posted on his Facebook one day "ukulele makes me happy". He's an amazingly talented guitarist and I thought if he was playing a uke then it must be a good thing to learn, so I had a look at some Youtube videos and immediately wanted one :)

bobby b
01-18-2011, 01:48 PM
Troy Fernandez :shaka: