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View Full Version : At 100 years old, he's found a tiny musical destiny



seeso
09-02-2008, 08:00 PM
http://img392.imageshack.us/img392/3497/02readukulele1largebz8.jpg

At 100 years old, he's found a tiny musical destiny

Bill Tapia spent the 20th century playing guitar with jazz greats. He's spending the 21st as a ukulele man.

By DEEPA BHARATH
The Orange County Register

WESTMINSTER As Bill Tapia held his ukulele on stage in the Monarch Room of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu, the last 100 years of his life flashed before his eyes like a vision in IMAX.

Tapia saw himself, little Willy, dishing out 75 cents from his beat-up coffee can to buy his first ukulele from a beer-bellied folk singer.

He saw himself as Young Willy, 10, giving ukulele lessons to grown men. Willy was the first in the islands, or, for that matter, anywhere, to produce divine jazz from, yes, a ukulele.

He even saw himself as the 12-year-old who quit school to hit the road and entertain the masses with a vaudeville group. That's how he became Bill Tapia, the accomplished jazz guitarist, who jammed with such all-time greats as Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Billy Holiday, Fats Waller and Charlie Barnett.

http://img205.imageshack.us/img205/3687/readukulele10largevl4.jpg

A century galloped by and Tapia was back where he started.

The 100-year-old stood, still elegant, in his tuxedo and shimmering silver hair and beard; his still-nimble fingers decked in rings of turquoise and gold, his neck adorned with a ruby encrusted golden crucifix.

He was at home, in Honolulu, at the same hotel where he had performed as a young man.

Holding a ukulele.

Read the rest of the article and see more pictures of Mr Tapia at the link. (http://www.ocregister.com/articles/ukulele-tapia-years-2143720-willy-one)

Guting
09-02-2008, 08:18 PM
props to DA man!

UkeNinja
09-02-2008, 08:49 PM
"the bonsai of instruments"

I would love to be a journalist and write all those nice little puns, instead of boring articles all the time. Thanks for the heads up, seeso. That was a good read, and I was so ignorant to think Mr. Tapia had spent his life playing ukulele, when it was actually a rendez vous with his old love.

UkuLeLesReggAe
09-02-2008, 09:21 PM
dat be all of uz if we lived to 100 :D

ukeninam
09-02-2008, 09:30 PM
What an amazing article, truly inspiring. Its amazing that even at Bill's age he is still doing what he loves to do, Music. I just hope I can do the same!!! HERE's to GOOD HEALTH and UNDYING love of the UKULELE!!!

cheers!!

UkuLeLesReggAe
09-02-2008, 10:20 PM
What an amazing article, truly inspiring. Its amazing that even at Bill's age he is still doing what he loves to do, Music. I just hope I can do the same!!! HERE's to GOOD HEALTH and UNDYING love of the UKULELE!!!

cheers!!

hahaha true... now i have a reason to live to 100

russ_buss
09-03-2008, 05:01 AM
nice find seeso, that was a great article.

i wonder if those men in the dusty alley playing uke, smoking cigarettes and drinking whiskey lived to 100. i know i won't!:)

seeso
09-03-2008, 05:31 AM
Don't miss the audio slideshow. (http://media2.ocregister.com/slideshow/ukulele1209/)

Fred Miu
09-03-2008, 05:33 AM
now thats dedication

Neil Cursed Diamond
09-03-2008, 07:21 AM
Bill Tapia has had an incredible career. To play with Billie Holliday and still playing when hes 100, thats wild.