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Lalz
08-27-2012, 06:56 AM
Hi all!

Just wanted to remind everyone - in particular new members - that we have a UU group for African ukulele players (slash of-African-origins slash interested-in-African-music-on-the-ukulele-in-general), which at the moment is desperately empty (I'm the only member atm).

Pleas join in, it's cold and windy in there without you... :anyone:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/group.php?groupid=232

~dave~~wave~
08-27-2012, 04:26 PM
We're ready, sign us up.
Uke-adelic tenor, Kala uke bass with dread strings and my little lion.

I claim to be of African origin, since that's the continent where the human race originated, though ethnically I'm euro.

I love African, Afrobeat and reggae, and know those grooves and riddims are a good fit on uke.

Someone just asked for the chords to a reggae tune I'd never heard in Song Help, took 10 seconds to figure out G - Am.
With groove based music it's more about rhythm and feel than lots of jazzy chords.

**********************************
So help me out, I'm new here.
It seems that "groups" haven't much traction on this forum.

The reggae group has 68 members but doesn't appear very lively at the moment.

Would we do better posting whatever comes to mind in the appropriate thread?

Lalou, didn't you mention highlife songs in an alternate tunings thread? Got YouTube links, charts?

Lalz
08-27-2012, 11:17 PM
Hurray!! Now we're two! Hopefully more people will join in :) I started a thread long ago, might dig it out and try resurrect it, or we could just continue on this one. One of its main conclusions from the other thread was that there isn't enough Africans on UU if I remember well haha. (UPDATE: here's the thread here (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?62038-African-ukulele-players))

Yes, I love High Life music, it's the soundtrack of my childhood! I've been experimenting with some ukulele tunings and been playing along with songs to see what worked best for the uke, but I haven't gone very far yet.

I have a few pro musicians in my West-African side of the family, but they live in other countries so I don't get the opportunity to learn things from them very often. And I currently live in the least African-populated region of England it seems, haha. So instead I just listen to lots of records, read books and go online. I have a book called Guitar Atlas that describes how to play all kinds of guitar styles from around the world, including the African continent, and I'm slowly trying to translate it into how to play the uke that way: desert blues, griot-style, high-life etc. This website has some interesting info about typical african guitar-playing and tunings too: http://www.alisdair.com/africanpages/africanguitar.html and this video shows some picking technique:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfIG6B-C8L0

Here's a sample of more videos I like. All with guitar though, somehow the uke doesn't seem to be used much over there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-OYI51CU_g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3s5M-VC8R8

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZCGxW59Kbk

We had some discussions on the Appalachian Music thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?52749-Appalachian-Tabs-and-Chords) a while ago about the banjo and about how the instrument and some of its playing technique come from Africa (reminds me I should update that thread's summary. Whoops!)

Then there's my other favourite instrument alongside the uke (and the drums): the ngoni (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ngoni_(instrument)), from Mali. I don't play it (yet) but I've been trying to see how ngoni playing can translate into uke-playing. I'm not skilled enough to make anything interesting out of it though lol That instrument has funny tunings as well, see http://www.kora-music.com/d/familie.htm and scroll down to "Ngoni / Konting / Xalam". It's hard to find more info online or in books because most of the knowledge about this type of instruments and music is transmitted orally, there's not much written about it. But I could share some findings about ngoni > uke as I go along if anyone is interested.

Here's a great website: www.sahelsounds.com (http://sahelsounds.com/), and a great youtube channel: ngoniba (http://www.youtube.com/user/ngoniba)

What about you? What have you been playing and looking into?

Ukeval
08-27-2012, 11:23 PM
I'll join too, as I spend 4 years when very young child in Burkina Faso (in Bobo Dioulasso) and since I'm an Africa lover...
Here is an interesting video, for those who don't know Ronnie.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx4cRw6TIIg

Lalz
08-27-2012, 11:51 PM
Hurray! Our group's population has now tripled in the past hours :)
Love Ronnie, her playing technique is just brilliant!

Barbablanca
08-28-2012, 01:23 AM
Hurray! Our group's population has now tripled in the past hours :)
Love Ronnie, her playing technique is just brilliant!

HIS playing technique ??? .... despite appearances (and thousands of Internet "Shares" about wonderful female African guitarist) I am reliably informed that Ronnie is a guy, not a gal.

Barbablanca
08-28-2012, 01:24 AM
Did you see my opening post on the group page?

Lalz
08-28-2012, 01:32 AM
Oh, you're right, he's a dude! Whoops! Great musician in any case :)
Just saw your post in the group page! AWESOME!
Let's share what we know and combine our love for the continent with our love for the uke!

~dave~~wave~
08-28-2012, 07:10 AM
This website has some interesting info about typical african guitar-playing and tunings too: http://www.alisdair.com/africanpages/africanguitar.html and this video shows some picking technique:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfIG6B-C8L0


I am working on this riff on my a low-g tenor, sounds pretty good, I'm more of a strummer than a finger-picker, so this is a great.

Bbm-Ab-Gb 3111-5343-3121 is how I hear it.

Bonus to playing on uke - no capo needed. :o

Lalz
08-28-2012, 08:15 AM
I am working on this riff on my a low-g tenor, sounds pretty good, I'm more of a strummer than a finger-picker, so this is a great.

Bbm-Ab-Gb 3111-5343-3121 is how I hear it.

Bonus to playing on uke - no capo needed. :o

Ah nice! I just tried the chords fingerings you wrote, they work really well, thanks! Before I had just repeated the fingerpicking patterns without caring too much about the chords.

I agree, I think the uke with a low G is great for this style, because the thumb is used to produce a simple bassline / drone bass note.

For more traditional West-African stuff like griot music, I find re-entrant tunings to work well because the drone notes - either picked with the thumb (ngoni 4th string) or the middle finger (ngoni 1st string) I think - are usually higher pitched than the melody played with the middle strings, the ones "fretted" by the left hand:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2gBZ2rn-SQ

Well in this case, his middle finger is used for the rhythm, but you see what I mean.

This one is nice too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txbvomNWDcc

This one is sort of equivalent to a re-entrant baritone... sort of :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avP0XPtIAzs

Although some seem to have a lower pitch drone string??

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1FMGq6gE_k

Ukeval
08-28-2012, 08:28 AM
Do you have any traditional african music in tabs for uke ? (I mean not chords diagrams, real tabs) ?
Another question, who is playing balafon ? I love balafon.

Lalz
08-28-2012, 01:07 PM
Do you have any traditional african music in tabs for uke ? (I mean not chords diagrams, real tabs) ?
Another question, who is playing balafon ? I love balafon.

Tabs: I really wish I did! Most of this kind of music isn't written down though, at least not the traditional stuff. I once stumbled upon kora scores: it was in a really weird notation and I didn't get any of it. That guitar book (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0739055631/ref=asc_df_07390556319417661?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&tag=googlecouk06-21&linkCode=asn&creative=22206&creativeASIN=0739055631) I have has some scores for guitars though, but not whole songs, only snippets. Been trying to transcribe some of it into uke tabs but I'm very very slow at it. Ah those two extra strings!
Would be great if people had uke tabs indeed.
"Hey you visiting this thread right now, yes you on the other side of the screen. If you have some, please share them with us! Thanks!"

Lalz
09-24-2012, 11:40 AM
Look what I found on this French ukulele site called Tonton Remy: chords to African pop songs!

http://www.tontonremy.com/ukulele/partoches/afro/

Yay! :)

uke4ia
09-24-2012, 12:26 PM
I like a lot of music from Madagascar, but I haven't found anything to do with it on uke. Mostly because of the vocals. My CDs at most will give a basic description of what a song is about. I don't see much point in singing the song in Malagasy, though I found some of the Malagasy lyrics on-line. And I'd have to write my own set of lyrics based on what I think the song is supposed to be about. I figured out the chords for this song "Ramiaramila" by the band Mahaleo, and I've considered writing my own lyrics to their song "Tongava Re".



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhLdOHzq0Qk

Ben_H
09-24-2012, 11:06 PM
I'd have to go searching for it again but there was a clip on humble baritonics where someone was working on african rhythms then played an original song. All good stuff!

Barbablanca
09-24-2012, 11:43 PM
What joy that Malagasy musician radiates! :D

Lalz
09-25-2012, 03:16 AM
Wow, great video!!