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View Full Version : Ukulele as a tool of protest movements



ichadwick
01-07-2013, 01:08 AM
When I was growing up, the acoustic guitar was the prime musical instrument at protests - fighting for civil rights, against war, against poverty, for workers' rights and other causes.

Will the ukulele replace the guitar as the prime tool for musical protest? When I saw this story, I thought it could:

www.addictinginfo.org/2012/05/20/wisconsin-2/ (http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/05/20/wisconsin-2/)

Not only a good story about protesting a social injustice, but a fun song, too:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ww9ZSP6iAA

foxisaac
01-07-2013, 01:21 AM
Fantastic Idea, however after bangin one out on that didgeridoo, you're GONNA BE BARREN

PhilUSAFRet
01-07-2013, 02:38 AM
Protest the anti gun people or they'll be coming for our ukes next....:music:

drbekken
01-07-2013, 02:59 AM
Here's one:
http://youtu.be/ZsXk1bI9hpY
Lots of great songs if you search for 'ukulele' + 'protest' on youtube.

hoosierhiver
01-07-2013, 04:25 AM
It would be easier to run with a ukulele if necessary.

Harold O.
01-07-2013, 04:56 AM
Regardless of instrument, why is it the people we see protesting/chanting usually have the hippie look?

The video above was done by Second City and hardly counts as a "true" protest video. Fun though it is.

mattydee
01-07-2013, 05:13 AM
I also did a Wisconsin protest uke vid, (As it happens, my first uke video ever, you can tell because I'm so stiff in it), which went viral during the big protests at the Capitol to Recall Walker a couple of yers ago. I originally made the video for Mim's remix contest, so I remixed Cee-Lo's F@€! You as a Woody Guthrie stule protest song. Friends got it out on facebook and two days later i had 20,000 hits. Then I was asked to sing and play at a couple of protest events and recall fundraisers.

Anyway, I won't embed because of severe language and politics. You can find it on my Youtube channel (link in signature...)

There were LOTS of drums at the Capitol,and a guitar or two. I only remember one other uke. Amanda Palmer brought her uke to the Occupy Wall Street protest, I recall.

Paul December
01-07-2013, 05:22 AM
I brought my uke to the Chicago teachers' strike, but you could barely hear it...
...but I do now consider it "baptised".

garyg
01-07-2013, 05:58 AM
Great post, can you provide the link - the one on the video doesn't work. TIA, g2

CountryMouse
01-07-2013, 06:12 AM
When I was growing up, the acoustic guitar was the prime musical instrument at protests - fighting for civil rights, against war, against poverty, for workers' rights and other causes.

Will the ukulele replace the guitar as the prime tool for musical protest? When I saw this story, I thought it could:

www.addictinginfo.org/2012/05/20/wisconsin-2/ (http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/05/20/wisconsin-2/)

Not only a good story about protesting a social injustice, but a fun song, too:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ww9ZSP6iAA

Wow, nice take on the Baez sisters' protest poster:

http://osocio.org/message/girls_say_yes_to_boys_who_say_no_-_joan_baez_1968/

CountryMouse

Garydavkra
01-07-2013, 06:40 AM
Why not the ukulele? I recently read an article about how the native people of Hawaii are claiming their sovereignty and will no longer honor any signed documents with the U.S.. Apparently the state legislature backs it up. Whether it's true or not, I don't know but, the Lakota native Americans are doing the same thing with their nation.

bnolsen
01-07-2013, 06:48 AM
Why not the ukulele? I recently read an article about how the native people of Hawaii are claiming their sovereignty and will no longer honor any signed documents with the U.S.. Apparently the state legislature backs it up. Whether it's true or not, I don't know but, the Lakota native Americans are doing the same thing with their nation.

The US kind of needs that military base though...

and yeah, I would much prefer to have a uke and a couple of ocarinas with me while on the run. Wolverines! well...an ocarina will blow your position so have to rethink that.

ichadwick
01-07-2013, 07:00 AM
Sure, what are you going to do if the other side is doing the protests?
Generally protests are anti-government/anti-establishment. Party doesn't matter: it's people protesting against the acts of the authorities. You don't get a lot of people playing folk songs and carrying posters thanking the government for higher taxes, bigger pensions for themselves, more influence by lobbyists, or increased spending on the military.

ichadwick
01-07-2013, 07:02 AM
Regardless of instrument, why is it the people we see protesting/chanting usually have the hippie look?
You think they look like hippies? We musta grown up in different eras. I was there in the 60s. These women look like moms, not hippies. To me, anyway.

mm stan
01-07-2013, 07:31 AM
The US people have so little protests compared to other countries...where the people have a voice and stand up for injustice and themselves..much calamity, but they do get heard...:)
Such pretty gals though, food for thought....my chances with them are NIL.. they got a good point though... LOL

RyanMFT
01-07-2013, 08:06 AM
Was she also protesting tuning her ukulele?

23skidoo
01-07-2013, 08:11 AM
I've always thought it was interesting that most protest music is really just rallying the troops and preaching to the choir. No matter what the cause, most of the 'protest' art created to support any given movement is generally in a form that only appeals to the kind of people who already agree with the political or social stance being advanced. I know this is a pretty broad statement, but I don't think the folkies in the 60's changed too many minds outside of their own demographic - most of the straight folks back then just called them long hair dopers and kept listening to Perry Como or Porter Wagoner.

Maybe the ukulele could buck this trend...... we need to get Lady Gaga and Carrie Underwood to do an ukulele duet supporting the Occupy Wall Street folks. Now that would be interesting.....

UkuleleThreads
01-07-2013, 10:10 AM
47248
LET THE REVOLUTION BEGIN!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/114707575/viva-la-ukulele-t-shirt

NinetySimonSomething
01-07-2013, 10:37 AM
Already on it on my facebook acc. ^^, so yeah, let it be sung wonderfuls !
Metta

CountryMouse
01-07-2013, 11:32 AM
...

Maybe the ukulele could buck this trend...... we need to get Lady Gaga and Carrie Underwood to do an ukulele duet supporting the Occupy Wall Street folks. Now that would be interesting.....

Amanda Palmer has been/is doing just that...with her ukulele.

CountryMouse

OldePhart
01-07-2013, 12:52 PM
Was she also protesting tuning her ukulele?


Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

fowl
01-07-2013, 03:51 PM
I had a protest group back in the 60's with this motto.

HELP STAMP OUT QUICKSAND

I would not want my ukes close to that.

Harold O.
01-07-2013, 04:43 PM
You think they look like hippies? We musta grown up in different eras. I was there in the 60s. These women look like moms, not hippies. To me, anyway.

Not those women, Ian. I was speaking in more general terms. The ones who get most play on TV seem to be the furthest out there, unfortunately. That video is from the Second City Network (a comedy group), not a "real" protest anyway. Maybe we should protest the protest video.

Better yet, I will stay out of it.

ricdoug
01-07-2013, 04:44 PM
Sure, what are you going to do if the other side is doing the protests? Like these are Republicans or Tea Party or Democrats or what, and the other side are Republicans, Democrats or Tea Party or what - you can tell how good my knowledge of US politics is? Or is it only one side that is going to be allowed to use ukuleles for protests in the USA by people in Canada and Australia and Europe. Personally I have had enough of US politics, especially when it is people who live in Australia, Canada and Europe who are talking about USA politics, trying to tell the USA what to do, when Australia, Europe and Canada have their own problems. It certainly sells a lot of newspapers, but it does not change a lot of stuff. I would like to let the citizens of the USA work out their own problems. We have enough of our own here in Australia to keep the politicians busy for the foreseeable future, you probably have a few in Canada as well.

We agree, Bill. This thread has plenty of offensive political content. Ric

mattydee
01-07-2013, 05:44 PM
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Dudes. Amanda Palmer is a punk rocker. Tuning matters less to her.

Or it did. She's a lot more in tune now, and playing better ukes these days. Gone are the old Hilo days - I've seen her with a Pono and a Koaloha I think.

haolejohn
01-07-2013, 05:45 PM
It would be easier to run with a ukulele if necessary.

LOL!! Running from the dogs and the fire hose.

Hippie Dribble
01-07-2013, 05:46 PM
Just playing the ukulele is as big a social protest as I need to make. :)

drbekken
01-07-2013, 06:57 PM
Just playing the ukulele is as big a social protest as I need to make. :)

Exactly. The relatively inexpensive ukulele, along with the simplification of recording processes, is a great way of making it possible for EVERYBODY (rich enough to get a uke and a recording device, though) to play and sing and spread their music internationally on the internet. That's a way to tell multi-national record companies and over-hyped artists - whoever they might be - to get lost.

There is nothing wrong with singing about whatever social issues that concern you, wherever they take place. I believe everybody should worry about what goes on in the US, for instance. It's a major superpower, running the world. Still, the majority of the world's population has no say in how their world is run by them. The same goes for China, who even runs the uke world a little, turning out cheap ukuleles by the million... If the world was truly democratic, we'd get rid of borders and give over power to a 'world congress' or 'world parliament'. There'd probably be some changes made. Interesting thought...probably scary as Hell to a lot of people (including me, I suppose). On the other hand, I would love to know more about what gets people out on the street to protest in other countries as well. There is no need to agree with every protester, even if they play ukes (or pianos, tubas, guitars or accordions, like I do).

AndrewKuker
01-07-2013, 08:14 PM
I've always thought it was interesting that most protest music is really just rallying the troops and preaching to the choir. No matter what the cause, most of the 'protest' art created to support any given movement is generally in a form that only appeals to the kind of people who already agree with the political or social stance being advanced.

so true.

of course this is hardly protest music. they aren't even trying to appeal to our intelligence by even imagining this dude getting laid? Geez, they're kind of gross for even bringing it up..there like- who's gonna do you now?, and the one lady says "I won't".... ??? oh that got him. take that republicans!..??

mds725
01-07-2013, 09:35 PM
Ukulele rebellion!

47264

Lalz
01-08-2013, 12:17 AM
One problem I've noticed around here is that most protests tend to be hijacked by certain angry political groups (which I won't name) who start claiming any cause as their own and antigonise everyone else. You could try to stage a protest against something that affects everyone regardless of political affiliation (say the dreadful English weather hehe) and those people will show up with flags and political pamphlets like it's the 1910's all over again, shouting at every single by-passer about their own political agenda that has nothing to do with the topic at hand. Really annoying because completely beside the point and also so terribly aggressive that no one will stop and listen to what the actual protesters have to say.

This happened again at a protest I went to the other day. I was getting really annoyed because the idea was to raise public awareness about a specific issue and those hijackers just kept barking at pedestrians and scaring them away. Not very helpful. Until a woman took her ukulele out and started singing funny witty songs where she changed the lyrics of xmas songs to fit the topic of the protest. It was great! The atmosphere suddenly got much more relaxed, people on the street stopped and paid attention instead of running away, smiled, started talking with us, and many understood what the point of the protest was and agreed with it. Even the police officers hehe. The hijackers left. Hurray!

So ukulele as a tool for protest movements: yes please! Anything that brings people together, puts a smile on their face and helps start a friendly public dialogue is a great.

Garydavkra
01-08-2013, 08:19 AM
The US kind of needs that military base though....

Yes, they mentioned that. I believe they said that the U.S. will have to pay them to have it there.

Plainsong
01-08-2013, 12:13 PM
Hey, it's an instrument, and it's easy enough for everyone to learn, and more portable than say, a piano. You only use your hands to play, so your voice is free to sing. That makes it game for anyone to pick up and take with them, to be used for their cause of choice. Some will suck, some will be awesome. And some of the best music around, is the type that protests something. That's something that's yet to change.

This song isn't a protest song, or so I thought. I thought it was part of a sketch from Second City, which has already been mentioned and ignored. But I think if I was gonna write my big magnum opus killer protest song, I'd tune. ;)