Ukulele Player, Sydney
What is the pre-occupation with guitarist/singers?
Typically, when a pub hires a solo musician, you see someone sitting on a stool, staring at an ipad playing the same four-chord songs as every other solo musician. What you end up with is the “McDonald’s hamburger” version of pop music. The music is bland and generic, and the connection with the audience is non-existent.
In recent years, singers using ipads has become common place. As a professional singer with twenty-plus years of live experience, I am appalled. I am “old-school” in my view that lyrics and chords need to be memorized. Singing lyrics off an ipad is simply laziness on behalf of the performer. Can you imagine watching a film where the actors are reading the script off an ipad? When I perform, I pride myself on making connections with the people I am performing to.
The ukulele is associated with the island of Hawaii, but it’s origins are actually from Portugal. Portuguese immigrants to Hawaii brought with them a small, four-stringed guitar-like instrument called the Machete. This was adapted by the Hawaiians into what is now the ukulele. A rough translation of “ukulele” is jumping flea.
Why Hire a Ukulele Player/Singer Instead of Guitarist/Singer?
The answer is probably best summarized by what someone once said to me on a gig I was playing at. He said, “It’s impossible not to smile when you hear someone play the ukulele”.
Yes, the ukulele is a happy sounding instrument, but what constantly amazes me is the connection that people make with it. When I perform, I strive for engagement, and the ukulele accomplishes this with surprising effectiveness.
Simple (and complicated) pop songs are given a fresh coat of paint, and the colours are bright and vivid. It gives an added extention to the concept derived by Triple Jay (the radio station) with their “Like A Version”.