Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mighty Uke!

I might be late to the party on this, but I've only recently seen the ukulele documentary, Mighty Uke. I don't know exactly when this movie premiered, but I think it was close to a year ago. Anyway, since it's a ukulele documentary, I figured I must watch it so I ordered a DVD. I got it a few weeks ago and have watched it a couple of times. The main point of the movie is to discuss how the ukulele made it's "comeback". I would say that I've enjoyed the movie quite a bit, I mean, it IS about the ukulele. It gave some history of how the ukulele came into being and discussed the ukulele through many interviews with various people having to do with the ukulele as well as sort of a case study of the Langley Ukulele Ensemble. I did wish there were a few more things they covered with this documentary. Specifically, I would have liked to see more about the fall of the ukulele. I think the film basically pinned the fall of the ukulele on Tiny Tim and rock 'n roll music. I felt there should have been more devoted to the fall of the ukulele since the film is about the "comeback". From the movie I didn't feel like there was all that much to "comeback" from for the ukulele, to be honest. I think it would have been more fascinating if more time was devoted to why the ukulele fell out of favor in parts of the world outside Hawaii. I would have also liked to have seen some interviews with the Ukulele Underground crew to represent some of the younger generation of ukulele players. But in fairness they can't cover everything ukulele so it's understandable that not everyone could be included. Aside from the main feature, there are also 10 short films about various ukulele related people and things. Those short films are pretty interesting and are a pretty nice bonus.

All in all, I found it an enjoyable viewing experience, especially since I am a ukulele nut. I'm not exactly sure if it's a movie that would convert the non-uke fans though. But for anyone with any interest in music or musical instruments, it should be an interesting watch. Check it out if you haven't yet.


plainsong said...

Yeah it's pretty good. It was screened for our local uke group, who gave it a chilly reception because they're mostly traditionalists. I mean if it's not a soprano, has ears, is not made of koa or mahogany, it's literally not a ukulele, but something pretending to be a small guitar.

And the kind of music played, well that's just as strict.

There is a divide in the uke community though, and it could be said to be down generation lines, but it's not so simple. The younger generation, like at UU, tend to have a "If it sounds good, it is good" attitude, but there are older types that cross over to that belief.

I'm one of those. I'm too old for the UU crowd, but the stodginess of the "traditionalists" also seems silly to me. What happened to making music? :)

I liked that about the documentary. Most of the musicians interviewed were of the "shut up and play" type. :)

GX9901 said...


Haha, I guess according to your local uke group, I own like 2 ukes! I bet they didn't really enjoy that Hip-hop ukulele dude huh? Haha!

I guess I'm not really a ukulele traditionalist whether it's about the ukes themselves or the music played on it. But that's one of the things I like about the ukulele. There doesn't seem to be much of a boundary. I mean, many people still think it's a child's play thing. I have seriously had people ask me if my William King custom is my kids' instrument. So it's not like we're getting that much respect from the "outside". Why have disrespect among ourselves?

Anyway, I guess I kind of lost my point there. Whatever the point is, the bottom line is everyone should enjoy and play the hell out of the ukulele!

Which uke should I bring on my next trip to Oahu???

What's the maximum you'd spend on a ukulele case for your best uke?

If you could steal one of my ukes, which one would it be???

How curly do you like your koa? (preferably on a uke)

What's the maximum number of ukes a perfectly sane person should have???

Poll: How often do you play the ukulele???

Poll: Which guitar company's approach to ukes do you prefer???

Poll: What's your favorite type of headstock???

Poll: The new basic Collings concert uke (UC-1) sells for about $1k, your reaction is: