by Mitch Powers
To start things off, I like Jason Mraz; not as a musician necessarily, but because his hit song “I’m Yours” convinced every aspiring musician to go out and buy a ukulele. Even though most people only learned a few chords then gave it to their little brother and convinced him it was a guitar, I see the ukulele as so much more. It could be, as prominent ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro put it, an “instrument of peace.”
I began playing the ukulele six months ago, and much like everyone else, started with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “I’m Yours.” About a week later, I was hit with a depression when I realized I had run out of things to play, or so I thought. Through some journalistic-style searching on the Internet, I came across a video titled how to play the blues on the ukulele. After some fiddling around the fretboard, I realized that I had unlocked a whole new instrument inside of an instrument. The ukulele was not made for simple Hawaiian tropical sounding songs. The ukulele was made for some serious playing. I also found that there was an entire ensemble of ukulele players in England called The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, and in case you are wondering, an orchestra of ukuleles is awesome.
My second uku-lization came on a trip I took over the summer to Israel to visit relatives. There I found out that my cousin’s boyfriend, Mori, has played the ukulele for a few years, and is also a smash poet. He also won the Cousin’s Coolest Boyfriend award in my book for his talents. During the two weeks I was overseas, he taught me that I can say almost anything with the ukulele. Sing a political tune or a song about how much you hate your boss, the ukulele takes the edge off of any hurtful thing you may want to say. It is the perfect instrument for venting your frustrations.
Here’s to the ukulele, the world’s most versatile instrument. May your notes ring pure, and our little sibs have mercy on you.