March 09, 2004


Well, I’ve put this off long enough. While it is no secret that music is a great interest of mine (I play a number of instruments and even started a music degree as an undergraduate), it may not be common knowledge that over the past year I have become quite devoted to the ukulele.


For my birthday last year, my wife Aven gave me a ukulele, specifically a Denver Duke. Little did she know what she’d started.

I found out that there were two other types of ukes availible at our local music store, and I couldn’t resist. I bought a baritone ukulele, a lower-pitched ukulele made by Hilo, and a guitalele, a six-stringed ukulele made by Yamaha. If only I’d had these when recording the Folk Brigade material!

As it turned out, the guitalele came with a cloth carrying case, but the other two didn’t, and so, rather than buying cases over the internet, I decided to make cases:


The plaid one in the middle is the guitalele case, and the two black ones are the ones that my wife and I sewed out of black denim and grey fleece for the lining. Here you can see a closeup of the inside of one of the cases.

The surprising thing is that I’m not the only Old English scholar with a ukulele connection. Although he doesn’t play the ukulele himself, Roy Liuzza plays in a band called The Rites of Swing that features a ukulele. I haven’t heard any of their music, but I imagine it would be great.

In addition to the Ukulelia weblog linked to on the sidebar, another site I’ve found useful in my exploration of all things uke is the ezFolk Ukulele Section. I’ve even fuelled my uke habit by putting together my own book of ukulele transcriptions. My latest plan is to do some digital recording on my computer of Gershwin songs played on the uke. I don’t know why, but somehow it seems appropriate. Maybe when I do get around to doing this, I’ll put clips up on this blog for you all to hear.

As a side note, the original ukulele I got for my birthday came in an oddly shaped cardboard box, which strangely enough is the exact right size and shape for Tigger:


I’ve taken to calling him my furry ukulele. I’ll never be able to take away these boxes because he’d be so upset with me. Here are a couple more pictures of the furry ukulele to bring up the cuteness quotient of this posting.

Well, I guess I end this rambling entry with a picture of me playing the uke, as well as the baritone and guitalele:


Posted by Mark at March 9, 2004 05:42 PM