• My First Uke


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Day 5: Community

Peek-a-boo, you see me! Wait, that’s not how it usually goes. Hello to Humble Uker el Jeffe, Woodshed, Armelle and (blogless?) Ron Hale. Ya’ll know how to make a girl feel welcome.

Community is one of my favorite words.

The word community is derived from the Old French communité which is derived from the Latin communitas (cum, “with/together” + munus, “gift”), a broad term for fellowship or organized society.

Many definitions of the word community talk about geographic proximity, but with the increasing ever-presence of the internet, proximity is losing its power.* When I started seriously thinking about taking up the ukulele I turned to the internet using my superpower (Google-fu) to find resources, reviews, videos, pictures, advice, and above all people who love the instrument. What I saw, as well as passion for the instrument, was inter-connectivity. People who comment on one blog could be found commenting on others, and often have their own. I saw lots of “see you there” and “where’ve you been?” I genuinely like people, and this is lovely to see.

Sharing an interest with others is one of the quickest ways to feel like you have a place in the world. I am happy to tentatively dip my toes in this already robust and interesting community. Thank you for all of your encouragement and keep the suggestions and great blogs coming!

My practice is going well so far. Transitions from one chord to another aren’t smooth, but feel a little less impossible and just the slightest bit faster. I suspect someone has replaced the fingers on my left hand with Italian chicken sausages, but I will persevere. Jake Shimabukuro is in heavy rotation on my iPod and I take too many breaks during the day to watch ukulele YouTube videos. I love the start of something new, I have a crush on the ukulele and the blush of love is exciting.

In honor of community and the in the spirit of crush-drunk love I’ll leave you with this video Ron pointed me to. I love a good end-of-the-night-at-the-pub song.

*next time I pull out phrases like “geographic proximity” and “ever-presence of the internet” please feel free to mock me righteously.


8 Responses

  1. Hi Lainie,
    I think you are right about the community of ukulele people being a wonderful group. I really believe the post you had a few days ago about taking music back for ourselves and not just having it be something that we listen to is important. For me, that is what is exciting about teaching the ukulele to kids. I’m not a music teacher, I just love being part of making music. We all have different levels of ability, but the joy always seems to be a constant.
    It will be a lot of fun for me to follow your progress. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and insights.
    All the best,

  2. Hi, Lainie. This video’s trip through ukulele cyberspace began
    when I just serendipitously stumbled upon it on a local
    bands blog on SFGate.com the online version (more or less)
    of the San Francisco Chronicle. The blogger called them
    San Francisco’s greatest acoustic duo, but nary a word
    about a ukulele. A video was included, so I watched. Well, I fell in love with it and mentioned it to Jeff who put it up. The dominoes fell after Jeff showed his support for local SF Bay Area musicians. Donnie Bubbles of Uketoob picked it up from Jeff and posted it, then Al picked it up from there and put it up
    on Ukulele Hunt, and then Tony Boland picked it up from Al and put in on Uke Ireland (a very nice place to visit, you might want to stop by between bouts of trying to master the G chord). And now you’ve kindly put it up.

    When I discovered the video, it had been up for three and half months or so and had 330 views. One problem was that when John and Emchy put it up they didn’t tag it for “ukulele” so someone browsing for uke videos wouldn’t have found it. I pointed this out to them and they corrected it, as I thought (correctly, as it turned out) that the ukulele world would be its largest and most enthusiastic audience, even though the band is not primarily a ukulele band (Emchy plays accordion and John plays various instruments or just lets loose with his glorious voice).
    A month or so later and the views have more than tripled those 330.

    They’ll be glad that you’ve put the video up. They’re in the midst of putting up a new website, vagabondageband.com, and when it is up, you might drop by and take a look.

    When you’ve put the G chord in its place, the evil E awaits…

  3. Sweet to give a mention. Alistair Wood is where I would go for the best technical stuff, http://www.ukulelehunt.com. But I also like ukulele underground quite a bit too — great tutorial videos.

  4. Hello Lainie, glad you feel welcome ! I second Humble Uker Jeff in that Al Woodshed ‘s site is the best source of ukulele information. Without all the info from his site my ukulele learning would have stopped dead in its tracks as there are no ukulele players in the proximity.
    The ukulele has the power to change your perspective on life and that’s what passions are all about !

  5. Lainie, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the band Mad
    Tea Party, but member Ami Worthen is blogging their
    Rockin’ The Rockies 2010 Tour on her Ukulele Rockstar
    site. Lots of snow and a chance to see the band (Ami & Jason)in candid settings. While I’m not a blogger, I hardly
    feel myself to be blogless with so many to drop in on.
    Also, some nice photos on their site of Bosko & Honey’s
    Oz Safari.

  6. Cheers, Lainie,
    If you happen to like things French, and music sung in French, well, Donnie Bubbles over on Uketoob, has a very nice video
    dated 2/12/10 – La Meme Histoire, by Agathe & Fine. So very nice…
    I’m trying out new posting monikers today, so what do you think of this one? It comes from the Keats poem, Isabella, or the Pot of Basil. Ron

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