Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

April 6, 2011 at 11:15am

Take a lesson from Ukalaliens

Kate Power and Steve Einhorn

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The ukulele isn't just for school children anymore. Yes, it's small, and yes, it's easy to learn. But after hearing Jake Shimabukuro play "Bohemian Rhapsody" on the uke, I can no longer dismiss it. It might be little and it might be cute, but it's also a serious - and chill-producing - instrument.

"In Hawaii, everyone grew up playing the ukulele," Shimabukuro says in a recent interview with the Associated Press. "It was just a very simple, relaxing instrument to play. Then when I was a teenager, I got turned on to some of the rock guys. I remember seeing some concert footage of a Van Halen  show. ... I remember thinking to myself, ‘That's what a ukulele concert should be like.' "

On his new album, Peace Love and Ukulele - which has original songs along with "Rhapsody" and "Hallelujah" - Shimabukuro proves the ukulele can do almost anything.

That said, though, it is easy to learn. In fact, folk duo the Ukalaliens promise to teach beginners how to play in 90 minutes.

'Aliens Steve Einhorn and Kate Power will teach at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 8, at the Olympia Timberland Library, 313 Eighth Ave. S.E., Olympia. It's free. There will be a limited number of ukuleles available to borrow for the lesson; if you have your own, please bring it along. (For more information, call 360.704.4508 or visit www.trl.org.)

If you want to play "Bohemian Rhapsody" instead of "I've Been Workin' on the Railroad," though, it's going to take more time.

Filed under: All ages, Music, Olympia,
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