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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:23 pm 
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I see a number of references to ukulele in this forum, but it mostly seems to be about beginners or people just messing around.

Are there any serious musicians out there who actually use a ukulele or banjo-ukulele to play trad music in performance or at sessions (I'm thinking ITM, other Celtic or Bal Folk)?

As a uke player myself (and--full disclosure--not all that good), I think the uke's gentle sound and re-entrant fourths tuning that only stretches from middle C to the sixth above in the four open strings, probably doesn't lend itself that well to that wilder old-timey sound. Better for swing and tin-pan alley perhaps, and for accompanying singers.

On the other hand, I see Welsh bagpiper John Tose sometimes has his daughter Micky accompanying him on ukulele, and while it's fairly simple chording, I'm actually impressed with how well the uke sound seems to blend with the raucous bagpipes. Gives a kind of medieval, lute-like sound. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srd-_mZRtwc)

So just wondering? Thanks.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:40 pm 
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Don't know how far back you read, John. I talked about these things a bit in this thread (and maybe elsewhere):

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=89370

I think your comments are right, about both the possibilities and the limitations. You're not going to fill the triple role of guitar as harmony, bass, and "bodhrán with strings". But the bouncy texture of strummed uke, or more harp-like fingerstyle, can work on its own terms if your mates and listeners are open to it, and if your session is quiet enough that players actually listen to each other.

I've pulled out the uke at a few more Irish sessions since that previous thread. And instead of the the indulgent ridicule I always half expect, many people actually seem to like it. Of course, no less than with any other trad backup, you need to have a concept and approach in mind. Since I usually play Dropped-D, finding treble voicings and textures on uke is not too difficult. I suppose you could also tune gCDG (or aDEA) as a DADGAD-analogue.

As for "serious" vs. "messing around" ... I don't know. The distinction can be moot. Playing music can be at its best when you're ... playing. In a serious sort of way. :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:34 am 
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Here's another link you might like...

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=82461


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:14 pm 
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I had missed that, Lorenzo. Nice playing, and a nice uke. :)

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Joel Barish: Is there any risk of brain damage?
Dr. Mierzwiak: Well, technically speaking, the procedure is brain damage.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:03 pm 
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No, but I do like to play Monteverdi's Vespers on my Swinette.

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