Videos of the Day: Ukulelemania

Amateur video of “I am the Walrus” played on a boss v-shaped ukulele with licks-o’-fire trim

The ukulele is a gift to the ungifted. Everybody can play, although not just anybody can wring magic from it. I picked it up for the first time nine days ago, and I can approximate a good number of Beatles tunes. The first time I played an F chord, I felt like Pete Townsend. It was so . . . triumphant.

It turns out there’s an extensive ukulele community and lots of video available on YouTube. There’s also one bona fide ukulele hero: Jake Shimabukuro. While his cover of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is justly famous, his version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is pretty wow. (Those minor chords.)

After the jump, two performances by the master — including a performance at TED 2010. The instrument deserves this kind of attention. As Jake Shimabukuro observes, “The ukulele is an instrument of peace. If everybody played, the world would be a happier place.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qadUoaWkRW8

Jake Shimabukuro, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” TED 2010

“While My Ukulele Gently Weeps”

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