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Lesson Sheet


Traditional Music for the Ukulele

  • The ukulele started out as an instrument in Portugal. It was taken to Hawaii by sailors where the Islanders adopted it.

  • The Traditional Hawaii way of playing the ukulele is very relaxed and laid back. In recent times the instrument has become most well known for accompanying the popular song 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' sung by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

Take a listen to Iz's hauntingly beautiful playing of this famous piece...

  • In England there was one man responsible for the rise of the ukulele, and the banjo-ukulele. his name was George Formby...  

  • He made many records and films through 1930 - 1940.

  • Here he is singing probably his most famous song 'Leaning on a Lamp Post' from the 1937 film he made called 'Feather Your Nest'


(If you would like to have a go at this piece, click here... )

  • However! At the same time as George Formby was making films and recording music in England, in America there was an amazing string virtuoso called Roy Smeck.

  • Just like George Formby, Roy Smeck was inventing new and exciting ways to play the ukulele. He was fast! He did tricks throwing the instrument around. He was 'The Wizard of the Strings!'


Now we have seen both styles of playing from George and Roy it's time we tried some of their tricks for ourselves!

So let's go and have a 'Smeck-Slap-Smile-Time!'



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