We promise not to make any jokes at the ukulele’s expense ever again.*
Uke New Jersey got off to an impressive start on Friday with a delightful documentary, Mighty Uke: The Amazing Comeback of a Musical Underdog.
Mighty Uke made a couple of good points. First, the tiny instrument is a good barometer of big songs. If a number holds up when performed on a uke, you know it’s a well crafted tune. And second, it’s almost impossible to sing sad songs on one of these things. It’s from sunny Hawaii (by way of Portugal), after all.
After the movie, the audience was treated to the stringed stylings of Jim and Liz Beloff. Jim literally wrote the book on the ukulele; his songbook, and TV appearances by Tiny Tim, hooked festival organizer Scooter Ferguson on ukes back in the day.
The husband-and-wife team was followed by the bouncy Victoria Vox.
Victoria, who sells uke-themed underwear called Voxers, actually managed a few minor-key compositions on her assorted ukeleles. All were pretty catchy; she writes well crafted songs. Here is video of one of them, Peeping Tommette.
In addition to her confident uke-playing, Victoria also may be the best “mouth-trumpet” player north of New Orleans, as the video demonstrates.
Uke New Jersey resumes at 10 am today, Aug. 31, 2013, at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship at 21 Normandy Heights Road in Morris Township. Workshops, how-to sessions, ukulele sales and sing-alongs will be capped at 7:30 pm with performances by local band Celtic Spirit and the acclaimed ukulele-and-cello duo James Hill and Anne Janelle, featuring a movement from James’ One Small Suite for Ukulele.
Admission is $75 for the entire day, or $25 just for the evening concert. If Saturday’s program is anything like Friday’s, it will be an eye-opener. And an ear-opener, for that matter.
*We do reserve the right, however, to poke fun at banjos.