It tastes like chicken…and wipe that stank off your face! Songs to live by, from Manitoba Hal

Manitoba Hal performs at the NJ Uke Fest, August 2016. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Manitoba Hal performs at the NJ Uke Fest, August 2016. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Video: Funny how everything tastes like…

By Kevin Coughlin

You think your job is hard?

“Manitoba Hal” Brolund makes his living playing the blues… on a ukulele.

Manitoba Hal performs at the NJ Uke Fest, August 2016. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Manitoba Hal performs at the NJ Uke Fest, August 2016. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

A lot of Americans would have been singing the blues this weekend if Uncle Sam had failed to approve Manitoba Hal’s immigration visa.

It went down to the wire, but the Nova Scotian got the green light just in time to drive nonstop to Whippany for the fourth annual New Jersey Ukulele Festival.

As fellow festival performer James Hill observed: “It’s not impossible to play the blues on ukulele–but you have to try hard!”

With a metal slide, Manitoba Hal can make his double-necked uke howl and whine like something hatched in a Mississippi swamp.

Yet he also manages to find the lighter side of the blues.  That may seem like an oxymoron…until you view his advanced lesson on Stank Face, an essential tool in every great bluesman’s toolkit. (Video below.)

And he flies the coop, musically speaking, to explore a universal truth about exotic foods. (Video above.)

Bottom line:  Ukulele blues can put food on your table. But sometimes, it just tastes like chicken.

Video: Blues 301: Stank Face, with Manitoba Hal

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