First things first.
How do you say ukulele?
Is it “ookoo leh leh” or “yooka lay lee”? Well…it’s either! Or both! It doesn’t matter. It’s a Hawaiian word and they say it “ookoo leh leh” but if you prefer “yooka lay lee” that’s OK too. Ukulele players will still be more than happy to make music with you. It’s the Ukulele Way!
We write on this website assuming you pronounce it “oo-koo leh leh” like the Hawaiians do. It will probably read a little strangely in some places if you pronounce it “yoo ka lay lee”. It’s that “a” vs. “an” thing. We use both pronunciations when we talk about ukuleles but we write with a tip of the hat to the Hawaiian pronunciation.
Why the ukulele? Because they make people happy!
Just say the word ukulele and people smile. Sometimes they’ll laugh right out loud. It’s weird actually, but it’s true, try it sometime. The humble ukulele is the happiest musical instrument in the world!
That’s my Dad Jim (right) and his childhood buddy Chris on uke. Still strummin’ after all these years.
Ukuleles bring people together! That’s a fact!
Walk into a room with your ukulele and people immediately gravitate toward it. They want to try it or hold it or tell you a happy story about one. Ukuleles even bring musicians together. Beginners and experienced players often gather together and play. The ukulele is the only instrument I can think of where this is true.
The man in the middle is Brook Adams a talented singer songwriter from Oregon.
There’s something special about ukuleles!
We don’t know what it is but we dig it. It can’t be explained; it has to be experienced. It’s like riding a bicycle. I could try to explain to you the thrill and freedom of riding a bike but you would never fully understand until you’ve ridden one yourself. Same with the ukulele. So get your ukulele and get happy!
Ukuleles are fun.
So what are you waiting for?
Go try one.
You might not be aware of it, but it’s very likely that someone you know plays the ukulele. A friend, a family-member, a co-worker… someone. And if you find them, I assure you, they will be more than happy to include you. Just ask around. And if by some strange happenstance you don’t know someone who plays ukulele (trust me, you do), just Google “ukulele players group” and you’ll find lots of them, probably right in your neighborhood.
Here are some good search suggestions: ukulele players group, ukulele store and Iriguchi Ukuleles.
Wait, what was that last one?
You never know… that strange barista at the coffee shop with the tattooed arms and wild hair just might to be able to shred on an ukulele. This strange barista is our bruddah Jion Jugo, and yeah, he shreds.