It was a great year at NAMM for the ukulele! There has never before been as many makers or players. This may be due to the incredible musicians that are emerging and inspiring us, or maybe it is just a growing realization of how amazing this instrument really is.
After 6 straight years of NAMM (the Musical Instruments Annual Products Show in Aneheim, CA) I have developed a less tolerant attitude towards the “shred” guitar player with flawless (and often soulless) technique. I still love to watch great guitar players, but this year it was great to see the ukulele captivating many genres and musicians! I was lucky enough to capture some footage at the show and after show to give you a piece of the Ukulele talent at NAMM 2011.
Playing for Kala this year was the ingenious Canadian, James Hill. James is flowing in music and thought. Listening to him play, or even talking with him has an almost calming effect because he is so captivating. James has a multitude of styles and techniques that cross boundaries and fascinate a diverse crowd. He is an entertainer, an educator, and a testament to the Langley Ukulele program. Seeing James play, following the surprisingly fantastic film -“The Mighty Uke”, was the highlight of my trip. (If you have not seen “The Mighty Uke”….See it!! )
At this 2011 NAMM James Hill was playing the Kala ASAC-T, with a custom pickup system. This all solid Acacia Slot head Tenor has been a favorite and has been featured in our reviews before. The Paul Simon bass player, Bakithi Kumalo, has been playing his Kala U-Bass on tour and in the studio with Paul, so he flew in for a day to jam with James. I was stoked! Enjoy~ ( More footage of this night to come..)
Another highlight from the show was Aldrine Guerrero playing at the Kanilea Booth. His rhythm and percussive strumming has so much energy. It is exciting to watch and hear! It is interesting for me watching his hand on the tape because I usually shoot in 30FPS (frames per second) and for some reason I had my camera on 60 FPS for this first video so you can see well beyond the average human eye, which is around 20-30FPS. So blurring is all you see live, but here you clearly see some crazy wrist action. After close revision I am pretty sure that Aldrine is an Alien… just kidding, I know he just has a ton of soul and channels it into his playing. This is the sound inspiring kids to push the envelope on this instrument and take the ukulele to new places. Major props to the Ukulele Underground and Aldrine. You guys are doing great things!
Playing at the Ko’olau booth was Abe Lagrimas and a number of different musicians. I will soon be releasing more footage of Abe soon so stay tuned! Hear is one of the Jams with Miko on the U Bass and Yohei on Guitar-
I did not get much footage at Kamaka and the Audio is not great but I thought I would share this anyway ’cause Asa, Kalei, and Bryon are playing the true Hawaiian style that made the ukulele popular in the first place. Enjoy~
Much more to come so subscribe to the site and you will get a steady flow of ukulele inspiration! Thanks from the crew here at Hawaii Music Supply, Aloha!
Tekla from Kamaka~