Ukulele masters have a lot to teach. You can learn different styles from them and incorporate them into your own style. Let’s look at just a handful of some of the most famous and best players on the planet
Naturally, one of the people who always spring to mind when thinking about ukulele is Jake Shimabukuro. He had a strong career in Japan and Hawaii during the early 2000s, but he really hit the public consciousness in 2006 when a YouTube video of him playing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” took off. He did not know that the video was going up online, and seemed genuinely surprised at the results. It was one of the earliest videos on the site to go viral.
He has since gained even more fame and is renowned as one of the best uke players in the world. While he does some covers, he is a fantastic composer in his own right. He’s even written soundtracks to two Japanese films and signed with Sony in Japan. A documentary from 2012 called Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings showcases his life and music. He’s one of the most respected ukulele masters and his career is really just getting started.
Founding member of the band Kapena, Kelly Boy Delima has also done a variety of solo projects. His music runs a wide gamut including the mellow tones that most people imagine when they think of ukulele. However, he also has some incredible fast and driving songs that make people want to move their feet. He is very influential in Hawaii, and is one of the ukulele masters who have been able to show people just what the instrument is capable of doing. When you listen to and watch him play, you can see and hear the deep connection he has with the instrument. He’s been playing for decades and is truly one of the masters.
Peter Moon is a legend in the world of ukulele players. He was once part of the band Sunday Manoa in the late 1960s, which was really a perfect time to be in Hawaii and playing. This was when people really started to get interested in the culture of Hawaii, and when island music and the ukulele started to gain more recognition. While his career started to take off in the late 60s and through the 70s, he really hit the height of his success with the Peter Moon Band during the 80s. They recorded several albums, many of which received awards.
His albums, from the early days onward, make it very clear about his status as one of the premier ukulele masters. Without his influence, many of the players we know and love today may never have picked up the instrument.
One of those who count Peter Moon as an influence is Troy Fernandez. The Hawaiian born Fernandez loved the sound of the instrument and soon started performing with Ernie Cruz Jr. They later worked together as the Ka’au Crater Boys. Cruz played guitar while Fernandez added his unique ukulele style to the mix. This proved very popular, and they earned several Hawaiian music awards. Fernandez has a smooth and distinct style, and is certainly one of the masters you will want to experience when you are trying to learn just what you can do with this instrument.
Watch their videos, listen to their style, and let the best be an influence on you.
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