Ukulele, wand of thunder


I’m a ukulele girl.

I play a bit and sing along, best I can. It makes me happy.

It all started when my friend Cat put a tiny green Mahalo in my hands, taught me some basic chords, and showed me what she could do. I’ve had the great good fortune to continue playing with her, in our mutual living rooms and on stage. Other musicians have taken the time to show me new things, to talk, to feed chords into my utterly perplexed ear during performances or circles.

Look, I’m not an accomplished musician. I’ve never studied theory. I came to this at a creaky and advanced age. I’m not technically adept. I have a decent chord vocabulary and a couple of different strums. I fake basic, though not melodic, fingerpicking. I don’t profess to anything more than this. Basic competence has, however, emboldened me to pick up the guitar, to try to suss out a bit of mandolin. To keep learning, however unlikely it is I’ll be anything more than the amateuriest of amateurs.

Ukulele is on a huge upswing. It’s everywhere, from school music programs to performances at Carnegie Hall, from YouTube videos to mainstream musical releases. It’s an adorable, affordable instrument. You can learn to play it in an hour. You can take it, in much more time, to levels of breathtaking artistry. For my part, it gives me the chance to make music in varying degrees of proficiency. It offers the chance to create joy. Yes, there will be haters, scorners, scoffers, disdainers.

Sod them. I’ll be too busy strumming and smiling to notice.



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