There’s an old cliché phrase that says “Those who can’t do, teach.” Well apparently, those who have little-to-no musical talent write about it. I’ve always known that I can’t sing, despite my dream to have my life become a musical. My parents never forced me to sit through those piano lessons everyone always dreaded going to, but when my brother got a ukulele this summer, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to bring some music into my life. I asked him if he would teach me how to play (after asking him what he was doing with that tiny guitar) and he agreed to help. After countless attempts and unbelievable frustration on both our parts, I screeched through the first ten notes of a song. It didn’t sound much like the sweet flowing sound of a ukulele I knew and was a lot more effort than I thought, so I decided to hang up my musical career and let him do the playing.
Although playing the ukulele on the beach in the hot summer sun would be picture perfect, I’ll stick to listening. The ukulele really is the perfect summer instrument, as it creates a sound more peaceful than a guitar and calms every part of you. Add the ukulele into a hardcore screamo song and it could even make that song into a lullaby. It is an instrument ideal for relaxation.
Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s name is quite a mouthful, but I’m sure you know who he is—that big Hawaiian guy frequently pictured with a ukulele who sings “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Played entirely on the ukulele, it is one of the sweetest, most serene songs ever. For your summer relaxation pleasures, I have compiled a list of five of my favorite ukulele songs, starting it off right with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” of course.
1. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
2. “Postcards from Italy” by Beirut
3. “5 Years Time” by Noah and the Whale
4. “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz
5. “Ukulele Lady” by Bette Midler
Songs that incorporate the ukulele are pretty rare, but almost any melody can be played on the ukulele and made that much more enjoyable. For example, here’s a video of my brother, Joey, playing Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry.” Although not everyone can play the ukulele, listening is something everyone can enjoy!