I got myself a ukulele just two days ago and have been experimenting with it. It’s a pleasant diversion from my usual weekend classical guitar practices (my teacher did not, or forgot, to assign me new pieces this week). Why a ukulele? Well, I know that Ayano Tsuji used a ukulele in the theme song “Kaze Ni Naru” for the anime “Neko no Ongaeshi” (The Cat Returns) and I wanted to get that particular sound. I bought a $40 Samick UK-60 from Davis Guitars (best place to buy guitar strings in Singapore). Not bad sounding for the price, and it’s a beauty, with natural wood grains showing on the unvarnished surface (the picture on Samick’s website does not do the real instrument justice). I hope the strings settle down soon; two strings keep going out of tune.
The ukulele is tuned a fourth higher than the 4 highest-pitched strings of a guitar, except that the 4th string is tuned one more octave higher, giving the ukulele an interesting quality of having the two lowest open strings in the middle. The strings are therefore G, C, E and A. This is the “C” tuning. The shop owner gave me the “D” tuning, which is a second higher, but I think I’ll stick with the “C” tuning as most literature on the Web seems to be using this as the basis. And yes, the uke in “Kaze Ni Naru” uses this tuning. Now I can strum along with the song. ^_^
I spent quite some time today looking for songs with suitable ukulele chords online, and also for Hawaiian songs.
There were also other musical diversions. I bought Natsukawa Rimi’s “Tida” recently which was being advertised on TV lately. It’s an album of Okinawan folk songs. Local singers Cai Chunjia and Fish Leong (Liang Jingru) recorded “Nada Sousou” and “Shimauta” in Mandarin respectively. I think I prefer the original Japanese versions.
I already knew that Final Fantasy X actually had quite a bit of Okinawan influence in the character costume designs as well as the music, and FFX’s singer Rikki also sang a couple of other FF-inspired songs in the Okinawan dialect, so the curiosity is there. (Yeah, there’s that anime/video game connection again, heh.)
While browsing on the Web for Okinawan songs, I was surprised to discover that Emil Chou’s ever-popular “Hua Xin” is actually an Okinawan folk song! Cool. ^_^
Ok, I’m going back to strumming my uke, and oh yes, Merry X’mas and Happy New Year!