The one from our list is Paul O’Neill, who is not currently playing. He started playing in 1968 and was a major player in the ukulele scene as well as on the major league and college circuits. Paul has played on ukulele covers of Beatles songs like Hey Jude and Hello There
Where did ukulele get its name?
Many other names are given in praise of the ukulele, including the “drum” (which is a bit fanciful I know), “bagpipe” and “cabana ukulele.” The name comes from a long-standing belief that the ukulele was the original instrument that developed out of the wood-drum of a bagpipe. If true, this is fascinating and tells us a lot about the culture of the times – in the past, that sort of thing might have been done in secret, to keep out the riff-raff – for that music was too “harmful” for people today. Whatever the case, some people believe that in its early days, a ukulele was a kind of musical instrument only capable of being played by men. The last time a woman came on to the scene was in the 1880s when “kappos” – the British term for “drummond” – first appeared as a women’s instrument.
Do you play ukelele, and if so in which group?
I play ukelele. I am in the same company as a great many men and women all over the world: a community of ukulele players, that I would like to find a way to share in the benefits of their success. I recently played the ukulele with the London Symphony Orchestra on the first evening of our UK tour.
Did you play ukelele on Your Highness and how was it?
I played the ukulele on Your Highness and got many compliments. I felt very pleased to have performed a part that was written by a gentleman in London, George Russell Smith, who had written the melody to the song You Are My Friend. This tune was recorded and included in the soundtrack to the movie “Dancing in the Dark,” where all of the dancing men in a dark bar were actually the ukulele players from the film. The whole orchestra sang along and were all singing along with the original version of the karajar that we were playing,
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