Sunday, September 14, 2003

C'mon People Now, Smile on Your Brother...In Kealakekua, Hawai'i

In scouring the Web for interesting bits of ukulele culture, we frequently run across stories in which legendary musicians and guitarists cite the ukulele as the instrument that they cut their teeth on. (Dick Dale, Chrissie Hynde, and Joe Strummer as a short list for starters...) More recently we've run across players like Eddie Vedder and the late George Harrison who picked up the uke after earning their wings as ace guitar players. Now here's our latest discovery--and what a great story.

Jesse Colin Young, folk rock icon, co-founder of the "No Nukes" movement, and it seems, world-class dad, loses almost everything to a fire in Marin County, California, then moves to Kona on the Big Island of Hawai'i. Plants coffee, writes more songs, and, when he finds that there is no ukulele instructor for his kids' school, teaches himself to play and volunteers to keep the flame alive. He's reportedly about to release an album that will have a major ukulele focus. He's dedicated profits from an earlier CD to The Kona Pacific School, the local Waldorf School, and is working hard to raise money for a new facility.

Spend some time on his site to learn more about this remarkable man. His music page features a short video clip of Jesse playing "My Little Grass Shack," and a downloadable mp3 of his song, "Aloha e," which he wrote as a fond farewell to those lost on 9/11. Bet he makes a great cup of coffee, too. Link Discuss

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