Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Tongan King of Ukulele', Sione Aleki

This sad news from Gemma of the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra: "I thought you might be interested to know the sad news that the 'Tongan King of Ukulele', Sione Aleki, just passed away this week - collapsed and died whilst performing on stage in Tonga.
Story

Here he is performing all his tricks!


He was an incredible man, not very widely known in international uke circles simply because he lived in Tonga and not Hawaii or a more populated place... Only a fortnight ago, I was interviewing him on a sunny Auckland day about his life of ukulele playing (for a documentary to be screened here next year). He could play every style from every Pacific island and while he had a delicate touch, what really got the kids excited at the annual NZ Ukulele Festival was the way he'd roll over and over on the floor playing his uke behind his head, or with his foot, or his teeth, or pretty much any part of his body he could think of, with a permanent smile on his face, and all whilst being mostly blind.

Here he is performing all his tricks!
I thought you might be interested to know the sad news that the 'Tongan King of Ukulele', Sione Aleki, just passed away this week - collapsed and died whilst performing on stage in Tonga.
Here he is!

He was an incredible man, not very widely known in international uke circles simply because he lived in Tonga and not Hawaii or a more populated place... Only a fortnight ago, I was interviewing him on a sunny Auckland day about his life of ukulele playing (for a documentary to be screened here next year). He could play every style from every Pacific island and while he had a delicate touch, what really got the kids excited at the annual NZ Ukulele Festival was the way he'd roll over and over on the floor playing his uke behind his head, or with his foot, or his teeth, or pretty much any part of his body he could think of, with a permanent smile on his face, and all whilst being mostly blind.



And when that wasn't enough, he'd play the saw:
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1 comment:

Gege Dai said...
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