Tuesday, July 12, 2011

James Hill Makes "The Defamer"

The Defamer today calls James Hill "The World's Greatest Ukulele Player." I'm not sure that we should bother debating who's the best player in the world, but it is refreshing to see someone other than Jake and EV being lauded by the outside world. Link


thegentlesurprise said...

It's been pretty fascinating to watch how his performance of this song has evolved. I saw an early version of this on YouTube and have seen him roll it out at a uke fest. Pretty incredible at this point.

David said...

I saw James teach at The Midwest UkeFest in Indianapolis in 2006 I think. He was hesitant to use his voice to demonstrate a melodic principle or technique because he didn't think he had a good voice. I am glad he was able to get past that or we wouldn't have this song or the fine CD by he and Anne Davison.
What makes him great is how much music he can make with so little (so it seems) effort. When you watch his hands on this song you do not think it is possible... at least I don't.
He can make runs all over the fingerboard and sweat doing it and yet he can do this-- and he is having fun with the audience.
And he is a very fine teacher/communicator.

Ron Hale said...

Some ukers are lauded primarily by the outside world, Gary. Read the comments at videos by Danielle, for example. You won't see very many mentioning the ukulele. I think she's more popular with civilians than players.

Most of the comments at jaaaaaaa's
videos obvioulsy are by non-players. Hardly any mention of the instrument.

Younger types like these two and say Dent May draw primarily non-players to their shows and videos. They're acts that happen to use the ukulele, not primarily ukulele acts.

Now, James, Jake, and the like, are ukulele acts, not acts that happen to use the ukulele. Their video comments are from ukers, going on about the playing, etc.

Their fans are mostly players. Their audiences are mostly players. They'll forever be stuck in the ukulele world (albeit as stars) while Danielle has the whole world in which to have her music enjoyed, though not perhaps as a star.

Nobody goes on and on about Danielle's uking, it's about the songs, the music. The impact of her music on the commenters is what is stressed not how fast her fingers are flying, not what uke she plays, not what strings she uses.

So anyway, there are ukers lauded by the outside world. And I contend that Jake and James are ukulele world artists not outside world artists.

Eddie, however, comes to the ukulele world from the outside world and has outside world appeal. He does transcend the limited world of ukedom. He is not about his uking, he is about his music.

James and Jake are about their uking, not their music. Huge difference...

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