Ukulele is of German origin…

The Buckingham Post of 9 December 1938 told the locals that the ukulele was not of Hawaiian origin after all.  It found its way to Honolulu via Portuguese sailors a while back, and the natives liked it. But further back, the Portuguese apparently sneaked it from the Germans. This revelation came via the Royal Library at Stuttgart, where drawings and descriptions of a uke-like instrument have been found dating back to AD 1180. 

I don’t know if I buy that view — maybe the Germans modelled their ancient uke on the Chinese Zhong Ruan which seems to date from the Qin dynasty (221-207 BC). But then again, maybe I invented it and used a time machine to give the impression that its origins were ancient and mysterious … curiouser and curiouser.

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Published in: on October 28, 2010 at 5:32 pm  Comments (1)  
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It must be true, i read it in the paper…

The Lodi Sentinel published the following nonsense in May 1927:

Hawaiian Island’s Flea

Honolulu: May 23 — Those of us who live without the pale of this magic Isle have always been intrigued with the thought that Hawaii and the ukulele meant one and the same; that the islands and the uke were as Siamese twins — all for one, and one for all. Legend and history credit the creation of the music box as being strictly Hawaiian. Now comes an authority who steals from Honolulu the credit for the ukulele and passes it on to the Portuguese…

The ukulele is said to have been originated by a Portuguese who landed in Hawaii some 50 years ago. The instrument from which is was patterned was more like the regular guitar called in Portuguese the taropatch, but being rather large and unhandy to carry about, this wise inventor studied out the present size and shape of the ukulele.

After he had completed the first instrument, the inventor was at a loss for a name to fit it. While pondering over the question, a dog came along and, sitting on his haunches, raised his right hind leg and immediately began the rapid motion familiar to all of a real yellow dog scratching fleas from his body.

Just at that moment, a native sat down and began to play the instrument. The inventor quickly noticed that similarity of the movements of the arm, hand and fingers as the strings were rapidly manipulated in extracting music. This action reaches its perfection in the hands of a real Hula Hula girl.

The name ukulele flashed into the maker’s mind for that is the name of the jumping flea in PORTUGUESE.

 It’s nice get the facts from one who knows — so don’t just seat there, find someone who knows.

Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 5:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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