The way Be tells it, you’d think his girlfriend, Pa, invented the ukulele. She certainly spurred him into action during her trip to study music in Hawaii a while back. Pa loved it there so much: the place, the beauty, the people, she couldn’t wait for him to pack his bag and hop a plane to Maui. But the real surprise in store for him was the tiny four-stringed instrument that had captured her soul, the ukulele. Be too became hooked.
Pretty soon, the couple were ordering ukes by the dozen, Be put his design and film-making talents to use creating an image for the brand, Pa designed the store and Ukeuku was born, providing the perfect uptown pit stop for the Ukelele-captivated Thais. The store attracts musicians, beginners, tourists and even a roster of celebrities, many of whom can be seen playing and singing on their YouTube. channel.
If you thought your corner of the world had succumbed to the Uke craze, you obviously haven’t been to Bangkok, where the cute instruments proliferate in bookstores, music stores and probably even candy stores. There is even a Thailand Ukulele Festival with performers from Hawaii, Canada and many Asian countries.
Like many Asian passions, the ukulele is reinvented here in more colors than an ice-cream parlor, another, um, interest in the city. (Incidentally, the most delectable purveyor of colored ice I’ve seen to date sits snugly round the corner from Ukeuku. I did the research, purely for scientific purposes. My advice is: just Go There on your way home with your new red soprano ukulele, you’ll be on such a high from your visit to the store, you probably won’t notice the sugar).
Equally sweet is the infectiously happy couple’s attitude. Each time I visited, I was unable to resist picking up a pint-sized, pineapple shaped soprano or strumming a deep koa-wood tenor. They positively encourage musical experimentation, frequently joining in, and even breaking into an impromptu duet.[vimeo id=”86067969″ align=”center” maxwidth=”980″]
Be and Pa strum it up.
The atmosphere, the playfully clashing colors, clutter and piles of custom-made Uke accessories, such as four-chord stamps for writing your own compositions, chord charts and covers in every choice of pattern, from pink spotted translucent vinyl to sleek white leather, make it tricky to keep your hands in your pockets. You just have to play, and like all good musical experiences, you’ll leave with your spirits lifted, probably humming and more than likely strumming. Will you be the next Jake Shimabukuro? Who knows, but you’ll have a lot of fun along the way.
If you’re lucky, you’ll find a cool ukulele scene to frequent, like the Royal George bar I visited in Soho, London. Once a week, an enormous and crazily diverse gang convened with their ukes and a song sheet printed off the internet, all playing at once and singing long, in a glorious patchwork of music and disharmony.Sometimes we were all on the same page, with he same lyrics and chords, and sometimes we weren’t. No one cared. The place was a riot, and the price of a soda bought you the high point of the week.
Joyful as a kid’s playroom. The music lessons start here.
Trying to decide on case color can be taxing. Maybe one to go with each outfit?
Musical love-letters have taken over one wall of the store.
Try it. You may just love it.
Ukeuku, my favorite Ukulele store, you rock!
- Address: The 19th@Chidlom, Chidlom Road, Lumpini, Patumwan,Bangkok 10330, Thailand, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
- Phone:+66 84 144 4801