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"UKULELE" is a Hawaiian word meaning "jumping flea". The ukulele developed from several small guitar-type variants brought to Hawaii by Portuguese sailors in the mid-1800s. From Hawaii its popularity spread around the world from the early 20th century.
MARILYN MONROE played the part of a ukulele player in one of her most popular films, Some Like it Hot (1959). She wasn't really much of a player but looked good pretending.
ELVIS PRESLEY played ukulele in one of his most successful films, Blue Hawaii (1961). He could play the uke a bit although he was no Jake Shimabukuro.
JAKE SHIMABUKURO, from Hawaii, is one of the world's best known ukulele virtuosos. He has an intricate style of fingerpicking and plays a wide variety of music including pop, jazz and classical.
Clive's friend ROGER GREENAWAY, of legendary hit songwriting duo Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, did all his songwriting on ukulele. His wife Brenda claims "he doesn't play properly" (?!) so came to Clive for uke lessons!
A popular YouTube item from the Concert for George is its emotional finale: "I'll See You In My Dreams" played beautifully on ukulele by legendary British rock and pop singer and guitarist JOE BROWN. GEORGE HARRISON himself was a keen uke player, as is SIR PAUL McCARTNEY.
SAM BROWN, singer and daughter of Joe, is also an excellent ukulele player.
The most famous British ukulele player was GEORGE FORMBY, who usually played the banjolele or ukulele-banjo. Although always disarmingly modest about his own abilities, he was a virtuoso player and a superstar of his day. Formby divides opinion in the modern ukulele world. There are some clubs, societies and events devoted to his style and songs while others avoid them or even ban them.
NEIL ARMSTRONG spent much of his 3 weeks in quarantine after returning from the Moon... playing his ukulele. Many believe he actually took it to the Moon but this is an internet-fuelled urban myth.
"How do I relax? This might sound slightly ridiculous but I play the ukulele for at least an hour a day and I find something really blissful about it." - FRANK SKINNER, comedian.