Scott just acquired a new instrument– a bass ukulele made by Kamoa on the island of Kawai in Hawaii. It sounds almost like a bass or a banjo sexto, but with a lighter touch. Especially when paired with Johnette’s tenor ukulele, it makes a rich and deep sound that we look forward to sharing with you.
It’s been several years since our friend Jon Hornyak, who plays with the Memphis Ukulele Band, introduced us to the uke, which has made a huge comeback over the past decade. The uke had seemed like a fad for a while, with artists such as Eddie Vedder and Amanda Palmer making whole albums of ukulele music, but the momentum has kept growing, and it’s easy to understand why.
In most ways, we’re still beginners. Yet, there is something about the ukulele that immediately spoke to us. Johnette wrote two songs on the uke for our forthcoming album, Swamp Romp, within days of receiving hers. While Scott had fooled around with an inherited mandolin when he was a teen, he’d never been a string player. Yet, he was soon learning scales and picking out solos. We began learning jazz tunes together, playing new chords every day. We even recorded a song, “Poor Worry Anna” (on which Johnette sings a duet with Irma Thomas) using two tenor ukes.
We are truly appreciative of Jon Hornyak making the connection with the ukulele and with Kamoa. It has set us on a new and fun path, and we can’t wait to show off the new bass ukulele in our show.