This week we take a look at the ‘ukulele player from the duo the Ka’au Crater Boys named Troy Fernandez. If you were in Hawai’i at all during the 90s, I am sure you heard the Ka’au Crater Boys in some form. The versions of a lot of the songs they played became staples in the repertoire of ‘ukulele players. Troy’s distinct style and tone is energetic, fun to play, and also challenging to play. He is also a good study if you want to improve your accompanying skills.
Today we listen to the classic ‘ukulele instrumental On Fire. Troy plays with ferocity and strength as you can hear him pushing the volume of his’ukulele. With his thumb pick, you can hear a lot of classic Troy licks such as hard plucked sliding double stops traveling up and down the neck, fast tremolo picking, and of course his pull offs on the A-string. Mixed in with his Hawaiian turn arounds and his sensibility for Hawaiian music, On Fire was and still is an exemplary example of contemporary ‘ukulele playing.
On a personal note: When I first started taking private lessons as a young player, I remember learning how to play a bunch of songs from the Ka’au Crater Boys from my teacher. For the rest of the songs, it was one ear glued to my boombox and a finger on the rewind button.
UkePrints is a curated playlist of some essential ukulele tracks that all ukulele player should listen to. These songs have left a legacy for future players and in essence, sound impressions of the ‘ukulele or what I like to call them: UkePrints.