UkePrints – James Hill – Assam/Like a Bird

Canadian ‘Ukulele Virtuoso: James Hill
What a great picture! This is pre-beard James Hill and Jake Shimabukuro with glasses.

This week we are visited from the legendary ‘ukulele virtuoso and teacher James Hill.  James Hill hails from Canada as a former member of the Langley Ukulele Ensemble. After finishing his Bachelor in Music, James Hill cowrote an ‘ukulele method book called Ukulele in the Classroom. Since then he has released 7 albums with many of arrangements sought after by young aspiring ‘ukulele players such as his percussive all-in-one version of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean or even his version of the Super Mario Bros Theme. His innovative yet tasteful style is the reason why The Honolulu Star-Bulletin calls James Hill a “rare peer” of Hawai’i’s premier ‘ukulele players.

Anne Janelle and James Hill

Today we listen to track Assam/Like a Feather from the album Man with a Love Song. Here James Hill plays a duet with cellist Anne Janelle on the web/TV show HiSessions. Hill has his ‘ukulele tuned a step up (ADF#B) in the tradition of the Langley Ukulele Ensemble and uses a mixture of techniques such the banjo clawhammer to create movement to the melody. As you can see Hill also adds some percussive tapping with his feet and a wooden board placed on the ground. Listen to how they create a sonically rich piece as they build and release tension, keeping the listener tappin’ toes at the edge of their seat.

I find musicians like James Hill to be refreshing with his original ideas and music. As they say. . . original music is the cat’s meow!

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.


2 thoughts on “UkePrints – James Hill – Assam/Like a Bird

  1. This has encouraged me to continue my ukulele practice. It has been years since I’ve played a guitar so thought I’d start with a ukulele this time but it is slow-going. Maybe one day I’ll actually sound like I’m playing music. Thank you so much for posting!


    1. Thank you for reading and I am very happy inspiration struck! James Hill always inspires me to play more ‘ukulele. Be patient with yourself and I am sure you will be strumming in no time. Let us know what we can do to help your ‘ukulele journey!

      -Neal Chin

      Liked by 1 person

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