Today we are visited by ‘ukulele virtuoso Taimane Gardner. Many know Taimane for her fast style of playing and great showmanship. Starting out busking on the streets of Waikiki with the local beach boys, Taimane was discovered by Don Ho and soon became a featured performer in his show. Since then she has developed as a solo artist touring internationally and cutting albums. Her latest release, We are Made of Stars, is Taimane’s first self produced album and is one of the only ‘ukulele concept albums.
Here we have Taimane performing at the Ong King Arts Center in the Chinatown area of downtown Honolulu. As staples in Taimane’s set list and included on her several of her albums: Tico Tico, the Mission Impossible Theme, and the theme from James Bond are played as a medley. To really understand her music you have to watch her perform live. As you can see Taimane is never still, always moving in coordination with her playing as she embraces the art of the live show. She slowly introduces the song, using the silence to add intensity. Then like being hit by a train she jumps into Tico Tico in flurry of notes, characteristic of her playing. Continuing on with the hits on the Mission Impossible theme and the mysterious melody of the James Bond theme, she then wraps up the medley with a halting crash.
I love seeing the ‘ukulele used in multi-instrumental groups such as this one. As much as the ‘ukulele is a wonderful instrument for solo players, seeing it stand it’s ground both sonically and musically in a band tastefully is hard. I think Taimane and her group here have achieved that balance.
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.