In preparation for his visit in a few days, I decided to feature ‘ukulele virtuoso Andrew Molina is this week’s UkePrints. Andrew found his calling as an ‘ukulele player at the age of 13 where in one trip to Boarder Books and Music he picked up every Pure Heart and Jake Shimabukuro album. Since then, through hours and hours of practice, Andrew has developed his own sound and has even been recognized by the Hawai’i Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) as a finalist for ‘Ukulele Album of Year in the 2014 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards for his debut album The Beginning. Officially on his first tour, Andrew has a bright future ahead of him with his next album already in the works and to be released in 2016.
Today we listen to an original written by Andrew titled Rezurrection. Andrew’s inspiration for the tune came from the sudden strike of inspiration in the wee small hours of the morning that reignited his passion for playing. You can hear the ferocity in Andrew’s conviction as an artist through this driving ‘ukulele instrumental.
The song begins with ambient double stops, created by running his ‘ukulele through some reverse delay off of his multi-effects processor (BOSS ME-50). After he has successfully created space and atmosphere he starts to dig into his strings (0:27) with some official ‘ukulele shredding (ala Jake Shimabukuro, While My Guitar Gently Weeps). Launching into the song, Andrew begins some fast but light strumming as he sets up the main feel and rhythm of the song (0:50). His father, Jay Molina, joins in with accompanying chords on guitar to create depth and texture which serve as a backdrop to Andrew’s ‘ukulele. I love how both of their instruments are rhythmically synced up which allow our ears to freely trace the melody and makes any deviations on the established rhythm, such as staccato hits (1:35 &2:34), that much more impactful. They bring the down the energy and speed of the song (2:46) and create a, “punctuation,” in the piece before starting Andrew’s solo (3:13). Andrew pinches his thumb and index together, attacking the strings with the nail of the index finger like a flat guitar pick. He palm mutes (3:20) for most of the solo, sliding (3:33) and using pull-offs (3:26 & 3:39) to maneuver around the fretboard. Closing his solo Andrew speeds up his pull offs and slurs up the fretboard, continuing past the sound hole for a crashing end. He takes the melody one more time and in a flurry of strumming comes to a grand finale (4:17). I love those various voices of Cm he ends uses to climb up the neck (4:23).
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.