Students strum proudly on National Ukulele Day


IMAGE / Jenna Robinson

National Ukulele Day is celebrated on Saturday, Feb. 2.

Nothing is as sweet as the strum of a ukulele. That is why musicians and music-listeners alike are encouraged to celebrate the versatile instrument on National Ukulele Day, which falls on Saturday, Feb. 2.

A ukulele is a small, four-stringed instrument. The simplicity of the ukulele’s design makes it one of the easiest instruments to learn how to play.

Although many people assume that ukuleles were created in Hawaii, ukuleles were actually created in Madeira, which is an autonomous region of Portugal.

Before the instrument became what we know today as the ukulele, it was a machête.

The ukulele was created from this when the 17-fret neck was added, and the tuning was changed from D-G-B-D to G-C-E-A, which was the top four strings of the rajão, a five-stringed instrument in Madeira.

IMAGE / Courtesy of Bethany Karram
Sophomore Bethany Karram fell in love with playing the ukulele in 2017.

The Hawaiian adaptation came in the 19th century when Portuguese immigrants brought over their version and Hawaiians began making the instrument out of native wood, koa, and thinned the width of the body for a louder sound.

Many musicians and bands have incorporated the ukulele into their music.

Twenty One Pilots did a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love” featuring the ukulele. Pearl Jam member Eddie Vedder released a collection of songs that incorporated the ukulele.

The ukulele’s happy sound and simple chords have made the instrument attractive to people across the United States. The number of ukuleles sold in the United States has more than tripled from 2009 to 2017 according to Statista.

Junior Bethany Karram discovered her love for playing the ukulele due to her grandma’s past with the instrument.

“I started playing (the) ukulele near the end of 2017 in October,” Karram said. “I started playing because my grandma had an old one sitting in her house that she used to play when she was my age. I got it out and started messing with it and fell in love, so I bought my own.”

Karram enjoys the ukulele’s meditative effects on her.

“I love playing (the) ukulele because it helps me calm down, relax, and,  most of all, be happy,” Karram said. “Whenever I have a lot going on, or I’m just in a bad mood, playing (my) ukulele cheers me up and just,  overall, makes me really happy.”