Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ukulele Magic - Sweet Hollywaiians

CD front, Sweet Strings Rec. R-1360463
According to several sources, in his later career Oscar Alemán always had his cavaquinho with him in his live stage shows and played his "O.A. 1926" as a solo piece as part of the show. Some unissued Argentine recordings of his live-performance of this tune have been saved, here's the best and most elaborte arrangement from a radio broadcast c. 1955

The "O.A.1926" was recorded as a magnificient solo piece for ukulele by the Dutch string wizard, Ton Van Bergeyk, in 1976 for the Kicking Mule label titled 'Anno 1926', his version is close to the inserted, broadcasted take by Alemán himself. If you look up other versions of the tune at YouTube, you'll discover other versions by uke-players, one of best and most swinging is by a Japanese uke-wizard, Mario Takada, in a solo performance inserted below

Mario Takada is a member of the Sweet Hollywaiians string quartet from Osaka, Japan, specializing in 1920s and 1930s Hawaiian, swing, calypso, Italian instrumentals etc. and having released four CDs since 2008. A website introducing more info about this fabulous ensemble is available here - and the recordings are available from Amazon or/and CDBaby.

Sweet Hollywaiians
Last year the Sweet Hollywaiians has released a new short CD solely devoted to ukulele tunes, Magic Ukulele Waltz - containing most enjoyable playing and great tunes. The CD has an ensemble-version of "O.A. 1926" and a great version of GB Lobo's waltz "Criollita" plus five more excellently played tunes.

Magic Ukulele Waltz, Sweet Strings Rec., R-1360463
The CD is available for purchase here.  - As mentioned, the waltz "Criollita" by Gastón Bueno Lobo is also featured on the CD, a YouTube video by Mario Takada has the tune in a similar version, although a bit short, anyway, here it is

The title track of the CD, "Magic Ukulele Waltz", was originally composed by Roy Smeck and recorded at his Magic Ukulele LP album, since re-issued on CD. To end this small presentation of the mentioned ukulele CD by Sweet Hollywaiians, here is Mario Takada's version of the Magic Ukulele Waltz - enjoy!


If you are a fan of the Japanese string ensemble, Sweet Hollywaiians, then the latest CD with the title Magic Ukulele Waltz definitly should be a part of your collection of great music. The CD has seven tracks of excellently played tunes with the ukulele in front backed by the ensemble, the repertoire has new versions of classic swing tunes and a couple of waltzes - every track is a sheer joy to be listening to. - Highly recommended!

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