From the Fall 2016 issue of Ukulele | BY GREG OLWELL
Kika Kila: How the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Changed the Sound of Modern Music
By John W. Troutman (UNC Press; $27.53)
As you may guess from the books title, Kika Kila is about steel guitar, but for Hawaiian music fans and ukulele historians alike, it may be the most important book to appear this year. Naturally, ukulele is mentioned frequently, but its tangential to Troutmans deeply researched book describing how a style of playing from a small island group in the Pacific was created and exploded around the world, finding its way to Nashvilles characteristic pedal steel lines, bottleneck blues in the Mississippi Delta, and throughout Europe and Asia. Still, Kika Kila is essential for anyone who wants to know more about the tremendously fertileand horribly imperialisticworld of 19th and early-20th century Hawaii, when new ideas poured in and amazing music poured out.
Jake Shimabukuro: Live in Japan (Hal Leonard)
Transcribers Pete Billman and Bill LaFleur had their work cut out for them in these note-for-note transcriptions of Jakes phenomenal playing from his 2016 live album. If you never develop Jakes skillsor even learn one of these songs all of the way throughyou will learn a lot just by trying to play a few of bars of these pieces. Live in Japan is stunning work transcribing some unparalleled playing. Like any good live record, expect to find several Jake favorites, such as Dragon, alongside several tracks from his last studio album Travels, and of course, While My Guitar Gently Weeps. 120 pages, $22.99.
Star Wars (Hal Leonard)
Well, I didnt know that I needed to learn how to play the iconic Cantina Theme or The Imperial March (Darth Vaders Theme) from Star Wars until this new Hal Leonard book of ukulele arrangements of John Williams music landed on my desk.
The arrangements use tab and notes to cover the famous themes from the popular films. Notes and tab of the melody lines, with chord accompaniment. 32 pages, $14.99.
The Charlie Brown Collection (Hal Leonard)
Based on Vince Guaraldis piano compositions and arranged for ukulele, these 17 favorites from the Peanuts cartoons, include the gorgeous, unhurried melody of Christmas Time Is Here Again and the must-learn Linus and Lucy theme. Notes and tab of the melody lines, with chord accompaniment. 48 pages, $14.99.