BY NICOLAS GRIZZLE
Here we’ve got four more holiday classics for you, including an epic, impromptu performance, a group effort with lots of cheer, the inevitable sad-but-beautiful Christmas tune, and a fun and interesting arrangement that you can learn for yourself. We’re getting down to the wire—do you have all your holiday shopping done, or are you hoping that “Little Saint Nick” will bail you out at the last minute?
This chord-melody version from Ukulele Underground of the Elvis Presley hit “Blue Christmas” is, thankfully, less schmaltzy than the original (no offense, King). The uke sounds so nice here, mostly because of Aldrine Guerrero’s clean and lovely playing but also in part because of this beautiful instrument. I mean, just look and listen to that Kanilea! Maybe if I got one of those I’d sound just as good? (Sure, that and years of consistent practice, maybe!)
‘Little Saint Nick’
There’s a lot that I love about this rendition of the Beach Boys’ holiday classic “Little Saint Nick” by the Austin Ukulele Society. First off, great song name. Second, who doesn’t love the Beach Boys? Third, the fun and festive outfits, hats, antlers, and lights automatically put me in the holiday spirit. And finally, there’s the actual singing and playing, and there’s a chord guide in the corner for me to play along with, which I enjoyed doing. Finally, I spotted some younger players in there—it’s always nice to see a ukulele group with wide age range!
‘Carol of the Bells’
Taimane is such a great musician, she could make scrambling eggs sound musical. We’re just lucky she chose the ukulele instead of a spatula as her instrument of choice. In this video, filmed this year, Taimane and her band (Rachel Look on guitar, Jaycob Sierra on cajon) had some time to kill before performing for a private show, and were inspired by a beautiful Christmas tree at the at the Convention Center in Honolulu, Oahu. “I love playing with these musicians,” Taimane writes on YouTube. “They’re always down for a random jam session for funsies.” Since they were already all dressed up for the show, they jammed out on “Carol of the Bells” for us. Thanks, Taimane!
‘Let It Snow’
Oh, look, another playthrough for “Let it Snow.” Wait, it’s chord-melody? Well, that’s cool. Is that a G7b9 in the first measure? Are those harmonics!? Ok, now I’m hooked. Ukulele Boris (Boris Mogilevski) certainly knows how to make holiday staples like “Let it Snow” interesting and fun to play. This one-minute version should be fun to practice as well as satisfying to play once it’s mastered.