I recently culled another video and poster from the OUS FB platform for posting a Doors cover on the page!
Don’t get me wrong I love the Doors, but the page has a clear description that its for ORIGINAL UKULELE SONGS only and the poster even had “Doors cover” in the description! Inevitably the same video is posted on countless other FB ukulele pages! Original Ukulele Songs is an oasis in an ocean of cover versions online. I have no issue with great cover versions, BUT imagine if the only movies that were ever released were remakes of “old classics?” Creating original songs in my view is the mark of a true artist. I am fully aware that this is a minority view and such a viewpoint will provoke all manner of responses. OUS unashamedly takes the position of bringing together artists wanting to create something new. At the superb GNUF festival this year one seasoned artist talked about throwing in some cover versions to maintain audience interest. I fully appreciate that for many audiences familiarity is welcome, BUT in my view the real joy of being in an audience is hearing something entirely original. Yes it can be more challenging, but what a great challenge to take up as an artist!
Predictions and trends in the ukulele world
My prediction is that in forthcoming years there will be a polarization of views and there will be a growing (and in my view welcome) trend of artists focusing on creating original material. The new collaborations element on this site has sparked some really excellent and fascinating end results. Original Ukulele Songs is not about creating the best song ever in first draft or becoming the next Joni Mitchell, but rather engaging in the process of musical creation. I totally appreciate that may not be an easy process for many folks, but if we are to move beyond the dreadful prepackaged pouty X Factor style “entertainment” there needs to be a different dynamic. When I set up OUS a year ago and approached a number of seasoned artists they all made the same observation that with a few notable exceptions, the ukulele scene needed a new injection of creative energy. This of course is a personal view and many will disagree. This may even be a minority view. There’s always a place for a mass strum of “Wagon Wheel” but OUS will always be the small but growing oasis in an ocean of cover versions. How else will future classic songs appear without such creative activity?
In 2017 we’ll be unveiling Phase 3 OUS and its going to be great…
Special thanks to longstanding OUS folks who have maintained the energy of this project, including Alan Thornton. Bianca Brochet, Matt Hicks, Shirley Cranstoun, Sean Hunt, Liz Panton, Kristy Worden, Paul Cameron and many others.