I have always said that The Original Ukulele Songs Project will have a number of phases. Although I initiated OUS, I consider it not to be “Nick Cody’s” project, but rather “our project” as contributing artists. The original FB page now has close to 2000 members in just 6 months with new material from all over the globe posted on a daily basis. This initial enthusiasm was a catalyst for creating this site which is phase 2 of OUS. Phase three will appear in 2017 and is considerably more work than anything to date.
I am currently writing up an article for Uke Magazine about Martin Simpson’s take on the ukulele. Martin is a world class musician best known for his guitar playing, but has already recorded with the ukulele on past albums. He commented
“The ukulele, is a little tiny thing with four strings, which are gut strings or nylon strings. It speaks limitation immediately. Now I really like that, I really like, and so my response to it was to say “ok you little thing, let’s doing something which brings out the quality of the instrument. Let’s do something which doesn’t attempt to be anything but an investigation of what this little thing can do, in a very clear way”.
My own experience is that the ukulele is a fantastic writing tool because of its limitations! I also love to see it being used in ways that really explore what the instrument can do. Yes I’m fine with people strumming “old classics” BUT why not see what else we can do in a more creative and inspirational way? Martin Simpson is a great example of an artist doing this and Aaron from “The Quiet American” at The Grand Northern Ukulele Festival was another great example of someone using the uke in what is for me a more creative way.
OUS to create something new
The focus of OUS is to do just this and by doing so to create something quite extraordinary as well as changing the stereotypical view that many have of this instrument. I’m fully aware that OUS will to a degree polarize opinions, but I’m fine with that. The key is to provoke new discussion and exploration. When we create ORIGINAL songs we are in my view doing far more than simply recycling previous material. Yes, I love great covers, but as I repeatedly say “How about something new?”
The momentum and development of OUS on a larger scale depends mostly on the collective contributions of all the artists involved. The different phases mean everyone can participate at some level and collectively we can produce something quite extraordinary. Phase 3 will be quite groundbreaking, watch this space, it’s already in motion…
NC June 2016