Mar 7, 2008

Only In Saipan: Ukelele as Fashion Accessory

In the States, the style-conscious teen accessorizes with a cell phone in her hand or ipod buds sprouting from his ears. Here in Saipan, you can spot these must-have accessories as well, but you'll also find another unique acoutrement for the cool kids club--the ukelele. They are ubiquitous among the youth here. Any where a group of teens are gathered, you're sure to find at least one ukelele in the grasp of adolescent fingers. Sometimes the kids aren't even playing the "uke"--just holding it. But most do play as well--at least a few simple tunes--and some are quite talented. These days the plaintive tinkle of the ukelele can be heard wafting across our campus throughout the school day. I even saw a little girl plunking softly away in the middle of church last week!

Books. . .check. Backpack. . .check. Ukelele. . .check

One of my students, "T" shows off a uke he borrowed from a friend. The phrase in the upper right corner refers to the Refaluwasch, the name the Carolinian people use for themselves.

Uke Duet. "Micronesian Queen", on the right, and a fifth grader play their ukes in the lunchroom before school begins.

"K" plays one of our students' favorite uke tunes. (Note to self. . don't video tape with the camera on its side.)


Mai said...

Great post, Sean! I really enjoyed it - I love how musical our kids are! They definitely have some talent! (And I like seeing ukes in the kids' hands much more than cell phones and ipods!)

Beverly Mae said...

Sean, if you like the Ukelele . . . there is an amazing artist coming to saipan for a beautify cnmi banquet. Everybody loved him last year. Its a teenager and he plays the Ukelele like you could never imagine. just heavenly!