Very young kid is a great ukulele player

He barely knows how to talk yet, but he's already a better ukulele player than I'll ever be. (Thanks, Gabe!)


  1. Very nice. Does boingboing ever tire of posts about ukuleles? I think I am fast approaching that point :/

    1. blahgrgh, I hope not. I bought a Flea uke because of Mark’s postings several years ago and have been wonderfully happy because of it.

  2. @blahgrgh Guitar players are all alike, but shining, happy ukelele players each make us happy in their own way.

    1. Oh man, that was the most ‘win’ I’ve seen in a while. Kudos to “Antinous / Moderator”, uhm, and the uketoddler.

  3. Youtube channel says they’re from Japan, so it may sound like he can hardly talk, but it is probably pretty clear to someone who speaks Japanese?

  4. This is appalling. Think about what kind of torture these bear… I mean, this kid had to go through just to learn how to do this….just so we can be entertained. Disgusting.

    1. What makes you assume that he’s tortured or forced to learn the ukulele?

      He looks pretty joyful to me.

    2. Does the kid look like he’s being tortured? No, he’s enjoying it even. Why not look at his talent for a change.

    3. his mother wrote that he learned on his own in three months after watching an ukulele performance on tv.

  5. Boing Boing: All ukuleles and bananas, all the time!

    Actually, this is really cool and cute (and I like Rocky and Balls as well).

  6. I feel like I’m right on the verge of understanding what he’s singing. Is it some pop song just horribly mutilated or am I just imagining things? Or perhaps he’s so good it’s one of those songs that sounds like you’ve known it forever even if it’s new? It’s killing me. Anyone? Anyone?

    On another note; he’s got to get control of that tongue of his, or he’s going to have some trouble in the future.

  7. Hilariously, all the facial flourishes in his performance that I initially read as punk or rock gestures, turned out to be itchy faces and oncoming coughs.

    So, not intentional. But he is so wonderfully unencumbered with self-consciousness that it turns out quite punk in the end anyway. Adds so much! :D

  8. Dear aeternata,

    APPALLING?? IS THAT A JOKE?? If this kid has the attention span to learn the ukulele at age 4 then he’s clearly not tortured by the learning process. Who are you to say he doesn’t love it? His parents are doing him a HUGE favor for the future; he will be a fantastic musician before he reaches high school. Until you have evidence of the parents’ overbearing nature you should just stop talking. On the other hand, you might be right. Endless hours of video games are probably a better option for him.

    I just wish I learned an instrument when I was that young instead of half-ass picking up the guitar in 8th grade.


    Mr. Miner

    1. Harryhood.. I dare say that, Yes! it was a joke. ..bears..

      OTOH.. was your post a post-modernist, double-ironic switch-a-roo? Otherwise the (genuine) addition of “Mr Miner” is hilarious.

      1. phew, i am quite relieved to hear that, and i thus retract my hostile comment.

        and the mr. miner reference was indeed a last minute addition, since every time i sign in as harryhood that song starts playing in my head :)

  9. I’m not usually a fan of ‘cute’ kids, but this little guy is really something.

    Weatherman — the clue is in the title :-) ‘I’m Yours’ was a huge hit by Jason Mraz.

    1. @misterfricative & arkizzle: Oh thanks. It makes sense now. I thought it was because the kid just couldn’t quite form words, but it turns out his diction is spot on with the original!

      Aside: why does anyone live anywhere other than Hawaii? Seriously. Why.

  10. I think he’s gonna graduate to guitar as soon as he gets big enough.

    I’m not saying this particular kid hated every second or anything about this specific video, but just as a general admonition: Parents, don’t force your kids to perform, especially not for YouTube.

    (I hate that.)

      1. I was mainly referring to scale and physical style of playing, is all. He holds it and plays it like a grown man would play an acoustic.

        I tend to agree that comparing instruments (rather than musicians or in terms of craftsmanship) to each other in qualitatively is pointless.

        (Except for the kazoo, which I would gleefully watch melting in hell for eternity.)

  11. On one of the other videos, you can hear the videographer (presumably the parent) laughing, so I don’t think there is someone off screen with a whip or anything. I understand what you mean about not forcing kids to be performers or future Internet viral superstars, but this at least *appears* to just be people showing off how proud they are and how cute their kid is.

    I think the biggest problem is that many parents would begin to pour on the pressure if and when he starts getting invited to perform on TV or something (which can easily happen with viral video “stars”). That’s something you don’t really think about when you post your cute kid video on YouTube.

  12. I think this video may have to teach us about the musical difficulty of “I’m Yours” than the brilliance of one preschooler, but it’s very cute. Lots of kids can play musical instruments quite well. There was a guy that wrote a book about it. I think his name was something like…Suzuki?

  13. Aeternata: not sure if that was irony or not, but you can tell with some of these “my-kid-is-a-prodigy” type vids that their insanely disciplinarian parents are off-camera with a flail or something… but this little guy seems to be having genuine fun, and in that vid of his own song he’s absolutely loving it. In fact, I think I’m going to get my kid a ukelele for Christmas~*

  14. The uke on the kid looks like a guitar, scale wise. Heheh. That was amazing. Love the singing too. New genre… babyrock?

  15. aeternata, i’m definitely not in your camp. this kid looks like he “gets it”, musically speaking. unless i’m a completely bad judge, he looks to be having fun and has a fantastic natural talent. i think other musicians would agree with me, this is natural talent – not forced, tortured practising.

  16. He did not compose that second song himself. It is 4 Non Blondes “What’s Up”. I say Heeeey yaaaaaay yaaaay yaaay.

    That is, unless he is a time traveller.

  17. oh for god’s sake his original song is NOT the 4 non Blondes song. You could find 100 songs that it’s closer to than that, give me a break.

  18. It isn’t the guitar, it is the singing that makes the 2nd video clearly 4 Non Blondes.

    He is clearly singing that song. And he obviously has the chorus rhythm down pat (while not so much anything else).

    Besides where is there even any claim this is an original as opposed to the exact same thing as the original post? (which is a neat cover)

    BTW, I am not a big 4 Non Blondes fan, i don’t even have a copy of any of their songs around and I wouldn’t recognize a band member if the came in and tried to spoon me to death. Butthole.

    1. Besides where is there even any claim this is an original as opposed to the exact same thing as the original post?

      ukulele ma-i-na-ku-ma-na 14 November 2009

      This is his original tune.

      And it soooo doesn’t sound like he’s singing “What’s Going On?” Even if he is. Which he isn’t :p

    2. I’m sorry. It really doesn’t.

      Anyway. Does anyone know if ma-i-na-ku-ma-na, or something like it, means anything in Hawaiian? I did catch an “aloha” somewhere in that song.

      Real cute, anyway. The kid is obviously having buckets of fun. :)

      1. SamSam

        [ Disclaimer: I don’t speak a word of Hawaiian, I’m playing this like a straight code-break (+added frilly bits), and language totally doesn’t work like that (well, it does have frilly bits). So I’m not suggesting for a second that any of my interpretations are remotely close to the real song title. Just for fun :) ]

        Depends on how you parse the syllables:

        • ma == “At, in, on, beside, along, through”
        • i == “To, towards, at, in, on, by”
        • na == “By, for, belonging to”
        • ku = “stand”

        Whereas, if we assemble the syllables into the possible contiguous words groups we get:

        • ma + i = mai == “Directional part., towards the speaker, this way.”
        • i + na = ina == “To vary or modulate the tone of voice” or “To pry, as with a lever.”
        • na + ku = naku == “To root, wallow, as a hog; to tread, trample, push, as through mud”
        • ku + ma = kuma == “Cracking of the skin between fingers and toes”
        • ma + na = má.ná == “an arid desert”
        • ma + na = mana == “supernatural power” or “to worship”

        So, some readings might go:

        • ma i naku má.ná = “In the desert, I wallow.”
        • mai na ku mana = “Towards belonging. Stand divine.”
        • ma ina kuma na = “Singing with my calloused hands.” or “Working with..”
        • ma ina ku ma na = …

  19. i don’t have kids, which makes me want to chip in and get this guy a junior les paul. or maybe even a custom uke with some pickups so he can start experimenting with tone.

    my nieces that are his age do pretty well to just hold the uke and not play fiddly with the pegs.

  20. I’m at work so can only watch the video without sound but judging from the kid’s gusto someone needs to buy him a marshall stack, a flying vee and let him play a set with Boris.

  21. For who ever is thinking that this kid’s parents are forcing this upon him, and doubt his enjoyment:
    Look on Youtube for “”ma-i-na-ku-ma-na”
    it shows exactly how happy, and adorable this little boy is!

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