Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In Memoriam: John King

John King: Gavotte I and II (From J.S. Bach's Cello Suite No. 5, BWV 1101)


When John King passed away earlier this year, he left a gaping hole in the ukulele community. Though he only released two albums, John was a master of the tiny, four-stringed instrument, an author of numerous books, and a generous soul who often shared his extensive knowledge of the ukulele, classical guitar history, and Hawaiian music with anybody who asked, on various online forums and at ukulele festivals.

John was unique among ukulele players in that he played in a classical style known as campanella, originally developed in the early Baroque period for the five-course guitarra española, an early ancestor of the modern six-string guitar. Campanella involves playing each succeeding note of a melodic line on a different string, allowing each note to ring out with bell-like resonance, not unlike a harp. The results redefined what a ukulele could sound like.

Like all our featured artists this week, he will be missed.

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