Bring On The Ukes, Bring On The Fun-New indie doc focuses on the wonderful world of the ukulele

The Mighty Uke

By Bill Delingat

Just when someone’s about to ask:” Whatever happened to Topp?” dude pops back onto the radar. Gary Topp aka T Dog, Topper or just plain Gary has been well known in the International Music and entertainment scene for 40 years. Currently, he’s best known for his bleeding edge
CIUT radio Show and promoter of some of the most eclectic shows the T.Dot’s ever seen.

An avid filmgoer and indie supporter Topp is bringing a unique opportunity for freaky fun to the Toronto Film scene with the presentation of “Mighty Uke. The Amazing Comeback Of A Musical Underdog”.

Think of a ukulele and you probably imagine grass skirts, slide guitar and kitschy lyrics, but far from being just a Hawaiian novelty instrument, the uke has a rich history and has profoundly affected music around the world. Originally brought to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants, the tiny instrument first captured the musical imaginations of the Hawaiian royal court in the 1880’s. With the dawn of the radio broadcasting age, ukulele music owned the airwaves. Broadway produced ukulele musicals. Hollywood produced ukulele movie stars. The little instrument was so inexpensive and easy to play that by the early twenties the uke was the most popular instrument in the American home and the first musical voice for millions of children. Over the next thirty years the uke was number one, and then, with the rise of rock and roll guitar, faded into nerdy obscurity. Until now.

In the internet age, the ukulele is making a comeback. Clubs and ensembles are sprouting up around the world, and a new generation is pulling their grandparents’ ukes out of the closet, challenging our images of the humble, twangy ukulele. Ukes top the charts in Japan, Swedish punks thrash uke angst, California popsters serve it to ya ukulele style, classical composers carefully pluck out musicbox sonatas, and all of them meet together at the myriad ukulele festivals from New York to London and Tokyo.

MIGHTY UKE travels the world to discover why so many people of different nations, cultures, ages and musical tastes are turning to the ukulele to express themselves, connect with the past, and with each other. From the Redwoods of California through the gritty streets of Paris, from swinging London through Tokyo’s highrise canyons to Hawaii, ukers tell the story of the people’s instrument: The Mighty Uke.

THE RETURN OF THE MIGHTY UKE ROADSHOW offers a Special Family/Kids Matinee 3 pm Sat Sept 18 @ The Royal Cinema. This special event is a benefit for the Therapeutic Clown Program at Sick Kids' Hospital, and as a special added attraction, ukulele virtuoso James Hill lights up the house with a live performance after the set. Following that, there will be a massed uke strum-along involving clowns and attendees are urged to bring their ukes for the jam and get in on winning a KALA ukulele.