The person who pigeonholes instruments, in terms of the genres of music and types of songs that best highlight their beauty and power, is a person who probably needs to spend a little bit more time communing with the hi-fi and the many surprising places instruments of appeared.
Or not so surprising. An acoustic guitar isn't just for country but for classical concertos, and violin strings gave the rock operas of the 1970s much of their elegance. Saxophones weren't built solely for jazz, but for pop, too, and harmonicas are a happy addition most anywhere they show up.
As is the ukulele. It's a strum-sweet staple of island ballads, and it has shown up in ragtime and Tin Pan Alley works, too. And Americana treats, such as bluegrassy jams and folksy ditties? The ukulele has a way of being both the cream and sugar in that particular homegrown cup of coffee, adding a deeper weight to melodies and some welcomed frippery and fun, too.
This combo -- Americana + the ukulele -- will get even further combo'd-out when ukulele players from across Southern California will gather downtown on Friday, Dec. 11 for the annual Ukulele Christmas Orchestra.
The carol-forward show'll roam "America's rambling roads and smoky mountains," with a strong roots element at the merry middle.
Add a fourth delight to the not-so-surprising recipe of holiday tunes, ukulele vibes, and rootsy notes: The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. There are probably still a few people around Southern California that think one has to be wearing a gold lamé gown to best enjoy the chandeliers-and-mirror opera-plus landmark, but the cultural destination offers a diverse menu of musical diversions, and price points, too: Joining in the concert is fifteen bucks.
It's a gathering just for musicians, take note -- "no guests/visitors please" says the site -- and all uke players need to show with their instrument and a music stand. Beginners and intermediate players are the focus of the night, so take a look at the Music Center's definition and see if this applies to you.
And seriously, don't let us deter you. If you want to wear gold lamé for the show, no one says you shouldn't. Life's best lived marching to your own drumbeat.
And it is, we assume, a drumbeat that shows up in many ways in your world, in much the same way a drum can be heard in many genres and a ukulele can add folksy flavor to a bluegrassy Christmas carol.