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Amazing Grace

If you are familiar with the television show, America’s Got Talent, then you may know the name Grace VanderWaal.  She was the $1,000,000 winner of the 11th season of the show.  She sang her own lyrics and played her own music with her ukulele in order to become the champion.  The unique sound of her voice and of her chosen instrument, the ukulele, provided her with the tools she needed to create such an interesting performance.

I recently found out that Grace has ties to the Birmingham area.  I had hired the best electrician Hoover AL had to offer and while he was working on some repairs, I was watching the rerun of the show when Grace won.  My electrician was very proud to tell me that she was his niece.  What a small world!

The ukulele is very unique because it is relatively small in size, yet creates a very distinguishable sound.  It was originally from Hawaii, but during the 20th century became very popular in the mainland of the United States.  Eventually, it became popular worldwide.

The ukulele is designated as a member of the lute classification of instruments.  It is a guitar-like instrument that has four nylon strings that are plucked with the player’s fingertips or with a felt guitar pick.  Ukuleles are usually made of wood, but some can also be found that are made of plastic.  The traditional wood that was used in the construction of the ukulele was acacia koa wood, but many other types of wood have also been used to create this petit instrument.  The name ukulele comes from the Hawaiian words, “uku”, which means gift or reward, and “lele”, which means to come.  The literal translation is “the gift that came here”.

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