You're probably wondering who Kaylé is from the title of this article. Well, Kaylé is the name of a ukulele and this is her story.
It all started with a friend who recommended Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's video "Over The Rainbow" to us on YouTube. After watching and listening to the beautiful sounds of the ukulele, it ignited an interest in this beautiful little instrument and with the help of YouTube's powerful related video recommendations, we discovered Jake Shimakuburo, James Hill, Aldrine Guerrero, Roy Sakuma, Herb Ohta, Daniel Ho and many other inspiring and talented ukulele players who showed us what a ukulele is actually capable of in the hands of an experienced performer.
We did not own a ukulele so we decided to go out and buy one just to try it out. What we found in Singapore were a pathetic selection and way over-priced. We were resolved to dreaming about owning a Hawaiian uke we could take to the beach or park to strum and sing a few songs.
As December approached, I thought what a lovely surprise it would be if I got Glyn a uke for her Christmas present. That started a massive online search for ukulele makers as well as forums and review sites. As I trawled the internet late into the night, I also discovered that there was a ukulele revival in the U.S. and the U.K., but it has yet to reach this part of the world. Forums and blogsites also pointed to a small group of ukulele players in Singapore and Malaysia but there weren't any community where enthusiasts can come together, connect and play, after all the ukulele is an instrument that promotes community building and bonding.
Her "surprise gift" came almost a month early! All thanks to the super-efficient U.S. postal service from Hawaii! I thought it might take a few weeks to arrive due to pre-Christmas orders which was why I started shopping a month early. Glyn was well and truly surprised with the early Christmas gift, which was a Kala Flamed Maple Spruce Top Tenor. The reason I chose this particular model was based purely on aesthetics and the material used for the soundboard, as well as fantastic reviews of KALA ukuleles. As we were both learning how to play the guitar, we were more familiar with woods used for guitar, hence the choice.
Kaylé (pronounced kay-lee) was the name given by Glyn for her new-found love. Reason was simple, because it was a Kala and it was a ukulele. Friends who dropped by were awestruck by the beauty of the ukulele and mesmerized by the cute and unique sound, and everybody wanted one for themselves. It was fun to play, beautiful to behold, a delight to own, portable and easy to learn so any beginner can pick it up and start playing after a few minutes.
This led us to believe that there is a community waiting to come out of the concrete jungle. We took a leap of faith, negotiated with Kala to import a batch of ukes as we believed they offered the best-made, best-sounding ukes for its price. They had ukes that suited absolute beginners to more experienced players and will not burn a big hole in your pocket.
The rest is history as they say...we registered a company, used our home office as a showroom, created a Facebook fanpage that is growing in strength by the day. We reached out to all the ukulele players in Singapore and Asia, invited them to join our community and our jam sessions, thus helping to grow the community a little at a time.
I guess you can attribute the birth of UKULELE MOVEMENT to Kaylé which allowed us an opportunity to indulge in our passion and to spread the awareness of this wonderful instrument via a community, at the same time offering ukulele players and enthusiasts an option in the selection of a ukulele in Singapore. It gives us great pleasure to see strangers ending up as friends at a jam session, or walk out the door with a big grin clutching their brand new ukes. In these days of doom and gloom, bringing a little joy and enjoyment to people goes a long way, and the ukulele is a little bundle of joy that will guarantee happiness!
~ Simon Mok, co-founder of UKULELE MOVEMENT