Ukulele brands and models will get a rest today.
Jaka Solo means chord solos, particularly in the lively Roy Smeck vein."Jaka-jaka" is the onomatopoeia for the sound of rapidly played chords with that sort of rythm. You get the point, I hope.
One book that is beginning to make an impression here is on chord solos and written by a gent who calls himself Kamatetsu. You pretty much now find the book wherever you find ukulele books and music in Japan. The translation of the title of the book would be something like "Extreme Ukulele Solo: Jaka Solo."
The songs included are:
1. Menuett-A Lover's Concerto
3. Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue
5. Diamond Head-Slaughter on 10th Avenue
6. The World is Waiting for Sunrise
7. Astro Boy-Sazaesan
8. Stars and Stripes Forever
9. Symphony No. 9-Choral 4th Movement (Beethoven)
10. El Humauaqueno
11. El Condor Pasa
12. When The Saints Go Marchin' In
13. Crazy G (Version 1)
14. Crazy G (Version 2)
15. Grandfather's Clock (Country-style)
16. Grandfather's Clock (Hawaiian-style)
17. Under the Double Eagle (Wagner)
(It's a warts and all list. The spelling comes from the book--they are after all using a language foreign to them.)
The book is divided into several sections. Pages 8-13 are on general ukulele playing and the basics of chord solos. The second section, pages 14-33 are on the key points of each particular song. These include damping techniques, tricky fingerings, and rythm hints, etc.The rest of the book is pretty much the musical notation and tabs for the songs above.
The songs are all marked with 1-5 stars, one being the easiest to play, five being more difficult. "Crazy G" (Version 1) ranks a one, while Version 2 gets three. "Lover" lands five stars. I will probably never be able to play that tune.
Kamatetsu also did the recording of the included CD on his Martin. The CD is worth listening to on its own. When he does performances, he often includes songs from the CD.
The book came to my attention before it was published. Kamatetsu is a friend of one of the members of my regular ukulele group and they practice together in Tokyo. They have also put out a CD.
Our group member arranged a mini-ukulele festival here in town where a centerpiece was a Kamatetsu workshop not long after the book was published. I asked Kamatetsu whether it would be possible to publish a translation of the book. He said it was up to the publisher because of copyright issues. I haven't heard anything about it since.
Note: I debated with myself long and hard about which link to add for the book. I settled on Amazon because it might be possible to order the book from abroad through them and some people might get a feel for the thing. At least part of their page is in English. The publisher, Chuo Art Publishing does have a write up about the book and it can be found reasonably easily on their site. The problem there is that it is all in Japanese, in which case most anyone reading that would not be reading this. That held true with all the other Japanese bookstores I looked at as well.