A new series of articles for Got A Ukulele - Ukulele Rainmakers. On most ukulele sites you will find (including this one) you will find many articles, videos, interviews and the like that champion the the professional ukulele players and performers, but it struck me that we don't see enough for those other ukulele champions - those who have done something else in the world of ukulele to make it keep turning.
So what is a rainmaker? Well, it's a term for somebody who has made something happen, made a success, or made an important noise in their field. First up then - say hello to Jim Beloff.
|Photo Credit - Jim Beloff|
Some ukulele beginner may not know the name Jim Beloff, but I guarantee you will have come across something of Jims on your ukulele travels. In fact some say that "Jumpin' Jim" as he is sometimes called (and of course, his wife Liz) may well be responsible for the current surge in popularity in the ukulele around the world.
Perhaps his most famous contribution were his ukuleles the Flea and the Fluke, which the Beloffs developed in setting up Flea Market Music in 1992. Working with his brother in law Dale Webb, Jim, recognising that there were very few ukes around at that time that suited new players, they set about creating a new trouble free instrument that would allow new players to get going with minimal fuss, whilst still getting a great tone. The Fluke was born and went on to be hugely popular around the world ( I own both the Fluke and the baby version, the Flea!)
But that wasn't the start of it - before bringing his new uke to the world, the Company had already been putting out what became a hugely popular series of ukulele songbooks, starting with his "Jumpin' Jim's Ukulele Favourites" which went on to be so popular that the couple chose to quit their day jobs and concentrate on their uke business. Bear in mind, this was at a time when the internet was only a fledgling service and the idea of just logging on for tabs just wasn't an option - you went to a music store. Before Jims books can you imagine how many uke songbooks there were on the shelves - yeah, you guessed it.
Most recently the firm have had huge success with their songbook "The Daily Ukulele" giving new players a new song for every day of the year - still delivered with the Flea Market charm and careful selection of songs that will help beginners progress rather than put them off.
So here we have a man and his wife who can quite rightly be credited with bringing ukulele music and the whole idea of playing one back into the mainstream. Truly a rainmaker in my opinion!