Because The World Needs a Happy Ukulele Story

Praise the Lord!

Praise God in his sanctuary!
    Praise God in his fortress, the sky!
 Praise God in his mighty acts!
    Praise God as suits his incredible greatness!
 Praise God with the blast of the ram’s horn!
    Praise God with lute and lyre!
 Praise God with drum and dance!
    Praise God with strings and pipe!
 Praise God with loud cymbals!
    Praise God with clashing cymbals!
 Let every living thing praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord! – Psalm 150


brand new Cocobolo Ukulele

My amazing wife, Rebekah, has always loved the ukulele. A little over a year ago, in an effort to add some balance to her overwhelming work schedule, she purchased a better-than-beginner’s model and embarked on a serious learning journey (“Taking Ourselves Less Seriously”).

Rebekah has practiced diligently, she is taking lessons, she uses the ukulele as a devotional tool, and she has researched both the instrument and the culture extensively. Her practice work ethic and her progress as a player have both impressed and inspired me.

Then, and this is wonderful, the ukulele is good for her heart. “Have you ever seen a person playing the ukulele who is not happy?” she likes to say. And it’s true, there is something about the sweet, lighthearted, buoyant instrument that is both sincere and playful. The ukulele is good for Rebekah’s soul; and Rebekah playing her ukulele is good for mine.

Honing in on a gem:

Rebekah’s new Cocobolo ukulele

Part of Rebekah’s research led to ukulele review sites. The demonstrations are inspiring, and what these experts have to say about the instruments has revealed a breadth and depth of design, versatility, and craftsmanship that rivals the world of acoustic guitars.

Several names consistently rose to the surface, and one in particular captivated her heart because of the quality, the clear tone, and the stunning beauty of the woods used in manufacturing. Cocobolo Ukuleles produce a limited number of handmade instruments and they are in high demand.

What is remarkable is how Cocobolo have dealt with the pressures of supply and demand without selling their souls in the process. Essentially, rather than allow the price of the ukes to skyrocket and force those with limited resources out of the market, Cocobolo Ukuleles instituted a lottery system designed to guarantee equal access and keep these exquisite instruments within reach.

This month Rebekah’s name was drawn and she was offered the opportunity to purchase the exact tenor model that had led her to Cocobolo in the first place.


DSC_0001The package arrived Monday morning and I took a video of her reaction when she opened the box. Priceless (it’s posted on the Cocobolo Facebook page…)! The instrument is every bit as wonderful as the reviewers promised when they sung its praises, and more so. Not just the appearance and the craftsmanship, but the tone, the sustain, the joy that literally leaps from the strings.

Rebekah is not learning in order to perform, her relationship with the ukulele is as much a devotional exercise as anything else. However, she is so excited that she incorporated a short demonstration into her video-blog for the church this morning. You can access that at the WFPC Facebook page.

IMG_0647So, as we close out June we do so with the dulcet tones of Rebekah’s Cocobolo ukulele ringing with clarity and promise, reminding anyone who will listen that beauty is holy, that light is healing, and that we can sing the Good News without fear because love always wins.

Peace, always – DEREK

Here is the story, in photos:

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