A Letter from George

There are many ukulele tutorials on YouTube and one is called Get Strumming presented by a Pommie guy called Dominic.

He has done a blog about ex-Beatle George Harrison – a renowned ukulele enthusiast. For instance, George had many ukuleles at home. When he had a dinner party, he would hand each of the guests a uke and get them all to play.

At the end of the blog, Dominic reads a letter that George wrote on 2 February 1989. It is on a letterhead of Flea Market Music Inc based in Los Angeles. Flea Market Music was set up by Jim Beloff, an early uke promoter, who operated one of the first shops in America dedicated to ukuleles.

The letter reads:

Everyone should have and play a ’UKE’. It’s so simple to carry with you and it is one instrument you can’t play and not laugh.


It’s so sweet and also very old – some are made of wood – some are made of armadillo. I love them – the more the merrier.


Everybody I know who is into the ukulele is ‘crackers’ so get yourself a few and enjoy yourself.


Sounds like good advice.

The letter is signed George ‘Keoki’ Harrison and he has sketched an image of a ukulele. By the way, Keoki is a Hawaiian word meaning farmer and a variant of George.

Story behind the letter

The letter is the foreword for a song book called Jumpin’ Jims 60s Uke-In compiled by Jim Beloff of Flea Market Music. The book includes a number of Beatles tunes arranged for ukulele as well as some songs from George.

Jim Beloff tells the story behind the letter. According to Jim, George visited his home after reading Jim’s book about the history of the ukulele to see Jim’s ukulele collection. During the visit, Jim asked George to write a few words about ukuleles, and George wrote the note.  When Jim was preparing to publish his 60s compilation book, the first to include sheet music of Beatles songs for ukulele, he received George’s permission to publish the letter as the foreword.

Read more about Jim Beloff from this great article from Ukulele Magazine.  This is a fantastic ukulele journey over 26 years.