Walking in On Ukulele Malaya
I wasn’t really sure how to begin this story because it was all a coincidence. My friend Sue (I have been hanging out a lot with her lately) bought herself an Ukulele two weeks ago online and I remembered asking her which country she had gotten it from. When she replied that it was from a shop in Batu Caves I was stunned particularly because I had assumed that this unique hobby was still very new fresh here in Malaysia. This is how we got to know about Ukulele Malaya. Sue did a quick research on the stores’ address and just like that we drove down to Batu Caves in search of this place.
The shop was not that hard to find if you’re using apps like Waze which directs you exactly to the ‘X’ spot. Ukulele Malaya was located on the third floor and finding the ‘Closed’ sign on the door after climbing up three flights of stairs was actually not that funny. We took a chance, knocked on the door and was greeted by a tall Malay man whom we later got to know was Mr. Khai, the owner of Ukulele Malaya. The shop opens at 11:30am by the way.
It was a cosy place with colourful Ukulele’s mounted on the wall to the left together with the classic version in tones of brown while a seriers of Ukuleles’ hung on the wall above us. A ‘living room’ area with sofas were arranged in the centre and it certainly felt like ‘home’.
Chatting with Khai made me see a passionate person who established this business to share the love of Ukulele music to everyone. It is also not a difficult instrument to play once you get the hang of the basic chords. He showed us the types of Ukulele brands that is available in his shop such as the Ukuma (house brand), Hulala, Makala, Waikikit, and Ohana to name a few. Just like the guitar, the Ukulele is also made up of different type of categories such as Soprano, Concerto, Tenor and Baritone. This ‘family’ of Ukuleles’ can be seen above the cashier counter.
Ukulele Malaya is a 100% retail ukulele music store, delivering all kinds of ukuleles located in the business district area of Sunway Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia. Established in 2010, we are delivering a comprehensive range of ukulele from anybody who are about to try to play ukulele for the first time as beginner stage to world-renowned professional ukulele players. – Ukulele Malaya
I asked Khai how would I know which Ukulele is suitable for me? His advice is for me to try out a few starting with the Beginners’ instrument to get the feel and eventually I will somehow we (the instrument & I) will click just like two soulmates searching for each other. We started to try out a few starting with the affordable ones up to the expensive ones. Apparently the more expensive it is the better the sound, more ‘lemak merdu’ said Aid who was also manning the shop at the time. I tried a few and loved a particular one which costs RM1,500 which I would come back for when I can play really well (right Sue?).
Ukulele Malaya not only sells Ukuleles’ but also provides classes to fellow enthusiasts. They have also done events together with Malaysia Ukulele Group (MUG) such as ‘Malaysia Ukulele Day’ which was held in Titiwangsa. MUG is an officially registered ukulele community, formed in mid of May 2010 and based in Kuala Lumpur with members from all over Malaysia. They have performed in Urbanscapes, Nuffnang & Churp Churp events among a few. Ukulele Malaya even does collaboration with Music Students from our local University called UiTM.
Khai shared with us on traveling in search of authentic Ukuleles’ and it has been an exciting experience for this unique hobby is slowly picking up in Malaysia. We spoke about having a Ukulele Malaysia Festival here (just like the ones in Thailand), to create more intetest for the Uke. I remembered watching a TV commercial featuring this girl who plays the Ukulele and won a contest to become the face of the brand. Sadly I couldn’t recall which brand she was featured in. I would like to thank Khai for the impromptu chat even though the main reason we visited his shop was to buy a Ukulele tuner (Sue needed that). It ended up with a deep understanding and the growing love for the instrument in our country. It’s always nice to meet and chat with passionate people who love to do the things they do in life. Just to let you know that because of this I ended up getting one Ukulele for myself and will be learning to play this with my friend Sue. Hopefully we’ll be as good as Jake Shimabukuro in like 10 years time. Hehe.
For those who are inspired to try something new this year, why not try the Ukulele? I’d like to end this post with an ACCIDENTAL video I took while testing out the video mode function in his shop. It ended up with a recording of Aid playing ‘Pink Panther. Here are also the details for Ukulele Malaya:
Address: 34A-2,Jalan SM2, Sunway Batu Caves, Batu Caves, 68100, Selangor, MALAYSIA .
Phone: +603 61878054 Mobile : +6012 973 7564 (Khai) +6012-299 4217 (Aid)
Operation Hours: 12pm – 7pm @ Wednesday – Sunday.
About Yafieda Jamil
A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.