Appreciation of History: Don Baduria

Don Baduria

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My Father the late Donald G. Baduria was an innovative, self-taught ‘ukulele artist.  He began at the age of 4 years old and through the years developed a style of playing that has set a high bar even until this day.  His style comprises of various strumming and picking, all while moving a song’s melody through chord progressions rather than single notes.

Perhaps the biggest influence on Baduria was his experience in the late 50’s as part of the Air Force’s ‘Tops in Blues’ talent showcase, in which he was part of a string ensemble called the ‘Strolling Strings’ made up of a flamenco guitarist, a banjo player, and Baduria on ‘ukulele.  He appeared twice on the Ed Sullivan show with the ensemble.  The era in which they performed was heavily be-bop jazz oriented and their selection of songs reflected this influence.  The experience with the ‘Strolling Strings’ allowed each individual to share their musical talents with each other.  From this experience, Baduria developed his various picking techniques, which are innovative and not duplicated even in the present.  He also implemented a lot of banjo strumming techniques into his style of play.  So don’t be fooled if you think something is innovative now, it has already been done in the past! 

Baduria carried on his playing career after finishing his tour with the Air Force.  He performed with Waikiki greats such as Kui Lee and Alfred Apaka.  He also recorded two albums, the first, a jazz oriented mix titled “‘Ukulele in Orbit” recorded in the early 1960’s.  The second, a Hawaiian themed album titled “‘Ukulele Magic Hawaiian Style” recorded with Jack DeMello in the early 1970’s.
  My Father was a gifted artist in which his ear was so developed that he could play any song instantaneously.  All he would need to hear was the melody and he would come up with an arrangement.  He was a stickler for fundamentals in music, especially rhythm and timing (a fundamental lacking in many ‘ukulele artist’s in the present).  Words cannot describe the precision of his craftiness.  Just get a hold of either of his two recordings to partially experience what I had in my short time with my Father, the late, great, Donald G. Baduria.

*NOTE This profile was written and given to Herb by Daniel Baduria. Daniel is a great ‘ukulele player himself.  Look for his own recordings on the ‘ukulele in the near future.