The Ukulele Diaries: Staying “Above the Weather” after the hiatus

Text and photos by Cams Anareta

The Camerawalls performs during their concert “Above the Weather” together with the Junior Orchestra of the Manila Symphony Orchestra at the Music Museum in San Juan City, Manila.

I don’t consider myself lucky when it comes to contests; but taking risks might be the solution for me to combat my months-long ‘ukulele hiatus.’ I guess there is a saturation point when it comes to instruments, too.

One my favorite local acts, The Camerawalls (comprised of Clem Castro, Law Santiago, Bach Rudica, and Venj Gatmaitan), suddenly rolled an intriguing ad for a contest. They were willing to dole out a couple of free tickets, and all one has to do is submit a video. Sounds easy right? Nope. The recorded clip must show one’s own interpretation of any Camerawalls song.

But there is a huge catch.

Unlike other cover song contests, one won’t simply win via popularity or through many ‘likes’ on Facebook. One must earn the validation from the band itself—that certain stamp of approval from the quartet. Off goes my light bulb moment. I was broke and pretty desperate on getting my hands on the cheapest ticket. Thus, I had to unearth one of my favorite ukuleles out of the closet. It was time to cut the chase and play again.

Where does the ukulele come in the concert you may ask? None. Although it was my free pass to the Above the Weather concert. That’s why it was all the more terrifying to interpret a beloved Camerawalls hit with such a tiny instrument. Brushing off all the anxiety, I (un)conveniently picked a song that was originally a duet between Clem and Turbo Goth’s Sarah Gaugler called The Sight of Love.

What was I thinking? Yet as the saying goes, “Go big or go home.”


March 14 (a day before the concert proper) brought the biggest surprise of my life. My humble, little solo ukulele interpretation got The Camerawalls’ nod. I was now meant to troop to the venue and occupy one of the best seats in the house—orchestra centre!

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