Ukulele video taps local scenery

Noah Wisch and Emmalie Keenan used several locations in Bridgton and Harrison to create a music video, playing Ukuleles.
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By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Love is taking over Bridgton.

The town’s official marketing line is “Love always, Bridgton,” so it seemed quite natural that during a recent two week stay that Emmalie Keenan and Noah Wisch decided to use local scenic spots as backdrops to their latest YouTube video.

Playing ukuleles and performing Loving is Easy by Rex Orange County, the couple created a 3-minute, 5-second music video for their BananaCactus Ukulele (BCU) channel. The video bounces between Highland Lake, a field area behind Saunders Mill and Corn Shop (Main Street) in Bridgton and a spot behind the Village Tie-Up in Harrison, as well as in front of the old ice cream shop, adjacent to Harry Hepburn’s antique and clock repair shop (Main Street).

“My family has been coming to Highland Lake since my grandfather was a child. So, we love the lake, of course, and the small town feels of Bridgton,” said Emmalie, who is a graduate of UMass-Amherst. “We used some of my favorite spots in town. I always loved going to the Corn Shop and the town beach, and we used to always go to Harrison Marina (the Village Tie-Up) to get subs. The tugboat was a new added bonus though. We felt the area fit the song. We spent about 30 to 40 minutes at each location, and post-production took about 15 to 20 hours.”

Most people slowed their walk to see what Emmalie and Noah were doing and listened to their music.

“Some people thought we were street performers. One woman (who made it into the video) thought so and even gave us a dollar,” Emmalie said.

Both Noah and Emmalie are from Central Massachusetts. They met in history class in high school. Noah went to Emerson College in Boston, studying Media Arts Production. Emmalie attended UMass-Amherst, studying German.

About five years ago, Noah took up playing the ukulele. A short time later, so did Emmalie.

“I wanted to play because I used to play the tuba and I wanted something smaller,” she said. “Noah plays a multitude of instruments. He was drawn to the uke because it’s very fun with a warm and happy sound, plus you can play anywhere.”

In 2017, Noah was featured in a Boston Globe article about creating his own ode to the state of Massachusetts. Under every city and town sign in the state, Noah filmed himself playing a single note on his ukulele. 351 notes turned into a “whimsical melody” (the paper wrote) that Noah titled, “Sidewalks.” After hours of editing, the video was posted on YouTube under BCU.

“I think there was a desire to see the parts of the state I’d never seen before,” Wisch said in The Globe interview about his song. “I make videos and music and I’m really into these big projects that are seemingly impossible, but they just take a lot of work.”

BCU began in May of 2015 as a creative outlet for Noah’s interest in music and video.

“The name has no significant meaning outside his appreciation for both bananas and cacti,” Emmalie said. “The channel just passed the 5,000-subscriber mark on YouTube.”

Bridgton has always been a second home to Emmalie, so “it felt great to be able to show the rest of the world who don’t get to experience it a little bit of what makes it (special).”

She reached out to The News, to let people know what the young couple were up to as they joked, tapped on what sounded like a kid’s xylophone and played a soft and soothing song on their ukes at make-shift performing spots in Bridgton and Harrison.

What’s next? Emmalie is heading to graduate school at UMass and Noah is continuing to work on the channel, as well as pursuing other creative career opportunities.

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