Auction for Myanmar Rocker’s Ukulele Breaks World Record

By The Irrawaddy 18 October 2021

Kyar Pauk, the frontman from Myanmar’s popular rock band Big Bag, has sold his decorated ukulele for US$27,500 (53 million kyats) at auction with all proceeds going to help the civilian National Unity Government fight the junta.

It broke a record as the world’s most expensive ukulele.

The online auction for the instrument that features the singer’s doodling started at $1,000 on Saturday, rising to $10,000 after less than 12 hours and continuing to rise until it closed.

By Sunday evening it had become the most expensive ukulele ever sold, overtaking one of the tiny guitars made by John D’Angelico, a renowned instrument maker from New York, which sold for $26,000.

“Congratulations on bro who won with the highest bid. Thank you for your love on the nation and appreciation of art. Thanks also to all the bidders who raised the price and competed the bid,” Kyar Pauk posted on Facebook.

The second-highest bid was for $27,222.

An arrest warrant was issued for Kyar Pauk, also known as Han Htue Lwin, in April for alleged involvement in anti-regime activities.

The singer, who is in hiding, still finds ways to resist the regime. He releases podcasts on resistance events to keep people motivated without giving them “false hope”.

He recently told The Irrawaddy: “It doesn’t matter if they block my views one way or another, or whether my songs are not allowed to be sung on stage or be aired on the radio. We have to think about how often we speak out through our own platform. That is the key.”

The junta has banned showing, broadcasting or publishing work by artists detained or wanted for their opposition to the regime.

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