Friday, August 12, 2016

Ukulele Chord Poster by Aaron Taylor-Waldman

Adam Varga dropped us a note to point us to this swell chord-chart-cum-art-poster his friend Aaron Taylor-Waldman created.

Baby not included.

Link

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ukes Needed for Geoff Davis's New School

My very first post on Ukulelia (15 years ago!) was about the Key Strummers, a delightful Hoosier Hotshots-style kids' band put together and led by Indiana teacher Geoff Davis.

Geoff's at a new school this year, and is looking to re-create the kind of amazing program he had with the Key Strummers. If you have an extra ukulele laying around (and, frankly, who doesn't?), please consider sending it to Geoff for his students.

Here's Geoff initial plea, reposted with his permission from Facebook:
Way back in 1999 I began teaching at Indianapolis’ most progressive school, the Key Learning Community. My favorite part of the program was “Pods” — an opportunity for teachers to design an enrichment class focused on one of their passions.
My Pod Class was to be jazz band. I’d been playing with Indianapolis Dixieland bands and wanted to give kids an opportunity to learn to improvise and play traditional jazz. When my students appeared at the door I knew that the plan had to change. My students were all 10 yrs old and younger and had almost no experience playing an instrument.
It didn’t take long for me to change the plan. My first instrument had been the ukulele. I knew that, with the uke, I could teach these kids the basics of rhythm and chord changes.
We had no budget and no ukuleles. I went to the — very young — internet for start-up resources. There was no Donors Choose — no Facebook or Instagram. I went to the, then, center of the ukulele universe - fleamarketusic.com.
We began by passing one ukulele — my first uke — around a circle while each student played a chord or two. Soon ukes trickled in. Two came from California and a pair from Hawaii. By Thanksgiving we had an instrument for every student. We played “Five Foot Two” for a school program and the Key Strummers were born.
The rest of the story is the makings of ukulele legend. We became the Governor’s favorite band. We opened the State Fair — for years — playing the National Anthem on ukulele. We travelled to San Antonio and Louisville and all over Indiana. There was no audience we didn’t play for — including a spot on A Prairie Home Companion. It was a great ride! We even hosted the (Original) MidWest UkeFest and headlined James Hill, Jake Shimabukuro, Lyle Ritz, Bryan Tolentino and many others.
Times changed, schools changed, education policy changed and the Key Strummers became unsustainable. Teaching, at all, became very difficult. Last June the Key Learning Community shut its doors for good.
This year I joined the staff of Francis W. Parker Montessori School 56 — a loving school with a long name. When I was hired there was on stipulation — organize and develop a program like the Key Strummers. I had found a school that recognized teacher passion and sought to use it to enrich children’s learning. After eight years of struggling to survive as an educator I’ve again found a school family.
Tomorrow the “Uke Club” — the first step in a new ukulele program — will meet for the first time. I expect twelve students. We have 4 ukuleles. We will begin as the Key Strummers did — passing ukes around the circle.
I am making the plea that I made 16 years ago. If you have an unplayed ukulele in the closet, under the bed or the attic. There are a bunch of inner city kids that are eager to become strummers.
Contact Geoff Davis via Facebook, or ship a uke to him care of this address:
Francis W. Parker School 56
2353 N. Columbia Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46205
 

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

One Day in Maui...

Local Maui uker covers Matisyahu's "One Day", not realizing Matisyahu is standing right in front of him. 
http://uproxx.com/music/matisyahu-surprises-ukulele-player-covering-matisyahu/

UPDATE

Matisyahu invited him to come play with him in LA. This involved getting some special permission from the DA's office. Weird! Link

UPDATE DEUX

Here's a link to a video clip of the performance! Link

And...he's back in jail. As he promised the DA. Nice to know he's a man of his word. Link


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Meet Jake. Amateur Instrument Repairman

Check out this great project to restore 100 Kamaka ukuleles for Hawaiian schools. I think you'll recognize the repairman. 

Chase Shimabukuro Shreds!

Remember: no matter how hard you try, you will never be Jake Shimabukuro's son. Unless you're this kid. 

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome Visualized

3D medical animator John Liebler has rendered the UAS virus for the benefit of mankind in general, and ukulele players in particular. 

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Tiny Tim by Diane Arbus

We'd not seen this portrait of Tiny Tim that Diane Arbus shot around 1966. Looks like he's holding a Maccaferri Mastro banjo ukulele. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Na Hoku for Tolentino and Ohta

Bryan Tolentino and Herb Ohta, Jr. won Ukulele Album of the Year for "Ukulele Friends" last night at the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts' 39th annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

Congratulations, Bryan and Herb!








Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival

Should be grand!

May 27 to 29, across The Pond. 

Lil' Rev's Scatter the Ashes Tour

Lil' Rev will be heading to the West Coast for several weeks in what he's dubbed the Scatter the Ashes Tour. Try and make one of his many dates in Washington, Oregon, and California as he brings his joyful love of the ukulele and celebrates the life of his beloved wife, Carol. Info on workshops and concerts is at the link.

UUOGB in 1988


h/t to Hester Goodman for this one from the vault. Here's the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain on the BBC from 1988.

Monday, May 23, 2016

CNC Milled Ukuleles

At Maker Faire this weekend, the CNC Router Parts team was demonstrating their equipment and technology by crafting ukuleles. The bodies were milled out of solid blocks of maple. The faces were plate steel. Fingerboards milled aluminum. Kind of a National meets the Dixie Banjolele Akulele. 

I've put out feelers to see if anyone played one. Or scored one. Let me know if you did. 

 
Top 50 Ukulele Sites