Aloha, New Yorkers, mark your calendars for January 10, 2004. Jake Shimabukuro will be in performance at The Knitting Factory at 7:00pm. Word is that the following day, January 11, Jake will conduct an 'ukulele workshop. More information on the Fleamarket Music Bulletin Board or email the Hawai'i Cultural Foundation for reservations. Link Discuss
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Aloha, New Yorkers, mark your calendars for January 10, 2004. Jake Shimabukuro will be in performance at The Knitting Factory at 7:00pm. Word is that the following day, January 11, Jake will conduct an 'ukulele workshop. More information on the Fleamarket Music Bulletin Board or email the Hawai'i Cultural Foundation for reservations. Link Discuss
Hans van Dam, maker of the fantastic resource, the Ukulele Chordfinder is shooting a TV documentary about how ukers use the Chordfinder. If you're on the Big Island, drop Hans an email.
"Dear Ukulele Friends,Discuss (via ukulelestan)
To promote our (non-profit) activities we want to broadcast a documentary on Dutch Television on how people all over the world make use of the Ukulele Chordfinder. In the period of December 28th 2003 until January 9th 2004 we will be visiting Hawaii the Big Island, birthground of the Ukulele.
Which of you ukulele friends wants to tell/show/explain us something of your ukulele activities on the Big Island. We will be hounered to meet you on the Big Island in the above mentioned period and shoot some scenes for our TV documentary. Please send us a reply if you are willing to help us out on this.
Mahalo on behalf of the Sheep-entertainment team, Hans van Dam"
Legendary 'ukulele player Eddie Kamae was forced to buy a ticket for his 'ukulele on a recent Hawaiian Airlines flight. Bizarre. I carried my soprano 'uke and case on a recent trip from Oakland to Atlanta and the only comment I got was from an ex-pat Hawaiian guard at security who pointed to my case and asked, "Kamaka?" Maybe Eddie was packing a tenor.
Monday, December 29, 2003
Uke Jackson is sponsoring a monthly contest for schoolchildren living in the Delaware River Watershed. Sez UJ:
"This contest is meant to promote an ecological appreciation of the Delaware River watershed while supporting the development and exercise of children's writing skills and overall literacy.Link Discuss
Each winner will receive a new ukulele with a solid spruce top. The school of each winner will receive a storytelling and music assembly program, performed by award winning storyteller and musician Uke Jackson."
Friday, December 26, 2003
Announcement the Jewish Journal today (12/26/03):
"Shhh! Today and tomorrow, the Silent Movie Theatre presents “The Silent Picture Show.” Legendary 91-year-old theater organist Bob Mitchell and singer and ukulele player Janet Klein provide the sounds, while Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, the Little Rascals and Felix the Cat provide classic visuals. $10-$15. 8 p.m. (Dec. 26, 27 and 28), 2 p.m. (Dec. 28). 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Hollywood. (323) 655-2520."Link Discuss
Ken Potts, Maui luthier and maker of some of today's most heralded 'ukuleles says:
"Aloha, Happy Holidays. Rudy Aquion and I have put together a nice video of building an uke from start to finish. More importantly, all of the proceedes from this video will go into interest bearing accounts for the children of the late GREAT Dennis Pavao. Dennis passed away at age 49 and left 6 kids behind, age from in diapers to 14 yrs old. The video also includes a fair amount of Hawai'ians playing ukulele both solo and together. All of them donating their time and effort for the cause. Very enjoyable video for a very worthy cause. DVD format also available. $40.00 includes shipping and handeling. Much thanks to all who have helped and who will help."To order, call 808-667-0759 or email here. Link Discuss
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
With the recent release of the George Harrison tribute concert "Concert for George" on DVD, a lot of folks in ukuleleland have been asking for the lyrics and chords to "I'll See You in My Dreams," which was performed by Joe Brown on uke. Jim Beloff's "Ukulele Gems" songbook has a great, easy arrangement. Here's a fine arrangement online as well. Link Discuss
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Canadian Uker James Hill dropped us this note about his latest CD:
"'On the Other Hand' is a bold new move for me - it's all very minimal (one `ukulele and one bass is as thick as it gets) and I've written the majority of the tunes on the album. Essentially I wanted to make a statement, to take a risk and to get back to the essence of the `ukulele as a solo instrument.Check it out. The CD features a swinging arrangement of the Inspector Gadget theme. Link Discuss
All the info is available at my website along with news updates, photos and a bunch of audio samples."
Saturday, December 20, 2003
For some time, ukulele hero "Catfish Carl" has hosted a site featuring portraits of various members of the ukulele community. Carl's album now has a new home. You can find it at the following link. (Catfish, you're the greatest.) Link Discuss
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Gryphon Stringed Instruments' master luthier Frank Ford takes you on a step-by-step journey into ukulele crack repair. For those of us among us who are mere mortals, I think it's safe to say "do not try this at home." Fascinating, nonetheless. Link Discuss
Yet another great stocking stuffer: The Ukulele Jukebox - Volume 3 is now available. It's a sort of "open source" project of the the ukulele community, and produced by The 4th Peg.
Here's a swell stocking stuffer to accompany that uke you're putting under the tree this year--and it's free! Compliments of the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum. (I'm sure a membership in the Museum would make a welcome gift as well!)
"The Fleabag songbook, a collection of ten public domain songs arranged for the ukulele, was created through the volunteer efforts of a handful of ukulele playing musicians, artists, and teachers. The project is inspired by the need for a common collection of ukulele tunes to allow players of all levels to play together at ukulele events (like the Ukulele Expo!). The Fleabag will be published by the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum and offered for sale in a print version, and as a free download..."Link Discuss
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Now here's a story I'd like to share. Over the past couple of years, I travelled to Honolulu on business about once a month. And while I love Hawaii, it's really hard to be away from your family and working while everyone else is on vacation.
One night, I was walking down Kalakaua in Waikiki and stopped to listen to a gathering of seniors who were playing ukulele and steel guitar in one of the picnic shelters that line the beach. I stood and listened for a while, regretting that my uke was back in my hotel room.
The leader announced that one of the players would hula to "Little Grass Shack," and when she laid down her uke, I asked the leader if I might sit in. Without missing a beat, the dancer handed me her uke. I checked the tuning, and it was way, way off, so I started to tune it up. "No, no! Stop!," several players said at once. The leader winked at me and whispered (in a voice that reminded me of the great Ed Wynn), "Never tune another person's uke."
A bit embarrassed, I sat down, joined in, and ended playing along for several joyous numbers. As the little goup packed up, I introduced myself to the leader, a ukulele teacher named Stan. He gave me his card and invited me to play with them whenever I was in town. Then the other day, while I was searching for something else entirely, Google returned a link to a blog called Ukulelestan.
At first, I thought it was some arch reference to Radio Free Blogistan. Then I clicked through, and who did I find, but Stan himself, ukulele teacher, leader of the little Waikiki troupe--and now, blogger!
So with much aloha to Stan and his merry band, indulge me in a little thought for the new year. I've thought back to that night many times, and have come to realize that I learned a great life lesson that night.
You know, you really shouldn't tune another person's uke. A guy once told me, "You'd sound really good if you were in tune." I've never forgotten the sting of that remark. And I don't think he meant it the way it came out. But there it was, and I felt ashamed.
On the other hand, you know, when you pick up another person's uke and it sounds out of tune to you, you might very well be holding the instument of a great slack key ukulele player, who just might know much more than you ever will. You really cannot tell for sure.
So for 2004, let's all make a resolution not to tune anyone else's uke, and make it a wonderful year.
Just in time for the holidays, here's a nifty aloha shirt from Hilo Hattie featuring Santa kicking back on the beach and playing his uke. Okay, I'm only posting this in case my family or friends check the blog before Christmas. I've been very good this year... Link Discuss
White Knuckle Sandwich ukulele player and occasional Blather contributor Doug Skinner is currently onstage in New York with, imho, the greatest living clown, Bill Irwin. Doug plays uke in the show, which is enough of an excuse for anyone within stumming distance of NYC to make haste and catch the show. If you've never seen Bill or Doug, you HAVE to see them. Link Discuss
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
This is such a great site and I keep forgetting to blog it. Ukulele Strummers is built and maintained by Clint, a ukulele teacher and member of the South Bay Strummers on the Big Island of LA (as Clint sez). It is chock full of resources: music theory, chords, downloads, teaching aids, and some cool strummer merchandise. Plus lots of SoCal event info. Bookmark this site. It's a keeper. I'll add it to our directory. Link Discuss
The book itself is a treasure to behold. This updated edition is hardbound, with color pictures throughout, and 16 new lavishly illustrated pages. Included in the updated pages are profiles of newcomers like Jake Shimabukuro and Janet Klein, and lots of photos of new and old ukes. If you already have the old edition, the new one is well worth buying. Highly recommended. Link
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
Story on the NPR site today about how a photograph of a young actor playing a ukulele tricked out to look like a lute in Orson Welles's 1937 production of Julius Caesar inspipred Robert Kaplow (aka Moe Moskowitz) to write his new novel, Me and Orson Welles. Kaplow tracked down the actor--Arthur Anderson--who still has the uke. Link Discuss
Friday, December 05, 2003
As promised, here's a link to details of the event, this Sunday, December 7, 2003. It's a benefit event to raise funds to benefit Paul and Heather McCartney's work against landmines. (Oh, and check out John's odd chord fingering in the photo. That's a lot of work for an F7+5!)Link Discuss
Thursday, December 04, 2003
Official Ukulele Sweetheart Zooey Deschanel has been getting a lot of notice of late for her appearance in the holiday movie "Elf." As we've reported earlier, Zooey also plays ukulele in a band called "If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies." I've finally found some pix of IATSWPB in performance. Sadly, not a uke in sight. But plenty of snazzy shots of Zooey and partner Samantha Shelton from a gig at Maxwell's at the Argyle in LA from June of 2003.
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Metropole publisher Anthony Sapienza says: "I just wanted to let you know that Metropole magazine is now featuring a series of articles on the ukulele and its players. We will continue to promote and write about the subject in subsequent issues. Currently we feature ukulele articles on Joe Brown, Janet Klein, Waste of Aces, Tom Favilla and a review for Lehua Ukuleles. Some articles include MP3 downloads and we promise much more to come!"
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
To help you strum your way through the holidays, make everything merry and bright and all that, we've collected all the Ukulele Christmas music and tabs links here in one place.
If you know of any others, please drop us a note or leave a link in the discussion area. Mele Kalikimaka!
One of Jim Beloff's recent newsletters had a photo of William H. Macy stumming his uke. Here's an interview with Macy in which he talks about playing the uke. (Acutally, I've pasted the whole reference below, but if you're a WHM fan, it's a good interview.)
"Q: What are you listening to right now?Link Discuss
"Macy: Jim Beloft (sic). I’m crazed for ukulele. I started playing ukulele about four years ago, and matter of fact when we get home, on Monday night I’m doing a breast cancer benefit and I’m playing a song that Jim wrote and, oh God… Oh God, I still don’t know the words…"
Monday, December 01, 2003
Uker Roger Greenawalt is organizing a Beatles Uke-a-Thon for this Sunday 12/7/03 in Brooklyn, NY. Evidently they're going to play some 200 Beatles songs and you are invited to sign up for a slot. Roger is sending us more details and we'll post them as soon as we can. Until then, save the date and start tuning up your Fab Four Strings!
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
The Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz has way more fun than they should. And here's proof. For their recent weekend campout in Big Sur, club members fabricated an enormous scale replica of a Martin O soprano. Then, in an homage to Burning Man, set it aflame. Following is a link to more pix on Catfish's Ukulele Community Album (which is always worth a visit).
Friday, November 14, 2003
From today's Honolulu Star Bulletin:
"Bill Tapia, 95, who learned how to play ukulele by listening to his Hawaiian neighbors on Sereno Street, says that modern strings are much easier to work with than the gut strings he learned on before World War I. Tapia will be performing with Makana and Tau Moe tomorrow at Hawaii Theatre."Link Discuss
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
From the Honolulu Advertiser this morning:
"A baritone 'ukulele made for the Hawaiian composer and musician, stolen from his Kaimuki office during the weekend, has his name inlaid on the face of the instrument.
"The 'ukulele, handmade by craftsman K.C. Young in 1974, is one of a kind and easily recognizable, Lake said."
Update 11/14/03: 'Ukulele returned--no strings attached (literally!) Link
Friday, October 10, 2003
I have to tell you. This is the damned most amazing thing I have found in my search for "ukulelia."
Santa Cruz, CA bookbinder and ukulele player Peter Thomas (in collaboration with his wife, Donna) have made an entire series of playable artbooks out of ukuleles.
"One day I thought to myself, "I love to make books and I love to play the ukulele. Can I put these two loves together? Can I make a book out of a uke?" After I made the first one, I thought, "How many more can I make? Each one will have to represent a different book structure, format or concept and each will still have to play...."There are 22 pieces in the series thus far including the one pictured (jeez, it was hard to pick just one to feature!): Ukulele Series Book #13 The Ukulele Jam, 2002.
"This uke, which was once part of some sort of mechanical calliope, was sawed in half lengthwise. The halves were attached by hinges on the back, with a hasp on the back of the headstock to hold it shut. Small chambers were created in each half and a tall narrow book is inserted in that chamber. The book is coptic bound, with boards covered in Moroccan leather with colored leather picture onlays. The book is a "exquisite corpse" book with interchangeable heads, torsos and legs for 15 different ukulele players."Peter and Donna are looking for a venue to show the ukulele books, so if you have a lead on a gallery, give them a ping. And, dang, they're not for sale...yet. Link Discuss
Thursday, October 09, 2003
Burt Lum wrote a very nice article about Ukulelia's sister site, BoingBoing, in the October 7th Honolulu Advertiser. We usually get about 50 to 60 hits a day. Tuesday we got nearly 800.
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Great profile from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin of Kahauanu Lake, baritone ukulele player, and a true pioneer of Hawaiian music.
"As a musician, he took the lead in bringing the baritone ukulele into the Hawaiian music mainstream by playing a custom-made instrument designed with a low bridge and thick back.Link Discuss
"He elevated the basic technique of strumming to an art form while also demonstrating the importance of going beyond simple chords. He bucked tradition with arrangements in which the ukulele defined the melody rather than the rhythm of a song, helping the humble uke make the leap to lead instrument rather than a sidekick to the guitar or piano."
Thursday, September 25, 2003
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
While we're talking Key Strummers, be sure to mark your calendar for the Midwest Ukefest, October 31 thru November 2, 2003 in Indianapolis. It's being hosted by those lovable Hoosiers themselves. Everyone from Beloff (Jim and Liz) to Bayless (Pops) will be presenting and teaching. Visit this link for more information and inspriation. If you're within 1,000 miles of the Missisippi, you HAVE to go.Link Discuss
WRTV reports on memorial services for Indiana Governor O'Bannon:
"Seven governors and most of Indiana's congressional delegation are scheduled to attend a public, interfaith service to be held on the Statehouse's west steps Friday.Link Discuss
"Former first lady Judy O'Bannon said she wants the service to reflect the kind of man her husband was. Personal touches will especially be reflected in the music.
"Performers will include the Circle City Sound Barbershop Chorus and the Key Strummers, a group of children who play novelty jazz on ukulele. O'Bannon was particularly fond of barbershop music and of the Key Strummers, who come from the Key Learning Community in Indianapolis."
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
From today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin:
"Jake Shimabukuro's summer concert adventure in Japan will be highlighted in a special half-hour show, "Jake Live in Japan," airing on KHON-2 from 9:30 to 10 p.m. tomorrow.Link Discuss
"Jake Live in Japan" will also be rebroadcast at 5:30 p.m. Saturday on KHON-2."
Sunday, September 14, 2003
In scouring the Web for interesting bits of ukulele culture, we frequently run across stories in which legendary musicians and guitarists cite the ukulele as the instrument that they cut their teeth on. (Dick Dale, Chrissie Hynde, and Joe Strummer as a short list for starters...) More recently we've run across players like Eddie Vedder and the late George Harrison who picked up the uke after earning their wings as ace guitar players. Now here's our latest discovery--and what a great story.
Jesse Colin Young, folk rock icon, co-founder of the "No Nukes" movement, and it seems, world-class dad, loses almost everything to a fire in Marin County, California, then moves to Kona on the Big Island of Hawai'i. Plants coffee, writes more songs, and, when he finds that there is no ukulele instructor for his kids' school, teaches himself to play and volunteers to keep the flame alive. He's reportedly about to release an album that will have a major ukulele focus. He's dedicated profits from an earlier CD to The Kona Pacific School, the local Waldorf School, and is working hard to raise money for a new facility.
Spend some time on his site to learn more about this remarkable man. His music page features a short video clip of Jesse playing "My Little Grass Shack," and a downloadable mp3 of his song, "Aloha e," which he wrote as a fond farewell to those lost on 9/11. Bet he makes a great cup of coffee, too. Link Discuss
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
"The greatest film ever made"? You decide. But Sid Laverents's "Multiple Sidosity" is the only amateur-made film included in The Library of Congress's National Film Registry. And it certainly sounds cool:
"The movie opens in Sid’s living room as he and his wife Adelaide are enjoying Christmas. Sid opens a bulky present as she looks on...it’s a reel to reel two track recorder! After his wife chides him to save the ribbons he starts experimenting. He uses a metronome and records himself whistling and playing ukulele...Then the magic happens: we hear a brilliantly executed multi-track recording of the peppy song “Nola” (all instruments and singing done by Sid...).Screen shots from the film are here. Sid is still around, and you can order a copy of his films from him directly (address, etc. at this Link.) Discuss (via bananaslug)
"And accompanying the music are visuals that for decades have astounded and confounded the rare audiences that have seen this film. Whenever a new instrument or verse is introduced, by use of inventive black mat multiple exposures, we see two, four and eventually ten little heads of Sid playing different instruments simultaneously...
"This brilliant, joyous film is almost impossible to describe. All I can do is vigorously urge you to see the movie any way you can."
Press release today about a George Harrison tribute film to be released theatrically on October 3, 2003,
"Rock music's most celebrated musicians gathered at Royal Albert Hall in London on Nov. 29, 2001, to pay tribute to one of their own, the legendary George Harrison, on the one year anniversary of his death. On that magical night, Harrison's closest friends gathered to perform a collection of his music for a live audience. Concert For George is far more than a concert film; it is a soulful cinematic tribute to a musician whose vision transcended the ordinary and whose talents contributed to a revolution in the music industry.
"Under the musical direction of Harrison's longtime friend Eric Clapton, the film captures an emotional gathering of musicians such as Jeff Lynne, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Billy Preston and Ringo Starr. Truly a rare moment in music history, this documentary showcases these legends of music not likely to perform together on the same stage again."
Paul McCartney plays ukulele (presumably on "Something," which he's played regularly in concert recently) and, although the release does not say, I'll bet that you'll see Joe Brown on uke for "I'll See You in My Dreams." Link Discuss
Monday, September 08, 2003
Meet Jennifer Foster, a Toronto-based performer whose early musical experience included playing in a ukulele group in New Brunswick.
Link Discuss (via Bananaslug)
"'I was a ukulele extremist. I just loved it so much and stuck with it for years, but it was such an uncool thing to do and carrying it into the junior high every Tuesday became too traumatic and I quit...'
"Now in Toronto, and playing to slightly more discerning human audiences, Jennifer offers up her jangly pop blend on guitar and treats them to a little crowd-pleasing ukulele rock. What was once the stuff of teenage angst is now the hook behind one of the album's most lively tracks, Ukulele Dropout.
"'That song is really about the big lesson in my life - be unique, do your own thing.'"
Mark your calendars for the 2nd annual Souther California Ukulele Festival, Saturday, October 18, 2003 in Cerritos, CA. Following the festival there'll be a luau and evening conctert featuring Janet Klein, Ian Whitcomb, King Kukulele and Kaulana Ka Hale Kula 'O Na Pua 'O Ka 'Aina. Lots more information on the festival site. Register now and save money, too. Link Discuss
Friday, September 05, 2003
If you'll be in the Seattle area this Sunday, you won't want to miss the 3rd (I think) annual Ukelooza at Re-bar. I hadn't seen any announcement pop up on the web, so I pinged Carla Schricker at Re-bar. Carla replied:
"Hi Gary! Thanks for writing! As a matter of fact, I just found out last
night that Ukelooze IS happening THIS SUNDAY at Re-bar!...
...The doors open at 6.30pm, and the show starts at 7.30pm. It's $10, and
there'll be a raffle and other great stuff."
Here's a link to an announcement for last year's event. The Re-bar site is here. Oh, and please note: 21 and over only (sorry, kids). Discuss (Thanks, Carla!)
Friday, August 29, 2003
Slack-key artist Keola Beamer and other members of the Beamer 'ohana operate an annual camp on Moloka'i with workshops on 'ukulele as well as slack-key guitar, hula, and the Hawaiian language. Sign me up! Here's a recent article about the camp, too. Link Discuss
Thursday, August 28, 2003
In the SF Chronicle this morning, Annie Nakao writes about sculptor Jan-Michelle Sawyer's work on a bronze memorial to the late Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.
"Iz, having been larger than life in Hawaii and around the world, might have approved, I somehow think. Bare chested, except for two fishhook necklaces around the neck, this image in bronze is quietly majestic, massive in its presence, just as Iz was. The eyes are focused slightly downward at the middle distance, as if they are trying to see the horizon.Donations to help complete the memorial are being accepted by The Friends of Bruddah Iz (P.O. Box 2217, Ewa Beach, HI, 96706). Link Discuss
"I wanted him to face the ocean," said sculptor Jan-Michelle Sawyer, who calls both Hawaii and the Sierra town of Nevada City home. "I also wanted him to be looking to the future. Keep looking forward. That was always his message to young people."
But first, Sawyer will have to get him home. Fund raising has so far collected $10,000, but that's just half of the total cost of the casting, the pedestal construction and the preparation of the site in front of the Wai'anae Neighborhood Community Center, where the sculpture will be dedicated. Sawyer donated her work on the bust."
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Jake Shimabukuro's latest CD, "Crosscurrent" was released in the US this week. It's been available in Japan for almost two months. Here is a link to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin's review, including audio clips of three cuts from the CD. Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" is particularly hot. The CD features Jake's arrangement of Chick Corea's "Spain," which I've heard Jake play live and which is outstanding. Here's a link to a related article. Link Discuss
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
Check out the last paragraph from this column by Bruce Bellingham. What the heck--read the whole thing.
I can't say it better than Joseph Wambaugh: "The smartest thing this country ever did was to give Ian Whitcomb a green card." ...Link Discuss
Monday, August 18, 2003
Ukulelia pal John Pivarnick was up at the Guitar Festival in Healdsburg, CA this weekend. He reports that ace uke luthier Tony Graziano was on hand with several interesting projects, including an in-progress Rickenbacker-style ukulele. Rock on! Here are links to some photos: Picture 1 and Picture 2 Discuss (Thanks, John!)
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Here is the official site of the Nihon Ukulele Association, an organization for amateur players in Japan. There is a message board for Japanese players and information on jam sessions. Be sure to check out the History of NUA and the biography of Yukihiko "Harry" Haida, Japan's "Father of Hawaiian Music." (Harry's given name was "Haruhiko," which he later changed to Yukihiko. Do you suppose that he changed his name during WWII because of the association with Hirohito? I know that Harpo Marx changed his given name from Adolph to Arthur about the same time. Or is "Yukihiko" a reference to "ukulele?" If anyone knows the answers to these questions, please post a message in the discussion area.) Link Discuss
In his ineffable benevolence, His Royal Majesty, Tiki King, has established an online ukulele school for his loyal subjects on his swank site. Don't miss the handy downloadable transposing disk in the "Tools Corner."
Mark and his wife Carla Sinclair are publishing a web diary of their experiences, The Island Chronicles. You can sign up for periodic updates from Mark and Carla on the site, or follow their adventures in the LAWeekly. Mark's been taking a lot of pictures chronicling the local ukulele scene, and I'll be adding a separate post with links directly to the pix of interest from the Island Chronicles archive.
And despite the distance, Mark remains an active editor of these hallowed pages. (I call him "The Wired Man of Rarotonga.") Discuss
Friday, July 25, 2003
Roy Sakuma's annual Ukulele Festival is this Sunday, July 27th at the Kapiolani Bandstand in Waikiki. Check out this line-up:
Ohta-San, Ernie Cruz, Jr., Raiatea Helm, Ledward Kaapana, Frank DeLima, Troy Fernandez, Danny Kaleikini - Emcee, Yuji Igarashi (Japan), Brittni Paiva (Hilo), Hiram Bell (CA), Keale Ohana, George Matsushita (Japan), Bill Tapia (California), Yasuhiko Ariga (Japan), Kaoru Kohnoike (Japan), Roy Sakuma 800-Piece Ukulele Band.
Here's a link to a related story in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
Friday, July 11, 2003
A great article about James Hill in advance of tonight's performance in Waikiki:
"James Hill is being called "the Canadian Jake Shimabukuro." It seems only natural to make that comparison. Both Hill and Shimabukuro and James Hill are in their 20s, with a keen interest in pushing the envelope as ukulele virtuosos."Link Discuss
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Ohmygod. Krakatoa's explosion is going to look like a burp compared to what is going to happen tomorrow (Friday, July 11, 2003) at the Sheraton Waikiki. Get this: Jake Shimabukuro, James Hill, Kenny Boy DeLima (and swell kid, Kapena), Herb Ohta, Jr., Paul Luongo AND the FREAKIN' Langley Ukulele Ensemble. If some dormant volcano on Oahu doesn't erupt tomorrow, then I'm switching to dulcimer. Man, where are my frequent flyer records...? Link Discuss
Saturday, June 28, 2003
Jim Tranquada writes:
"You really ought to have a link to John King's NALU Music site. John, a classically trained musician who teaches at Eckerd College, is a renaissance man who is not only the most distinguished ukulele historian alive today, but a remarkably gifted performer who is pushing the boundaries of what the ukulele is capable of. His site is a great collection of history, music, photos, an interesting forum, and cool stuff to buy. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to note that John and I are co-authors of an article on the early (pre-1915) history of the ukulele that will appear in the forthcoming issue of the Hawaiian Journal of History."
Well, we've blogged items from the NALU Music site in the past, but I've now added a permanent link in the "Ukulele Information" section in the right hand column. Lots of great stuff there. And we'll look forward to reading that article when it comes out! Link Discuss
Friday, June 27, 2003
Monday, June 23, 2003
Friday, June 20, 2003
Monday, June 16, 2003
Hey, y'all. Joel Eckhaus, ukulele virtuoso, former student of Roy Smeck, and the master luthier behind Earnest Instruments will be teaching workshops on mainland style playing July 13 though 18 at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, West Virginia. Note: they've misspelled ukulele on this site, so you'll want to search on "ukelele" if you're so inclined. Link Discuss
Friday, June 13, 2003
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Kamehameha Schools is offering distance learning classes in traditional Hawaiian mele (songs) via a unique combination of online materials and radio broadcasts. "Nahenahe: Sweet Melodies of Hawai'i" is taught by Ekela Kaniaupio-Crozier. Lessons are broadcast on Hawaiian 105 KINE. No registration is required, and it's free! You can listen to archived lesson broadcasts here. There's a complete songbook with ukulele chords in pdf format here. This is an amazing program! Don't miss it! Link Discuss
Tuesday, June 10, 2003
Actress and ukulele goddess Zooey Deschanel's band will play Monday, June 16th at Maxwell's at the Argyle in West Hollywood. If anyone goes, please send in a report from the field. Bonus points for digital pix we can post here on Ukulelia! Link Discuss
Dave Stewart, who earlier released the MP3 compilation "Waikiki is Good Enough for Me" has now released a compilation of 234 Hawaiian Steel Guitar 78s on one MP3 CD. "Rhythm of the Waves" is playable on any computer/CD/DVD player that can play MP3s. That's right, folks, over 10 hours of vintage steel guitar recordings by the likes of Sol Hoopii, King Bennie Nawahi, and Roy Smeck for about 3 cents a minute. Information on ordering the CD is on his site, along with a complete discography. Link Discuss
Tuesday, June 03, 2003
Fun article by surfing champ Corky Carroll about the dude who wasn't his sixth grade teacher, but would have been if he hadn't been such a screw-up in fifth grade. The teacher gets a great deal on an ukulele that was used by some haole at a funeral. (Corky's also the voice of Grungy Grouper on Spongebob Squarepants.) Righteous. Link Discuss
One more Jake blog for you. Check out his two-handed strum. He demonstrated this for the ukulele players in the audience last week at Chai's. You cradle the neck of your ukulele with your left arm, then alternate up and down strums with both hands. Oh, right, and then you just have to play like Jake. Link Discuss
At the 2003 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards in Honolulu last week, ukulele wizard Jake Shimabukuro won 2 Hokus for Instrumental Album of the Year (for "Sunday Morning") and Favorite Entertainer of the Year. The Hokus are the local equivalent of the Grammys.
I happened to be on vacation in Hawaii at the time and caught Jake at Chai's Island Bistro the following night. It was a huge fete, with Jake presenting leis to his ohana (everyong from his recording company's executives to his ukulele teacher, Dr. Trey, were in attendance). Champagne flowed and we all toasted Jake with a traditional "banzai!" What an incredible night: he played everything from Okinawan folk music to Beethoven and Lennon/McCartney. My wife and kids--who are generally lukewarm about all things ukulele--were spellbound. We left after two continuous hours of playing and he was still going strong. Wonder how long his wrist held out. Don't miss him if you have the chance! Link Discuss
Friday, May 23, 2003
The New Uke New York festival begins tomorrow night at Joe's Pub. Here is a link to the Public Theater's site. Click on "Now Playing at Joe's Pub" for more information.
Also, (at left) courtesy of White Knuckle Sandwich is the New Yorker cartoon that recently ran with the festival blurb.
Finally, here's the (slightly snide) announcement that ran in the NYTimes today:
NEW UKE, NEW YORK, Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, East Village, (212) 539-8777. Hard as it is to believe, there are people who take the ukulele seriously, or at least seriously enough to play it for other people. A two-night festival includes current pop songwriters along with people reviving the four-stringed instrument's Hawaiian heritage. Tomorrow's lineup includes the Moonlighters, who write anachronistic ballads and swing-style tunes that Bliss Blood (formerly of the Pain Teens) sings without a hint of campiness; J. Walter Hawkes, who plays trombone along with ukulele; and the country-flavored King's County Queens. Sunday's bill includes the Conservationists (with Brian Dewan); the Haoles, a New York band devoted to Hawaiian pop; and the Honey Brothers. Tomorrow and Sunday night at 6:30; tickets are $15 each night or $25 for both.Link Discuss
Thursday, May 22, 2003
The California Traditional Music Society will hold its 21st Annual Summer Solstice Folk Music, Dance and Storytelling Festival on June 20-22, 2003 in Calabasas, CA. This year the theme is Hawaii, with a focus on ukulele performances and workshops. And check out the cool festival logo designed by Mindy Lee. Sort of Franz Marc-meets-Piet Mondrian-meets-Tiki King! Link Discuss
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
Monday, May 19, 2003
Ian announcez: "The Cat's Meow", my long-awaited third ukulele songbook/CD which contains songs from the movies, 'The Cat's Meow' [directed by Peter Bogdonavich and starring Edward Herrmann and Kirsten Dunst] and 'Last Call' plus lots of other Roaring Twenties favorites (and obscurities). To launch this book we're having a concert at The Coffee Gallery's Backstage venue right here in Altadena." Ian's books are great, so I'm looking forward to this one! The event is Saturday, May 24 at 8pm. Cost: $15 (cheap). Address and reservation information here. (I've listed the table of contents in the Discussion link.) Discuss
Recently, one of the fine folks over at the Flea Market Music Bulletin Board happened across this photograph taken in 1860 by C.L.Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll. It shows Ina Liddell (sister of Alice, who inspired Alice in Wonderland) playing a decidely uke-like instrument. Taken in Victorian England years before the ukulele's "birth" in Hawaii, the photo sparked a lively debate about the identity of the instrument (a machete, mayhaps?) that quickly evolved into a discourse on semantics (semantics?). To read the discussion at Flea Market, use the Bulletin Board search function to look up "Lewis Carroll". The photo in question can be found here. Another of lesser quality of all three Liddell Sisters can be found here. Discuss