Friday, May 23, 2003

I Have a Flea!

(Click here for bigger image) Today, I became the owner of a Flea, the new soprano-sized ukuele by the makers of the incredible Fluke. You can see the size difference in the picture. It's adorable and sounds wonderful and will cost about $100. Best of all, like the Fluke, you can stand it up for easy and instant access. I plan on taking it with me everywhere I go. The Flea will always be near to my heart because I drew the character mascot for it, as well as the illustrations in the book that accompanies it. Link Discuss
UPDATE: New Uke New York
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

SoCal Trad Music Festival
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
Ukulele Patent Museum
Ukulele virtuoso and historian John King's site has an entire page of ukulele patents. Everything from the ridiculous (uke destroying capos) to the sublime (Sam Kamaka's Pineapple). Link Discuss

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Stars and Stripes Uke
Michigan luthier David Talsma crafted this lovely flag-draped soprano. A little eye candy for you, just in time for Memorial Day. Link Discuss

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Enthusiast Alan Johnson has created this little site that seems to be growing nicely. I learned about it several weeks ago, but waited to blog it until there was enough information to make a visit worthwhile. Check out the Music Room where you'll find a couple dozen downloadable pdfs of ukulele arrangements. The Parlor Room contains a discussion board. Link Discuss
Meet Marzipan!
I'm probably the last person on the planet, but I've just discovered Homestarrunner.com, a hilarious cartoon site. One of the characters is Marzipan, a ukulele-playing lass. Here's a link to a video called "The Luau" Great fun! Discuss
Professor Joel Eckhaus shared the bill with Yoko Ono at Maine College of Art's recent commencement ceremony. That woulda been something to see. Well, that, and the chairman of the board of trustees singing an a capella rendition of Elvis Presley's "All Shook Up." Sounds like a cool school! Anyone's mom and dad take a video?
Link Discuss

Monday, May 19, 2003

A New Ian Whitcomb Songbook!
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
Ukuleles in Wonderland?
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

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Check out this hawaiian glossary and you'll know your way around the 'ukulele from ka puka to ke kaula o luna loa. Link Discuss

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Hulabilly
Article about a band called Hulabilly that balances "Hawaiian traditional songs with originals that venture into swing, Western, jazz, and all the pre-1930s styles." Link Discuss
 
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