Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy Birthday, Tappy!

We wish Bill Tapia a very, very happy birthday tomorrow (January 1, 2005): 97 years of proof that playing the uke makes you handsome, charming, and enduring.

Much aloha to you, Bill! Link

Frisky Frolics

Our latest find, courtesy of a review of a documentary film about the band in the East Bay Express. From the band's official bio:
"The Frisky Frolics are a wily 5-piece, ukulele-driven outfit specializing in long-forgotten musical gems of the 1920-30’s. These self-described Tin Pan Alley Troubadours have lovingly mined through their 78 record collections and come up with a lively and varied set of songs, combining favorite familiar standards such as 'Louise' and 'Paper Moon', with obscure and novelty numbers like, 'Cake Eatin’ Man' and 'I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate'.

Voted “Best Band for the New Depression” by the Bay Guardian’s Best of the Bay, 2001 and; SF Weekly Wammie Nominees, the Frisky Frolics continually perform their “new” musical discoveries to a growing legion of enthusiastic fans from their home base, The Rite Spot in San Francisco."


And While We're Singing "Happy Birthday"...

Happy 3rd B-day to these dudes.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

News From the North

Manitoba Hal sez:
"Hi everyone!

Just a quick note to let you know that the website for the Great Canadian Ukulele Expo has been updated. The site has been changed to reflect the new year, photos from last year have been added, proposed lineup for this year is online, proposed outline of events is online, a list of hotels in the Winnipeg area (close to the expo), how to get to Winnipeg if you want to attend and more.

Surf on by and take a look!



Sweet Mama "T"

Looks like Janet Klein might have some friendly East Coast competition. Meet Sweet Mama "T", aka Lauren Thompson. She and her Red Hot Sugar Babies are appearing tonight, December 30, 2004, at Tressa's Downtown Jazz and Blues in Asheville, NC. (Btw, one of the aforementioned Sugar Babies is noneother than Lin Llewellyn of Hula Cats fame.) Link

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas!

All of us here at Ukulelia wish you and your family the merriest of Christmasses. We hope that Santa drops a new uke in your stocking tonight...or at least a pitchpipe or new set of strings!

If you're playing Santa this year, please be sure to let your uke-gift-recipient know about Ukulelia and the wealth of information about ukuleles freely-available on the Web.

To quote the original Tiny Tim, "God bless us, every one".


Mark Frauenfelder and Gary Peare

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Ukulele Poo Na Na

Manitoba Hal sez:
"This will be the site of all the updates for the upcoming Great Canadian Ukulele Expo 2005 May 7, 2005. I will be posting new information about the expo, info about the ukulele circles at Sled Dog Music and notices about upcoming ukulele events in the Winnipeg area. Uke on everybody!"

Ukulele Disco Holiday Show Update

Uke Jackson sez:
"just thought to let you know that, while last night's streaming was a bust, jason tagg has posted clips from the midnight ukulele disco tv show on line...

Happy Everything to Everybody!

uke jackson

Non-Profit Seeks Uke Donation

Attention Colorado ukers: Spellbinders, a non-profit storytelling organization, is seeking the donation of ukulele this holiday season. Now you have an excuse to buy another one! Contact Al Dietsch locally at 922-1444 or via email. Link

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Christmas Ukulele Disco

Sonic Uker Jason sez:

"Hey its Jason ... not sure if the Ukulele Disco 'spam engine' :P is working so I though I'd send another quick note to say that we're doing a special Christmas Ukulele Disco tonight. The live webstream and chat board should be up and running too if you want to join in live :)"PS. Ted's doing Jingle Bells and naked ukelele guy ...

9.30pm Tuesday Minnesota

10.30pm Tuesday New York/Philadelphia/Ohio

3.30am Wednesday UK

4.30am Wednesday Paris

4.30pm Wednesday New Zealand"


Tim's 'Tonight' Nuptials

Oops, we missed the 35th anniversary of Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki's wedding on the Tonight Show (December 17th)... Link

Monday, December 20, 2004

"Grow Old With You"

One of the Web's best places to find uke arrangements, Ukulele Boogaloo has a nice version of Adam Sandler's "Grow Old With You" from "The Wedding Singer." Link

Also, only one day left to enter the Uke Boog Sweepstakes!

Bill Robertson's Wife in the News

"The Rock" behind "Rock that Uke": nice profile of Bill Robertson's wife, Claire Pomeroy, Dean of the UC Davis Medical School, in the Sacramento Bee today. Link

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Big Ed's Band Foundation

At 6' 3'' and 345 lbs., Edwin Mulitalo may literally be the biggest thing in ukedom since Bruddah Iz. The uke-playing Baltimore Ravens guard established Big Ed's Band Foundation, which supports instrumental music programs in the Baltimore area.

Next Tuesday, Ed will be a guest performer at Dunbar High School's Annual Christmas Concert:

December 21, 2004

7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

Dunbar High School

1400 Orleans Street

Baltimore, MD

Be sure to check out the Photo section of the foundation's site for pix of Ed and his intrument of choice. Link

Friday, December 17, 2004

Kalaka Ensemble

This morning's amazing find? A Hungarian band with a serendipitously Hawaiian-sounding name. The Kalaka Ensemble sets poetry (by Hungarian poets as well as others) to folk arrangements. One of their records, Ukulele, has as its title track, a setting of the poem by Tibor Simko. (Although, what I'd like to learn is Hol a Nadragom?.) Link

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Uke Jackson and Friends Webcast

Uke Jackson sez:

"The Delaware Water Gap Ukulele Guild, with special guests, will
broadcast a live holidaze set on WNTI 91.9 FM in Hackettstown NJ,
Tuesday [today!] at 3 pm Eastern US time. It can also be heard live webcast by
clicking WNTI.

Monday, December 13, 2004

John King - Profile

Bananaslug served up this nice little profile of classical uke virtuosos John King today. Link

Friday, December 10, 2004

Hanapepe Dream

Taj Mahal has been touring around with his Hula Blues Band in support of his CD Hanapepe Dream.
"All-Acoustic String Band Sound Features Taj's Signature Slack-Key Blend of the Blues and Pacific-Caribbean-Island music. The American release of Hanapepe Dream offers bonus video footage including live performances of The Calypsonians and The New Hula Blues. Stereophile wrote, "Taj Mahal's genius is in seeing the unlikely connections between disparate genres, and on My Creole Belle he seamlessly adapts Mississippi Hurt's country blues to a ukulele arrangement. The beautiful melody has a swaying, antique character in this ingenious setting.
Check out the track samples at this link, especially Jimi's Along the Watchtower and Hurt's My Creole Belle. The latter seems to be Hurt's arrangement of this tune (chorus with lyrics is on index page 7).

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Baby, It's Cold Outside

In the charming holiday move Elf, ukulele sweetheart Zooey Deschanel croons "Baby, It's Cold Outside," which prompted me to think that this would make a swell uke duet. Here come the lyrics and chords. Link

Mayes Ukes

Check out the inventive (and patent pending!) compensated saddle on John Mayes's ukuleles.
"The C, E, and A strings resting on a fully angled/compensated saddle the intonation will be spot on, but here is the best aspect. The G string will rest on either a forward or rear positioned, user moveable, small saddle to allow for correctly intonated high and low g tunings on one instrument. And since I’ve filed for a provisional patent you can only find this saddle design on Mayes Ukuleles. Now you can switch between high and low G tunings without sacrificing intonation."
You have to look closely at the Features page on John's site to see how this works, but what an elegant solution! Tune it or die! Link

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Seven Degrees of Bill Robertson

I'm a big fan of the Coen Brothers' and Sam Raimi's films. We were watching Miller's Crossing last night and as the credits rolled I caught a familiar name: Rock That Uke Daddy Bill Robertson, who, it turns out, has done voice work for several Coen and Raimi films.

Let's hope that Bill's paean to the uke inspires Joel and Ethan to do for the ukulele what they did for Old Timey music with O Brother...!

Monday, December 06, 2004

Or Maybe They Were Smokin' Mistletoe...

Ah, it seems Santa's elves may have been nipping the eggnog again this year. And what to our wondering eyes do appear, but these amazing, one-of-a-kind beauties:
A Jack Skellington Nightmare Before Christmas Camp Uke from Dave Talsma
The Creature From the Black Lagoon Uke, also by Dave (More pix on
The Bacon & Eggs Fryingpan Uke from Tony Graziano
And for the Jack Sparrow on your list, this Pirate Uke, also by Tony
Excuse me. I've got to revise my letter to Santa...

Bernard Viguie

The New Yorker recently profiled Israeli-Dutch singer and songwriter Keren Ann. Apparently several of her tracks feature ukulele backing (what The New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones calls "the least depressing instrument known to man") provided by Bernard Viguie. (About the only thing I've been able to learn about Bernard is that he is primarily a left-handed bass player.) You can hear a brief clip of his playing on Spanish Song Bird on Keren Ann's CD Not Going Anywhere. If you know any more about Bernard, please drop me an email.

Petty Booka Tonight (12/6/04)

If you're in or around the San Francisco Bay area, tonight is your last chance to catch the Petty Booka Christmas Show. The Japanese Uke-Pop duo will be appearing at Biscuits and Blues at 8:30. Old Puppy opens. Link (Thanks, Otto!)

Friday, December 03, 2004

Jumpin' Flea Circus Players

Here's a new uke club in Los Angeles that I know nothing about other than that they've got a great logo. (Of course, as a circus guy, I may be a bit biased...) Link

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Ukulele Christmas Music, 2004

Time to hang the mistletoe and get ready for all the adoration sure to come your way when you serenade holiday revelers with your uke. Here for your convenience are direct links to just about every Christmas song imaginable (or at least those that we could think of and find on the Web). Browse around and you're sure to find chords, lyrics and tabs (tablature) for your favorite novelty song or carol.

From Risa, makers of the swell Uke Solid
Compiled by Jerry Dallal
From Dominator
From John King
From Joseph Todaro, father of the Akulele
Mele Kalikimaka (low G arr.) from Mark Occhionero!
From UFO of Marin
From The 4th Peg
From Ukulele Boogaloo
Courtesy of Fleamarket BB Posters, tips for jazzing up Jingle Bells!
From The Guitar Guy, Christmas Standards

If you know of any others, please drop me a note. Mele Kalikimaka!

Stocking Stuff!

Here's the perfect stocking stuffer for the Ukulele Ike fan on your "nice" list this year! Check out the whole line of Ukulele Ike Fan Club merch from the folks over at The 4th Peg. Link

The Case for Holiday Generosity!

Roy T. Cone is selling spiffy new uke cases on Sez Roy:
"Most uke cases look like they were designed by a Mortician. And the uke is a fun instrument and sticking it in a blaw looking case just don't seem right...."
Shown at left is "The Islands" model. Also available is a blue denim model and the tres retro "Tin Pan Alley" model wrapped in hemp-colored canvas. All feature plush lining and would make a great holiday gift (no gift wrapping required!). Link (Scroll down)
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