Thursday, June 24, 2004

Mid Atlantic Ukulele Invitational

If you're in Baltimore this weekend, but want to be in MAUI, check out the Mid Atlantic Ukulele Invitational (MAUI, get it?).

Don sez:

Thinking of coming to the 2nd Annual Mid Atlantic Ukulele Invitational? There are a few rooms left at the Best Western Hotel and Conference Center (410-633-9500) for Saturday night. There is a map to our event at creativealliance.org and some tickets are still available for the afternoon workshops and evening concert. There will be an open jam and 5pm free Hula and Hawaiian rhythm workshop and even a special guest or two.Buying and selling of ukes and related material is encouraged and bringing a lender uke for the beginner workshops will be greatly appreciated. Email me or the Creative Alliance at the above adress with any questions. We are looking forward to a splendid second outing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Michael DaSilva Ukuleles

Here's the web site for Mike DaSilva, a ukulele maker from Oakland, CA. Beauties, Mike! Link

Uncle Sam Wants Uke

The Ukuleles for Sanity folks are selling swell T-Shirts that would be perfect attire for the upcoming July 4th holiday. Link (Direct link to merchandise is here.)

Mr Mediocrity

I love this track (Coffee Pot) by Minnesota band "Mr Mediocrity". I've completely forgotten how I stumbled across this, but what a find. (Uke Baby Uke!) Link

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

WNYC - Now Hear This: Stephin Merritt

Gary O'Brien writes:
John Flansburgh (of They Might Be Giants) has a little show on WNYC where he interviews various luminaries of music (that is, if you have good taste). In his piece on Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields, Merritt plays accompanied only by a uke. The website even points out that Merritt “rock(s) out (sort of) on the ukulele.” There is also a brief piece of him singing “All I Want To Know” (erroneously called “All I Wanna Do” on the website), again alone with his uke.

Link (Thanks, Gary!)

Also, here are links to recent performance reviews in the NY Times and the Boston Globe.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Building a Soprano Ukulele From a Kit

Thinking of building your own uke from a kit? Be sure to follow along with Dominator's trials and tribulations as he builds (and customizes) this mahogany soprano from Grizzly Industrial. Link

Rolling Coconuts

"Magazine of Ukulele World"! I've seen several copies of this glossy uke magazine that is published in Japan. And it's free! I wish they'd publish an English edition. Poke around on their site. There's some interesting stuff, even if you don't read Japanese. For example, I'm not exactly sure what this is, but it certainly rocks de uke! Link Discuss

Ukulele Blog From Japan

Here's a Japanese uke enthusiast's blog. I've poked around a bit and have found some fun stuff. Enjoy!Link

Listen Up Larrivee Lovers!

Not long ago, Larrivee broke uke lovers hearts by announcing that they were discontinuing their line of ukuleles. Today there's some good news: John Larrivee, Jr. writes that a limited number of sopranos will be available in the near future:
"...I recently decided to do another run of saprano ukulele's. There are about 150 of them(mahogany and koa), ranging from entry level 01's to mid level 09's to 10's with master grade Koa. I will finish these ukes over the next several month's. About a dozen being completed a week. I am also building 10 concert size ukes that will be available sometime in August. If you are interested in owning a uke from this run you can find out what is available and order through your favorite dealer. I have read frequent postings concerning hardshell cases for Larrivee ukes. I now have custom fitted hardshell cases for the them. Mini versions of our guitar cases. They are very solid! The hardshell cases will be offered as an option. A softshell gigbag is always included either way. For those of you already owning a Larrivee uke and are interested in geting your hands on a hardshell case, just order one through your Larrivee dealer. It's pretty exciting doing the uke 'thing' again, it's been a while! John Larrivee Jr. Carpe Diem!"
For more information, Johnny says you can also contact him directly via email.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Andy's Fluke papooseFellow journalist, Mac aficionado, and ukulele player Andy Ihnatko sez:

"I flew to Kansas City on Wednesday to speak to a local user group. It was just an overnight so I was utterly delighted to be a one-carryon, minimalist traveller for the first time in memory. I just tossed my PowerBook, its charger, my toothbrush, one book, and a change of shirt and unmentionables into a backpack I got last month, slid my iPod and my phone into a pocket, and then I was ready to go.

"But there was still plenty of room left over so I figured what the hell...I'll take my Fluke with me. Lo and behold, the backpack's outside pocket zipped around the thing as if it were a custom-made Fluke Papoose:

Fluke Papoose

"I mean, this backpack kicks butt. On top of its obvious appeal for Fluke enthusiasts it's the only notebook-compartmented backpack that doesn't scream out "Are You Stronger And More Aggressive Than Me? A $2000 Computer Could Be YOURS! Pin Me Against A Wall And Ask Me How!" It has expandable and/or bungeed pouches for anything worth taking and pass-throughs for headphone wires. The pack was a freebie (a party favor from an awards dinner I attended last month in London) but a Google turned up its Australian manufacturer.

"The user group (MacCORE) was surprised and delighted by how I finished my talk. Well, I don't know about Delighted but my performance found that happy medium above Men Throwing Beer Bottles and below Women Throwing Underwear. But I was doubly-glad that I brought the Fluke. My connection home through O'Hare was profoundly delayed and by the start of my third hour in Terminal C, strumming "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" in a variety of tempos and styles was a fine distraction from the sorts of impulses that would have led to my being siezed by federal air marshals and dragged behind an unmarked door somewhere. I might have to make my Fluke a regular travel companion...!"

Beloff's Attorney Tells All

Well, sort of. Here's a great bio piece about "Jumpin' Jim" Beloff, written by his longtime friend (and former real estate attorney), Tom Teicholz. Link

Everybody needs a Pikachuke

The Pikachu Ukulele looks cute. And it's guaranteed to "produce rich and cheerful sounds from within the walnut brown body." How can you say no to this irresistable creature? Link

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Ukiyo Ukuleles

Luthier (and resonator guitar meister) Marc Schoenberger has turned his attention to making fine quality ukuleles. Of particular note are his faithful and sonorous replicas of the Roy Smeck "Vita-Uke," complete with the legendary seal-shaped sound holes.
"The model V is a refined version of this classic uke. Subtle binding accents set off the two tone sides while the fingerboard sports a snappy multicolored wooden side stripe...
"...While retaining the look and feel of the original, this modern uke plays in tune and will meet the standards of even the most critical musician. With its "tap tuned" top and attention to detail, this diminutive dandy barks with the authority of a big box Jazz guitar!"
You have to play one of these sweet babies to believe it...and fall in love. (Don't miss Marc's interview with Albert Einstein on the site and the story behind the Del Norte uke, made from flame redwood and wood from William Randolph Hearst's yacht. Not for the faint-hearted!) Link

Monday, June 14, 2004

King of Flukes!

Ukulelia pal John King writes:
"Jim Beloff asked me in December to do a classical book and CD for his Jumpin' Jim's Ukulele Masters series and I wanted to use a Fluke for the recording so I asked Dale Webb to send a stock plastic fretboard model, which sounded great. I used it for the recording and loved it. When we were in Santa Cruz Dale asked me if I could use a 17-fret Fluke; it arrived Friday. He said he had few more of the 17 fret fingerboards and I thought some of your readers might be interested."
The extended fretboards are made of rosewood (rather than the standard issue and serviceable molded ones). If you're interested in ordering a 17 fret Fluke, John suggests that you inquire over at the Fleamarket Music site.



I understand that using a Fluke for the recording was John's idea. He wanted the book to be accessible, and for players to know that they didn't have to have an expensive uke to sound great. Watch here for news about the release of the John's Ukulele Masters book!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

PiNEAPPLE PRiNCESS

"What do you get when you mix a hula dancer, a punk rocker, two feedback-laden electric ukuleles, lotsa beer, Jack Daniels and Jagermeister shots, and a sports-fanatic conga drummin’ madman?" Yep, you guessed it. Glad to know the girls are still rockin'. They're featured in the documentary Rock That Uke. Link

The Hazzards (fka Ukes of Hazzard)

Meet the Hazzards:
The Hazzards are Sydney Maresca & Anne Harris. They have been playing the ukulele together in NYC since meeting at a party in 2000. Originally known as "The Ukes of Hazzard", they recently shortened their name to stay on the right side of the law.

With over a million downloads of their video "Gay Boyfriend", The Hazzards are truly an international sensation.
Their video is a hoot. They'll be in San Francisco this week!
Link

Sprechen Sie Uke?

If you've ever wanted to earn your "Ukendiplom," here's a fellow in Dresden that can teach you. His site includes such old time favorites as "Ein Frosch wollte Hochzeit machen" (aka "A Frog Wanted to Make Wedding") Ukes uber alles! Link

Geoff's Oahu Trip Blog

Key Strummers leader Geoff Davis is on Oahu learning about 'ukulele culture and construction. He's blogging his experiences here. At left is Geoff's own "Hoosier Maid" 'uke with Diamond Head in the background. I'm not jealous. I'm not jealous...

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Digging Stick Ukuleles

Beautiful and exotic ukuleles by Jeff and Margaret Burger in Bemidji, Minnesota (home of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox!). I especially like the offset tuning pegs on this koa model. Anyone have one or tried one out? Link

Mosaic Uke art

Amber sez: "I just happened upon this site and am fascinated by the Uke culture that is apparently alive and thriving!  I just thought I'd send along a photo or two of the Uke that I created for a local musician - it's a Hilo and was fun to put together for him.  Thought you might enjoy it - you're welcome to post it as long as you place my name with it.
Link

Cars synthesizer player to make uke album?

Will Judy sez: "Ran across this while Googling for info about the rumored Yamaha uke-synth. It's an April 30 bit from the Boston Herald about former Cars keyboardist Greg Hawke and his rediscovery of non-electronic music."

Hawkes is so into the string thing he says his first post-Cars solo CD likely will be - no kidding - a ukulele album. As a preview, he plays three tracks he's recorded featuring
multitracked ukes: a sweet original with Nilsson-esque vocals, an
almost Oriental-sounding instrumental and a gorgeous arrangement of
'Eleanor Rigby.'


Link

Germany's most famous Ukulele player meets Will Smith

Daniel sez: "Just stumbled upon your ukulele page and thought this might interest you. There's a popular TV host in Germany named Stefan Raab who frequently does interviews with international celebs. He often plays the Ukulele for or with them. Here's a link to a snipplet from his show featuring Will Smith. They do a "Here come the men in black" duet. The snipplet is taken from a retrospect and therefore has comments from German b-class celebs." Link

Friday, June 04, 2004

I Want My Uke TV

James Hill writes:
"Yesterday I taped a short interview segment for MTV Canada that will air on June 7th [4 pm]. I talked `ukulele with 'VJ' Brian Adler and played a bit...As with most things `ukulele these days, it was a little surreal. After all, here's a show that usually features pop artists, rappers, DJs and other 'cool' folk, and there I was - right in the heart of teen culture... with nothing but a smile and an `ukulele. MTV - who would have thought?"
(If anyone does a video capture, let us know...) Nice shoes, James! Link

Occasional Publisher Occasional Bartender

Ukulele pal and Ukulele Occasional publisher Jason Verlinde writes:
It would appear that for some odd reason that the Seattle branch of the Ukulele Occasional will be bartending on Monday night [June 7th]. At Hattie's Hat in lovely Ballard, Wash. There will be uke music on the stereo, a drink special or two for anyone who brings in a uke, and a few giveaways. And I'll do my best to hand you your beer in a timely fashion.



So come by, talk to uke people, have a drink, and discuss pressing uke issues ... all in the comfort of one of Seattle's friendlier bars. And they serve food, too.



Hope to see you there..."



Link
 
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