Monday, April 25, 2005
Friday, April 22, 2005
"The blurb for Apocalypso Now says: "Warning: This Show Contains Ukulele?" Is this true?Link
Oh, yes. I've been doing ukulele songs on stage for a couple of years now.
The ukulele came into my life only a few years ago, but it has been one of those late-flowering love affairs which take you by surprise."
Strictly speaking it's a banjolele, but the same instrument is what George Formby called a ukulele... and that's good enough for me.
The marriage between me and the ukulele was blessed by good luck. Last year at a flea market at Lauderdale House, I found sheaves of ukulele sheet music from the 1920s with beautiful hand-drawn illustrations on the front, and the fellah was selling them for 35p each!
Since then, however, I have been Asbo-ed, for once too often playing You, Just You (by Larry Yoell, Herb Scharlin and Al Jacobs, Keithe Prowse & Co Music, 6d net). This is thought to be the only foxtrot-related Asbo."
Thursday, April 21, 2005
"The first of two encores included the fan interactive "Fins," then "Scarlet Begonias," giving Shimabukuro a shining moment when he let the uke virtuoso play more of the song than the two had planned. When Shimabukuro finished, Buffett whispered, 'Passing the torch, Jake.'"Link
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
And, by the way, we also learned something of the seamy history behind "Sister Kate" courtesy of Uncle Rufus. Here are links to info on the OHEK site.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
"Hawai'i's Jake Shimabukuro has become the first 'ukulele stylist to sign with J. D'Addario & Co. Inc., a maker of musical strings. He joins a short list [looks like they have over 50 -- ed.] of D'Addario stylists that includes Beck, Sheryl Crow, Ani DiFranco, Ben Harper, John Mayer and Jeff Tweedy of Wilco"Link
Here is a site promoting the First International Ukulele Ceilidh in Nova Scotia coming up in October, 2005:
"Ukulele idols, gurus, virtuosi etc. who have accepted our invitation include: our own J. Chalmers Doane, James Hill, Manitoba Hal who is offering a ukulele blues workshop, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain who are longing to try the lobster, also invited are Risa of Germany, Dave Means of Glyph Custom 'Ukuleles and we will add to the list as they rsvp (come on Joe Brown, let us have your answer soon!)Why Nova Scotia, you ask? "Nova Scotia is the cradle of the Ukulele in Canada, thanks to J Chalmers Doane," sez James Hill. Link
"The weekend will include workshops, good food, fine company, jamming sessions, a wonderful combined concert on the Saturday night, a ukulele making demonstration and clinic, a Sunday morning ukulele hymn sing or Formby moviethon (depending on one's religion!) and of course what you all are really asking for - plenty of opportunities to play together. Add to that the inauguration of the Ukulele Hall of Fame in Nova Scotia and this will be a FIRST you will want to be part of."
Oh, and while we're talking GCEA, eh, let's point out that Manitoba Hal is once again presenting the Great Canadian Ukulele Expo on May 7, 2005 in Winnipeg.
"Buttercup is a tight pop outfit from San Antonio, Texas that evokes the satire of Village Green-era Kinks while pouring out the exuberance of early Talking Heads and the soulfulness of Neil Young. This stuff is sophisticated and accessible, the distillation of years of having the right influences and the patience to present the synthesis originally and with heart. All the members sing and all play a variety of musical instruments."Check out their song "Johnny Appleseed" for a buttery taste. Link
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Monday, April 11, 2005
Friday, April 08, 2005
"This 145-page book is a condensation of 35 years of woodworking experience and a substantial knowledge of guitar and ukulele construction. It has been written with the first time builder in mind, but it includes some more advanced topics and procedures. Basic concepts are the core of this book and in great detail. Little is published on the subject of ukulele construction and this book will be a welcomed addition."Link
"He started out very traditional and structured, but later on when he branched out and started his own school of martial arts, his whole philosophy was basically to have no form,'' says Shimabukuro, who makes his Bay Area debut as a headliner at two Stanford University performances Saturday, sharing the bill with noted slack key guitarist Steve Sano. ``Lee said you should be like water, because water can take the form of any container. It's soft, but it can be very powerful. As artists, we should always be like water. We should always be able to change and adapt to whatever's happening at an instant.''Link
Thursday, April 07, 2005
"The Inventions of Note Sheet Music Collection was established in 1997 by the Lewis Music Library at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This sheet music collection consists of popular songs and piano compositions that portray technologies (old and new alike) as revealed through song texts and/or cover art."Link
You'll need to poke around amongst some 16 lists of available titles, but with over 2,500 tunes available, who could complain? Terry Smythe of Winnipeg deserves sainthood for performing this labor of love. Link
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Diane, we bow before thee:
"Diane Rubio is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist with a degree in Music from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has studied cello with Joan Jeanrenaud of the Kronos Quartet; I-Bei Lin of Trio Xia; and Gregory Dubay, principal cellist of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. She has recently ventured into non-Classical genres, performing with the likes of Makana, Hawaii's premiere Ki Ho'alu (slack-key) guitarist; Bill “the Duke of Uke” Tapia, 96-year-old jazz musician and ‘Ukulele Hall of Fame inductee; Lori Ohtani’s (of Iona) BUTOH dance troupe; and the retro-Hawaii band, The Essential Resophonics (under the Mountain Apple label). She has opened on cello for the Russian cellist and former model, Nina Kotova, and has played ‘ukulele alongside the Brazillian guitarists Carlos Barbosa-Lima and Carlos Bendfeldt. She is an honorary member of the ‘Ukulele Guild of Hawaii, and is a repeat guest artist for the annual ‘Ukulele Guild of Hawaii Festivals. Diane’s latest project is a performance at Hawaii Theatre co-headlined by Makana and Jason Mraz."
"Diane and John [Cannizzaro] are currently performing American standards with a Hawaiian influence (jazz ‘ukulele) in the styles of Frank Sinatra, Etta James, Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole, and Harry Connick Jr. They also have several Hawaiian pieces in their repertoire."
Friday, April 01, 2005
Unbelievable! According to this story, "first daughter" Barbara Bush (seen at left with twin sister, Jenna) has been seen playing the uke while stumping for her dad's Social Security overhaul program. Barbara has drawn standing ovations for her rendition of "This Plan is Your Plan," to the tune of "This Land is Your Land":
The ukulele Barbara Bush plays is a family heirloom, given to George W. Bush by his grandfather, Prescott Bush, when the future President was a cheerleader at Phillips Academy (Andover). "Great-Grandfather Bush loved to sing and was in the Glee Club at Yale," said Ms Bush. "He and Dad used to sing Whiffenpoof songs together." George W. Bush later reportedly carried the uke with him on his flying missions over Alabama during his stint with the National Guard, and the back of the instrument is autographed by his entire squadron.Read the full story here. (Thanks, Otto!)
Ms Bush stumbled across the uke at Camp David after the November election and was astonished when the President tuned it up and proceeded to serenade Karl Rove with “You’re the Cream in My Coffee.”
"Dad showed me a few chords, and I was hooked."
Barbara's currently hot on Tin Pan Alley standards. "The songs from the Great Depression sound really great on the uke, she said recently, launching into a plunky rendition of “Let’s Have Another Cup O' Coffee.”
Bitten by "the jumping flea" (the English translation of the original Hawaiian), Ms Bush admits that the ukulele has brought out the romantic in her. "There's this guy, James Hill, who is this incredible ukulele player. I have kind of a crush on him, but it turns out he's Canadian. I mean, Grandma Bar would pop!"
Twin sister Jenna Bush has yet to follow her older twin's lead on the diminutive guitar. "I don't really like the stuff that Barbara plays," she noted, "I'm more like into, like, The Ukes of Hazzard (a contemporary ukulele duo with a satirical bent)."