Thursday, August 25, 2005

San Diego Ukulele Festival

If you're in the San Diego area, don't miss the 2nd Annual San Diego Ukulele Festival this weekend, August 27th and 28th! Link

Great Performances . Bill Irwin, Clown Prince | PBS

Stumbled across a wonderful profile of master clown (and my personal hero) Bill Irwin on PBS last night. Look for it to repeat in your local area. There's an all-too-brief bit at the very end with Bill and Doug Skinner (whose site seems to be down) on uke. Link

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Ukulele from Coog Instruments

Check out these unusual ukes. The one shown at left is modeled after a Martin Style 1, and features a "recycled abalone inlay (farmed abalone from meal at local restaurant)". Look closely at the sides and you'll see that they're comprised of koa "tiles" with ebony strips. I've never seen anything like it. Link

Heimat der Ukulele

Here's a gem: Heimat der Ukulele (Homeland of the Ukulele) is great site to bookmark, even if (like me) you don't speak much German. I love this picture, which shows how smugglers apparently concealed contraband inside a uke. This, and much more (I was going to blog the photo of a "young" Adolph Hitler with his banjo uke, but I'll leave that for you to discover), courtesy of Raimund Sper... Link

The Honey Brothers

Meet The Honey Brothers, New York's--and perhaps the world's--only Hawaiian-Appalachian Glam Rock Band. Here's a recent interview with the band. Official Site

Monday, August 15, 2005

SoCal Heroes Send Ukes to Troops

Anita Coyoli-Cullen and Shirley Orlando have spearheaded a volunteer effort that has sent one hundred ukuleles to soldiers in Iraq. Link

Monday, August 08, 2005

Ralph Shaw Ukulele Strumming DVD

Ralph Shaw is indeed the King of the Ukulele. His Majesty has released a new DVD which should satisfy the craving of many folks looking to learn George Formby's notorious "split stroke" as well as the strum and chords used in Bruddah Iz's famous Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World medley. Link

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Randall Wright's Bamboo Ukulele

I earlier posted about last Saturday's workshop at Mike DaSilva's (see post, below). In follow-up, I received a nice email from Jim Bradbury, a fellow attendee (who let me try out his short-scale Duane Heileman sopranino--more frets per inch than any other uke I've seen). Sez Jim:
"Here's a link to some
I took of Randall Wright's ukulele derring-do..."
A Word of Caution: do not try this with your 1890 Santos.

(And in the Small World Department, turns out Jim is married to our long-lost friend, Judith Bradbury, nee Johnson. A new friend and a re-union with an old one in one fell swoop. I gotta get out more often!)

(Thanks, Jim!)

One Hot Uke Playa

The SFGate has published a series of pix of Burning Man attendees. Shown here is Dickie Davies. I bet that getup gets warm on the playa. Link (Thanks, Debra!)

Jeff Solomon

Meet Jeff Solomon, singer-songwriter-sketch comic:

"Jeff performs his songs on the piano and this 4-stringed acoustic/electric baritone ukulele. Jeff's ukulele uses an unconventional tuning similar to the alternate "G" tuning for the tenor ukulele: the strings are tuned D-G-B-E like the bottom strings of the guitar, except the D is raised an octave. Why the strange tuning? When Jeff got the uke as a gift, it came tuned that way. He taught himself to play it like that, unaware that it was strange, and with no ukulele experts at hand to alert him to the abnormality. So that's how it'll always be, tuned strange."

Jeff is a co-founder of the award-winning comedy group Elephant Larry and reportedly can play the uke and sax simultaneously.


Monday, August 01, 2005

My Day at DaSilva

I spent a wonderful Saturday afternoon at Mike DaSilva's shop attending one of Byron Yasui's workshops. Randall Wright dropped by and did a handstand on his new DaSilva bamboo uke.

Later, while we were all hanging out, talking story, a lady drops in with a uke that she picked up for her 4 year old at Goodwill. (You know where this is going...) Found it at the bottom of a box filled with kids toys. Marked $3.99, but since it was missing a tuning peg, she haggled and got it for 99 cents. Brought it by Mike's to see what it would cost to put the c. 1920 Leonardo Nunes in playing condition for the kid.

O! Ukulele Karma, where art thou?

Not Just a Flying V...A Pink Flying V!

Wow. Words escape me. Link

Here's a great site, especially for you players in New England. Mark Occhionero's site has lots of photos from recent local events, including Ukulele Noir. Don't miss Mark's Ukulele Flirting section, and his seekrit stash of jazzy uke arrangements and tabs. Link
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