Thursday, March 30, 2006

'Ukulele Festival of Northern California

Join me at the 13th annual 'Ukulele Festival of Northern California in Hayward, Sunday, April 30, 2006. This is always a fun event. Maybe this year we'll have an informal Ukulelia meet-up in the courtyard to play and talk story. Email Gary at the link above if you're interested!

More information on the PICA site, including information for performers and vendors. Link

Tiki Oasis

Otto von Stroheim sez
"Ukefans will not want to miss Tiki Oasis 6, May 4 - 7 2006, in San Diego. On Sunday there'll be a free ukulele jam in the Tiki Marketplace pavilion at noon. And Gary Peare is the coolest boss EVAR!"
(Disclaimer: Otto and I are cow-orkers at Tesser.)

Check out the entertainment line-up! Details and reservations at

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Martin 5K at Elderly

Hurry, Hurry, Step right up and pre-order your brand spankin' new Martin 5K. The price is Top Seekrit unless you call Elderly directly. But the "minimum advertised price" is $4,199. (In case some mysterious benefactor is lurking out there in ukeland, my birthday is the same as George Formby's. George's is May 26.) Link

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

King Kukulele Kommercial!

The other day, croaking pitifully from his sickbed, His Majesty, King Kukulele told us that this TV commercial, "Bus Stop" has been a favorite of film festivals and won an award at the festival in the San Fernando Valley. Check it out, and join me in wishing His Nuttiness a speedy recovery. Link (and click on "Movies")


Like King David's Ukulele Station, but in English. Like Ukulelia, but upside down. It's Australele, Australian Ukulele Portal for the world! Welcome to the blogosphere. Link

Monday, March 27, 2006

Bobby Breen

The mysterious Bobby Breen/ukulele connection? Now here's a clue for you all: the Walrus was, well, I forget, but George played the uke. And Bobby is on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's. Link

Habitat 4 Ukulele

Ukulele Ray sez:
"Habitat 4 Ukulele is a San Francisco-based private ukulele museum featuring a world-class gallery collection of string instruments dedicated to the ukulele, its history, famous players and just about anything uke. The museum, with its several rooms of historical ukuleles and related ephemera, blended with LIVE performances and old movies, brings together the old with the new for uke lovers of all ages."

Barry White/George Formby Mashup

Ever wonder what it would sound like if Barry White covered "Leaning on a Lampost"? Wonder no more. Ivan Staxx sings it here.

9 Year Old New Ukulele Idol

Christopher Napier recently won (Great Britain's) Stars in Their Eyes Kids competition by playing George Formby's old standard "Little Stick of Blackpool Rock." Turned out nice again, indeed! Well done, Chris! Link

UPDATE: The good folks over at the George Formby Society have a tribute page up for Chris, along with video from the show! Link

Friday, March 24, 2006

Rodney Takahashi Workshop

Andy sez:
"The Hula School of Santa Cruz is sponsoring an 'ukulele workshop with Rodney Takahashi of San Jose.

Date: Thursday, March 30th

Place: First Congregational Church, 900 High Street, Westside Santa Cruz

Time: 6:30pm - 8:00pm

Cost: $15 pre-registation, $20 at the door

All levels are welcomed. This one-time workshop is to introduce Rodney and his style of teaching to the Santa Cruz area.

Visit his website at or contact Leolani for any questions. Mahalo!

Leolani Lowry
The Hula School of Santa Cruz
Ka Lei Wehi O Ka Mailelauloa
Tel: 831.420.0900

Friday, March 17, 2006

iPod Tuner

Tune your uke with your iPod! Email me if you have this. Link

Monday, March 13, 2006

Elvis Camera

Michael Simmons sez:
"This disposable camera will take a photo with you and Elvis. The shots include Elvis serenading you on his uke, Elvis dressed as a cowboy, Elvis in his army uniform and a couple of shots of Elvis looking dreamily at you. Let’s see your fancy-schmancy digital camera do that!"
Link (via Fretboard Journal)

Bruce Shimabukuro

John Berger recently wrote a review of you-know-who's brother Bruce's debut CD. This Bruce may not be The Boss, but he's no BS either (the name of his band nothwithstanding). Link

YouTube - Ukulele Society of Great Britain

Fun video over on YouTube of a news report on the recent Ukulele Society of Great Britian meetup. I just can't resist having a tinkle myself. Cheeky! Link

Friday, March 10, 2006

Jake Signature Model Kamaka

Michael Simmons over at The Fretboard Journal let us know that they have a few pix of the new Jake Shimabukuro Signature Model Kamaka Tenor on their blog. Lovely! Check it out, and also consider subscribing to The Fretboard Journal. It's brought to you by the same folks that publish the occasionally-published Ukulele Occasional. I've been drooling over the inagural issue for several weeks now. Folks in the food industry talk about "food porn": images that make you lust for some particular food item. The FJ is dangerously close to lutherie porn! Link

Ukulele Noir 11 Tonight

Ukulele Noir 11: Small Instruments, Big Trouble is tonight (March 10, 2006) at 8pm in Somerville, MA. Great line-up, too. Here's a nice interview with host Craig Robertson in the Somerville Journal. Link

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

He Mele Aloha Reference Collection

Behold: the Mother Lode. The Rosetta Stone of all music Hawaiian.

On a recent trip to Hawaii, I had considered buying a comprehensive Hawaiian songbook, "He Mele Aloha." But comprehensive as it is, it contains no melodies (lyrics and chords only). Being a haole boy, it was basically useless to me. Tonight, however, courtesy of a link on the Kolohe Uke Club site (see post below), I discovered this site, which contains the missing parts of the puzzle: all of the melodies in midi form! I haven't tried it, but it appears that you can download one file with all the midis so you can practice offline.

As if that weren't enough, there are also midis for traditional and contemporary local kine strums, and melodies from several early mele collections, like "King's Songs of Hawaii." Bookmark this site immediately! Oh, and buy a copy of "He Mele Aloha," too. Link

Kolohe Ukulele Club Songbook

The Kolohe Ukulele Club of Southern California's site has a wonderful online songbook with links to pdfs of many traditional Hawaiian and Hapa Haole favorites. Link

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Solomon Ho'opi'i

From the Honolulu Advertiser:
"Solomon 'Sol' Ho'opi'i, one-half of a pioneering Maui-based Hawaiian music duo known as the Ho'opi'i Brothers, died Wednesday at Hale Makua on Maui. He was 70."

Formby Remembrance

The BBC featured a tribute to George Formby yesterday on the anniversary of his death. Includes sound clip from this side of the grave. Link

Dear DesMoines: It's Over

The "Curse of the Ukulele" is over. Tiny Tim rests in peace! Let the loft-building begin! Link

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

That's Not Funny. Darn Kids!

Check out this cartoon that Andy from the Santa Cruz Uke Club sent from Jerry Scott & Jim Borgman's strip "Zits." Those guys must be hanging around my house, snooping for ideas! Click on the image for a larger view.
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