Friday, November 30, 2007

Sigourney is a Lucky Star

Who knew that Sigourney Weaver's hubbie was a uke player? Or even that Sigourney is a uke "enthusiast" herself? She doesn't play, but if she did, you can bet this would definitely be part of her repertoire. Link

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Video Premier Tonight in London!

If you would like to see the new video that Hugh Mackay graciously shot of Craig for the Slowboat cover he did for the "Rainbow Over the Freeway" CD Sparks tribute which is coming out today to benefit the Rainbow Trust in England at Madam Sohos in can see it on his MySpace site...just click on the "videos"

Craig’s Video

The Rainbow Over the Freeway

Now That's a Christmas Decoration!

Check out the size of this bad boy being muscled into position in front of Honolulu City Hall. Don't tell the crazies down in Santa Cruz about this one or fer sure one of 'em will try and kidnap it for next year's Burning Uke. Link

(Thanks, Tim!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Robert's Room

Robert Wheeler just redid his ukulele room and sent me this….“Not a big deal, but I just finished re-organization ......... and there's no more room on this wall.”

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas is Interesting

Finally, a new Holiday song that's right up your dark alley. It's Jonathan Coulton's "Christmas is Interesting", courtesy of Mike at Giant Flightless Birds (he's got lots of other unusual tabs on his site too; check 'em out). Link

We're Crazy for Ukes!

It's not even December yet, but what to our wondering eyes appear this morning in the paper but a cover story in the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine on our raison d'ĂȘtre, and featuring a sultry shot of local ukulele siren Tippy Canoe.

Author Ian Lendler does a superb job of connecting the Bay Area uke scene with the history of the jumping flea, and Chris Stewart's photos give an nice sense of our diverse community. (View Chris's photos here.)

Read The Return of the Jumping Fleas! Or how we learned to stop worrying and love the ukulele

Here are some links to the people and groups mentioned in Ian's article:
And by the way, Tippy's uke was made by another Berkeley luthier, Peter Hurney, who made Uni's as well. (And one for Craig Robertson, but oddly, not one for me...)

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Darling of December

Wake up all you East Coast Ukulele players, Tippy is heading your way....

Tippy Canoe in the Darling of December Tour! December 1st - 8th

Oakland, Calfornia’s old-timey pop ukulele chanteuse will head east for a run of dates between Massachusetts and North Carolina. This will be a quick jaunt to offer a peek at some of the tunes on the debut cd from Tippy Canoe & the Paddlemen called “Parasols and Pekinese” due out in early 2008.
Dec 1st 14th Annual NIGHT OF 100 ELVISES BALTIMORE, MD
Tippy Canoe & her Baltimore Paddlemen join 30+ impersonators in celebrating The King.
Tippy with Don Peyton Dreamboat (featuring Kelli Rae Powell & Craig Chesler)
Dec 5th P.A.’s LOUNGE SOMERVILLE, MA Tippy Canoe with Craig Robertson
Dec 7th LOAD OF FUN BALTIMORE, MD 21201 Tippy Canoe & the Baltimore Paddlemen
Dec 8th THE CAVE CHAPEL HILL, NC Tippy Canoe Mad Tea Party

the link

Thursday, November 22, 2007

While we're on the subject of holiday music, here are a couple of uke books that would make your Holiday Uke Music Collection complete. We just picked up a copy of the just-released Jumpin' Jim's Happy Holidays (pictured here). It features 25 popular songs, including several that Ukulelia readers have been looking for, including "Baby, It's Cold Outside," and "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" Most arrangements are very simple, with few advanced chords. Advanced players will probably want to transpose several of the songs and add color notes or chord inversions here and there on the jazzier tunes to spice them up a bit. A great collection of secular holiday hits!

Also on our list is another Beloff book, Jumpin' Jim's Ukulele Christmas. This is a more traditional collection of carols that would be perfect for sing-alongs and church events. Included is a really great (but all too short) chord solo arrangement of "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies," which is a great little noodle to toss off any time of year just to impress folks. (If anyone wants to get on Santa's permanent Nice List, he or she will arrange the entire "Nutcracker Suite" for uke.) Our personal favorite is "Bring a Torch Jeanette, Isabella," which sounds like it was originally composed for a re-entrant instrument.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tenor Gift Strategy 101

If you're looking for a way to convince the powers-that-be that you deserve a fine tenor uke for Xmas, here's a winning strategy: Simply play Gerald Ross's arrangements of these holiday classics for said powers-that-be and let them know that the only thing standing in your way of sounding like Gerald is said instrument.

Hopefully, then, by the time next year rolls around, Gerald will have tabbed out his arrangements for us all, and you can demonstrate just how far you stretched the truth this year. But hey, you'll have Gerald's arrangements, and of course, the tenor. Link

(Thanks, Gerald, and btw: hint, hint)

Happy Thanksgiving!

With much aloha, from Mark, Craig, and Gary.

Remember: there is nothing sweeter than strumming yourself (and family) to sleep after a turkey dinner. Link

Sunday, November 18, 2007

School Me, Del Ray, School Me!

Blues guitarist--and more importantly, blues ukulelist--Del Ray has a new DVD out, Blue Uke. From the Elderly site:
"Del takes a guitar player's approach to the instrument, using her three fingers to play syncopated melody and harmony lines against a steady thumb beat. Tuning her uke to open C (G-C-E-A), she starts off with blues scales and right hand exercises to coordinate your hands then it's right into five fabulous pieces: "Goin' Up the Country," "Run and Tell Your Daddy, Lord," "Keep it Clean," "Dance Hall Shuffle" and "Brown's Blues." EXTRA: Del performs four songs with guitarist Steve James. Includes note/tab booklet. 70 min."

I think this would make a particularly good gift for teen-aged ukers. Most currently available uke music is profoundly un-hip to this age group, and honestly, how long can you look cool strumming a two-chord Jack Johnson song? But the blues are always hip and I think it'd be cool to rock out when your classmates think you're just going to go all "Pearly Shells" on them.

I'd get a copy of this myself, but then I'd have to get one of those thumbpicks, and then I'd have to get, a Beltona Blue resonator uke so I wouldn't chew up my Kamaka, and ...well I guess Christmas is coming up. Link

Update: Alan went straight to the source, and Del pointed him to this video of her performance of "Dance Hall Shuffle" from the Portland Uke Fest in 2006. More links to Del Ray in the comments for this post, too. (Thanks, Alan!)

Ukulele Holiday Classics

Forget A Christmas Story. (Imagine: asking for a Red Ryder BB Gun rather than a Martin Uke back in the 40s. Rather than a rusty, unshootable relic, today you'd have a sweet vintage player. Oh, Fuuuuuuddddddge!)

Here's the movie that every uke player will love to unwrap on Christmas day: the newly-released DVD edition of Bill Robertson's now-classic Rock That Uke.

Currently available exclusively at Elderly Instruments at this link. Sez Bill:
"In addition to the 62 minutes of madness that constitutes the documentary itself, the DVD features over 80 minutes of additional performances by artists featured in the documentary--including Janet Klein, Oliver Brown, Ukefink, Carmaig de Forest, Robert Armstrong, Songs From a Random House and others.

"There' are even a couple of "Easter Eggs" (as they're called) hidden on the DVD--one of which is an extremely enjoyable critique left on my voicemail by a drunken Canadian television producer who shall remain nameless. (Spoiler: He wasn't your "happy" variety of drunks.)"
Unrated, but decidedly adult fare. Order a copy today. "You'll uke your eyes out." I triple dog dare you.

Ukulele Shirt World

What to get your favorite uker for Xmas when you don't have the jack for a new uke? Consider one of the many ukulele themed shirts at Ukulele Shirt World! Link

Friday, November 16, 2007

Yoiks! Another Night Another Noir....

Saturday, November 17th at the Nave in Somerville, Mass. at 8:30 pm. with special first time guests the East Boston Make Out Club Band. How could you not attend. Also on the bill: Craig Robertson, Uncle Shoe, Robert Wheeler and Melvern Taylor & the Fabulous Meltones.

the link(the east boston makeout club band)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Abbey Road at DaSilva Ukulele

Don't miss Brook Adams tomorrow, Sunday November 11, at Mike's. He'll be conducting a Beatles-centric workshop from 3 to 5, then--get this--will be performing the entire Abbey Road album in concert at 7:30! Details here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Plant and Krauss

”Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, two of the most distinctive vocalists in modern music, recently put the finishing touches on Raising Sand - their astonishing new collaborative album. Set for release October 23 on Rounder Records, the album was produced by T Bone Burnett and recorded in Nashville and Los Angeles with a stellar cast of supporting musicians, including guitarists Marc Ribot and Norman Blake, multi-instrumentalist Mike Seeger, drummer Jay Bellerose, and bassist Dennis Crouch. Plant is quick to define Raising Sand as more a band record than a duet record, as it puts the two great singers in a variety of vocal and instrumental combinations - from songs featuring two-part brother-style harmony throughout to solo features for each…..”

yadda yadda yadda, so why is he holding a ukulele? Eh? the whole story
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