Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sample track from NOWHERE

This is one track called "Frontporch" from my upcoming CD called NOWHERE, due out at the end of November.


fair warning! This song contains adult language and situations...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pardon My (Relative) Silence

Dear Readers,

If you've been a fan of Ukulelia for a while, you've probably noticed that my posting volume has been down for about a year, and why The World's Greatest Ukulele Weblog is only #8 these days.

If you'll take a moment and read this article, you'll get a small taste of what we've been going through for a year. Obviously, it's hard to keep up a blog when you're spending an extraordinary amount of effort trying to keep your disabled son out of jail.

It's a really sad story, and this article doesn't quite convey the amount of stomach acid and legal fees my wife and I have had to incur simply to make sure my son receives the basic education guaranteed him by law.

I am profoundly proud of my son, Garrison, who turned 16 on Saturday. (Happy birthday, Brother.) And I'm profoundly proud of his two sisters, who study hard and do really, really well. And, ironically, I'm proud of our local high school, which is in the highest ranking district in California.

And I'm ashamed that this same, excellent school put a kid with Down Syndrome in a closet. Link

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ukulele Ireland

But so far as I know, James Joyce never played:
"Ulster, Leinster, Munster, Connacht. My, Dog, Has, Fleas. Ukulele Ireland - four strings, four provinces and the truth, brothers and sisters."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Heart Strings - The Story of the Kamaka Ukulele

Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 8:30pm, PBS Hawaii will air Heart Strings - The Story of the Kamaka Ukulele. Plans for re-broadcast on the mainland are in the works, but prolly on Island Time. If you catch the show, drop us a note and tell us how it stay was. Link

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sweetheart Story

Nice article in the Philly Inquirer. Among others, it has some nice things to say about Joseph Todaro.

Philadelphia's first all-ukulele festival, "One Nation Under a Uke," begins today at 7 p.m. with an open mike at the Green Rock Tavern on East Lehigh Avenue, followed by performers doing songs from traditional to obscene.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

No Jimmy Buffett, Just Warren and Son

Composer Peter Buffett and his ukulele-playing pater will be on stage at the Paley Center in October. If you can afford to go, you're prolly already a Berkshire-Hathaway shareholder. Gotta buy the whole season series at Paley if you wanna go.
Peter Buffett in Concert and Conversation

Friday, October 3, 2008
6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Paley Center Los Angeles

with special guest Warren Buffet, who wants to see if his investment in those piano lessons paid off [I'd bet my Kamaka Warren wrote that, ed.]

Multimedia musician Peter Buffett is an acclaimed composer for advertising (MTV spots), television documentaries (500 Nations), and theatrical films (Dances with Wolves). Peter will play, sing, and share exclusive videos of his work and philanthropic activities. Special guest Warren Buffett and Peter will attend the private rooftop reception with series subscribers preceding the concert.

Ukulele covers of Jonathan Coulton's "Still Alive" from Portal - Boing Boing

On Ukulelia's big sister blog boingboing today. Link

This Machine Kills Cancer

Activist singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie often scrawled "This Machine Kills Fascists" on his guitar. Ingrid Michaelson carries the flame in a somewhat different vein, this time in a war against cancer. Her new CD, Be OK, will benefit cancer research, specifically through the organization Stand Up to Cancer. The title track is a uke tune, and you can hear it here.

We'll forgive Ingrid for not painting "This Machine Kills Cancer" on her Rick Turner Compass Rose Tenor.


(Photo by Josh Hunter)

Formby Swag

Speaking of George Formby, OBE, the George Formby Society has some swell swag available for purchase. Arrive at your next club meeting sporting an Official George Formby Society Tie. The Face ties turned out nice again, too. Link

Saturday Morning with George

I've been wanting to post a few bits about George Harrison for a while, and being stuck home with a nasty cold has afforded us the chance to pull a few threads together.

First off, next week, the The Beatles Story, a themed attraction in Liverpool, will unveil the latest addition to their collection: a gold-plated banjolele previously owned by George Harrison. The uke was purchased for around $38,000 (21,600 GBP) by The Beatles Story at auction from Bonhams in June, 2008.:
"George Formby/George Harrison: A gold-plated Dallas 'E' banjolele, the headstock inlaid with George Formby's name and the reverse stamped E/1169, fingerboard with dot and shaped markers, replaced skin, in original plush-lined, shaped case by Paxman Bros. Ltd. London, together with background documentation"
There's apparently some argument as to whether the uke was ever owned or played by George Formby. It was indeed owned by Harrison, who later felt it belonged with the family and offered to gift it back to them. Formby's nephew insisted on paying for it, however. Lovely chaps, both.

This uke was one of three at auction; the others being:

George Formby's Dallas 'C' banjolele, which Formby used to perform, among other things, When I'm Cleaning Windows. (Formby used several differently-tuned ukes on stage, noting which songs each was to be used for. There's a professional cheat that anyone with Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome can use to justify the need to own multiple ukes: But Honey, I tune this one in C and I need this other one so I can tune it in D...)
"...with impressed serial no. 2364, in shaped case, an envelope attached inside inscribed in Formby's hand Uke in D Low, also with five song titles written in pencil on a scrap of paper by Formby, Window Cleaner, Serves you right, Lampost, Blackpool Rock, Growing Lad, a set of 1940s' strings by Keech 'Made expressly for Mr. George Formby', and the original vellum"
George Formby's Abbott 'Monarch' banjolele,
"rear of headstock stamped 4967 and neck with indistinct maker's mark, sold with background documentation"
As for the purchasers of the Dallas 'C' and the Abbott 'Monarch," well as my mother used to say, my hat blew off. The Monarch sold for around $129,000 (72,000 GBP). No selling price is listed for the Dallas 'C', so perhaps it did't sell.

I also recently ran across a video of George Harrison that I hadn't seen before. In case you haven't, here's the music video of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Everyone looks like they're having the time of their life. I can only imagine that this must have been what it was like at George's home when he brought the ukes out.

Finally, I got a change to kanikapila with my friend James Bradbury this week. Jim was teaching me George's For You Blue. Not surprisingly, it being a Harrison tune, it translates perfectly to the uke. Here's a knockout version by Seiji Yamashita. If anyone has tabbed this out, please email me. Enjoy!


(h/t to Al Wood for the Formby AntiVirus joke)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Eugene UKEtoberfest 2008

Left Coasters, mark your calendars for the Eugene (Oregon) UKEtoberfest this October.


Wii Ukulele

We've joked around before about there being a "Ukulele Hero" coming out, but this actually appears to be a real Wii app that's in development. Anyone who knows more or can read Japanese, please drop us a line to let us know what this is all about.

I have to say that, with beginner ukuleles being fairly inexpensive, and the uke being so easy to learn, this seems like a big waste of money. Now if it was truly Ukulele Hero and you could jam with Jake, that'd be different...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Upcoming Events at DaSilva and Santa Cruz

Rising star/Slack Key Supergirl Brittni Paiva will be at Mike DaSilva's in Berkeley, CA this Sunday, September 14 at 8pm. Down to Santa Cruz, too, next Wednesday. Sez Mike:
"For those not so familiar with this youthful ukulele star, here is a brief introduction. For Brittni Paiva and her ukulele, it was love at first touch.
Affectionately called the ukulele darling and slack key supergirl for her remarkable instrumental proficiency, Brittni walked away with the 2005 Na Hoku Hanohano “Most Promising Artist Award” at the age of 16 for her debut recording, Brittni X 3 in which she played all three parts—ukulele, guitar and bass.

At age 17 she released her second CD entitled HEAR…, which was awarded the 2006 Hawaii Music Awards “Ukulele Album of the Year” and which also received two nominations for the 2006 Na Hoku Hanohano categories for “Best Instrumental Album of the Year” and “Favorite Entertainer of the Year.“

At 18-years-old, the do-it-all girl did again with the release of her third CD Brittni. In barely a year, this young musician produced another CD that would equal or better her last CD, “Hear…” For more info about Brittni Paiva, please visit her website."
Later on in September, the Sweet Hollywaiians will be performing with special guests Robert Armstrong and Tony Marcus. We've been remiss in not writing about the Sweet Hollywaiians. They're teriffic! Catch them at Mikes on Sunday, September 28. More from Mike:
"About a year ago, I was treated to an impromptu concert and recording session in the shop by four visiting musicians from Osaka, Japan. The Sweet Hollywaiians blew me away with their multi-instrumental talents and virtuoso playing of the Hawaiian steel guitar, guitar, ukulele, mandolin and bass.

And now here's your chance to experience their musicianship. The "Sweet Hollywaiians" are an amazing hot string band from Japan and they are masters of '20s,'30s hawaiian, swing, ragtime, blues, italian and calypso music.... Hollywood style!! They'll be joined by Cheap Suit Serenaders members Robert Armstrong and Tony Marcus. It will indeed be a very special night!"

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