Sunday, November 30, 2008

New Holiday CD from the Jake Shimabukuro of the Cello

Some guy who plays the cello has a new Holiday CD out. Whatevahs. But Jake play's a duet with him on John Lennon's Happy Xmas (War is Over). Here's a feature piece on the CD Songs of Joy & Peace from Minnesota Public Radio from November 25, 2008. Link

Love is Strong

Mary Ukelady writes that her ukulele song "Love Is Strong" has been added to New York City's radio station 106.7lite FM, on the "New" music page. ( It's also the title track of her debut studio CD.)

Sez she:
"HELP SPREAD THE LOVE that I am sending out to the world!
Please CLICK on the link below and LISTEN to my song. The more plays that it receives, the bigger my chances are for national radio air play. And it's all fun, so I hope that you enjoy!"

Good luck, Mary! Link

The V-Tones

Meet the V-Tones, "Charleston's only 'ukulele hot club Vaudeville ragtime neo-retro jug band". Whew. Link

More News from the New Epicenter of the Uke Universe

Poughkeepsie. (Let's call it Pokipiki, just so it sounds Hawaiian.) Link

bitch and the exciting conclusion

Bitch (formerly of Bitch and Animal) has a new project called Bitch and the Exciting Conclusion.
"Bitch and The Exciting Conclusion, or B+TEC for short, (say ‘be tech’) is a three piece band that combines electric violin, ukulele, bass drums and keyboards. Fronted by Bitch, whom you may know from her former band Bitch and Animal (Righteous Babe Records), or John Cameron Mitchell's movie, Shortbus, and beautifully backed by Gabriel Kubitz and Lee Free (circus amok). The three met in Alaska where Bitch went to look for clues into her mysterious past, and finally met her cousins, defectors from NYC, who were working on a fishing boat and playing in nightclubs and circuses in between sails."

Just in case there's been too much sugar in your diet this weekend. Link

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bette Midler Ukes on Ellen Degeneres

Around the 6:30 mark, the Divine Miss M pulls out a blinged-out Flea and serenades Ellen with The Glory of Love (pdf). Maybe Ellen will one up Oprah and come out with a line of ukes. Link

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Amy Crehore's Dreamgirls and Ukes Show

Over on BoingBoing, a sneak peek of Amy's upcoming show. I always feel like I'm sneaking a peek whenever I look at her work. Link

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Julia Nunes: YouTube Elite

It's kinda nice that the folks at YouTube picked a uke player to be part of their Live Channel kickoff event yesterday. Who? None other than Julia Nunes. We missed the broadcast, but the tune she performed, Maybe I Will, is here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Greg Hawkes Released

We drove through the dark and barren wastes of Burlington, Massachusetts. It
was a bitterly cold November night, but the parking lot was full when we arrived.

Where? You ask. It was the CD Release party for Greg Hawkes newest, all ukulele CD called “The Beatles Uke”. The room was crowded with friends and acquaintances. After some drinking and noshing, Greg got on stage with an array of ukuleles and started his set with a Cars tune. After about 45 minutes he called his son and daughter and two other teens up on stage, handed them ukuleles and they all played “My Best Friend’s Girl” to end the set.
There was an intermission and then Greg came back on and was joined by Tim Mann. They did another rousing set of mostly Beatles songs, ending with “Drive”, a wonderful Cars tune that Greg does a tremendous job on.
Get his new CD.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Meet Ukesperience, a self-styled folk-rock-tropical-blues band from steamy Eureka, California. Link

Gee, Mr. Wilson!

No wonder Dennis thinks Mr. Wilson is so neat...

Back When the Tiple Was Teh Gay

From the new Google/Life Magazine archive, here's a photo of Mrs. Myrtle Graesch playing her tiple in a Gay 90's review at at the Juliette Fowler Home for the Aged back in 1958.

It strikes me that these folks prolly were in their teens or early twenties in the 1890s, so this would have been revisiting their heyday. A few things I love about this picture:
  • How the lady on the far left is copping a feel of her partner's thigh
  • The torchiere immediately behind her. (My grandparents' living rooms were filled with them. Now you only see this kind in funeral homes or at Restoration Hardware.)
  • The Last Supper print on the wall
  • The lady in the print dress to the right of the tiple. (I sat in many laps like hers as a tot. And her bosom frightens me as much today as it did then. That's back when ladies had bosoms. I think today they're prevented by modern brassiers.)
  • And Mrs. Myrtle herself. (I think she was my elementary school principal, or her twin.)

(With thanks to Michael "Formerly of the Ukulele Occasional" Simmons for confirming the identity of the tiple.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ukulelia Holiday Songbook: Watch This Space

Well much to Craig Robertson's dismay, the Holidays will be here again, looks like they're already here. We'll be posting our annual set of links to tabs for Christmas, Chanukah, and other festive music. In the mean time, poke around in the archives at the bottom of the page, or check out last year's edition.

Playin' With Micucci at Steve Allen Theater

Zooey Deschanel better start playing her uke some more or we're going to adopt Kate Micucci as our new Ukulele Sweetheart. Kate is an LA-based actress, artist, uker, YouTuber, and seekrit super hero, and is about as close to a Margaret Keane painting come to life as it gets. Catch her tonight, and every 3rd Monday of the Month at the Steve Allen Theater. Link

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shirley Billing

Oz uker Shirley Billing has landed a nice little gig co-hosting "Tin Chef", a down-under version of Iron Chef, on November 18th. Shirley has a blog, and is also one half of Ukulele Ladies, apparently Oz's uke-powered answer to the B-52s. Link

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Poughkeepsie: the New Uke Ground Zero?

What's up with Poughkeepsie these days? Link

Stolen Uke Alert

Someone stole Windward Oahu musician, Doug Fitch's spruce-top Pono tenor uke. Details here. Link

Minor Constellations

Meet Dean Engle, a senior at Spackenkill High School (go, Spartans!), uke player and song writer. He has a CD release party tomorrow, November 16, 2008, 3-6 pm at Borders in Wappingers Falls, New York.

Nice stuff. Link

Friday, November 14, 2008

Just a Little PC

John Hodgman, aka "PC" from the Get a Mac campaign, and recent Guest Blogger on Ukulelia's big sister site, Boing Boing, plays Tonight You Belong to Me at a recent event promoting his book, More Information Than You Require. He's accompanied by Jonathan Coulton on guitar. Link

(via Uke Hunt)

Saucy Ukulele Girls

Yes, the holiday season is upon us and that crafty and alluring ukulele chanteuse, Shelley Rickey, says:"I've just opened an Etsy shop with handmade and vintage musical goods.
Most of them have a ukulele theme as you can tell by the name of the store 'The Jumping Flea Market'"


Monday, November 10, 2008

Peter Cree Ukulele

Jack Rickenbach pointed us to these photos of an art ukulele that he commissioned from artist Peter Cree. It's eye-popping in and of itself, but if you really want to blow your mind, check out more of Peter's work on his site. And here's the thing, Peter's technique and materials may actually improve the sound of the instrument:
"A great acoustic finish is thin and vibrates in harmony with the soundboard of the instrument. As an artist and musician, I brought image and sound together by working directly on the surface/skin of stringed instruments. Most refer to them as painted guitars or violins but I don't use paint, which would deaden the sound. More accurately, I use a pigmented nitrocellulose finish with an average thickness of 2 to 4 microns - often thinner than a factory finish. The result - my lacquered .instruments have uncompromised sound quality.

Before I started producing these innovative decorative finishes, acoustic players had limited choice of traditional unimaginative finishes - matte, gloss or sunburst. Now you can get art and a high performance finish that defies tradition and offers a gorgeous instrument with dynamic visual impact - plus excellent tone and volume."

Thanks, Jack!

Happy Days Are Here Again

Brian Lewis sez:
"With the win of Obama and its most appropriate relationship to FDR's first win in bad economic times in 1932, I would like to suggest that you post the best UKE tabs arrangement for the Democrat's Convention anthem of 1932: Happy Days Are Here Again!"
From the verse:
So long, sad times!
Go 'long, bad times!
We are rid of you at last.
Howdy, gay times.
Cloudy gray times,
You are now a thing of the past.
Well, except for the "gay times" part, they are Happy Days, indeed. Well, and the Depression bit. But thanks for the suggestion, Brian. Here's the music. And here's Annette Hanshaw!

Wassup? WASSUP!

SUPA's southern cousin, the Tacoma branch of the family. Link
(Don't miss the slide show.)

Friday, November 07, 2008

New CD from Greg Hawkes

Who better to do a CD of all Beatles tunes on Ukulele than Greg Hawkes (from the Cars) who has also actually accompanied Paul McCartney.

Multi-uke arrangements of some of the best. On sale now at Flea Market Music.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Uke is officially cool now....

...or so says Doug Bell, from the band Bellvue Cadillac, with Steven Somebody-or-other... (I think he looks like Liv Tyler.) Link.

Katahdin Studio Ukulele Cradles

John Kass from Lewiston, Maine is a high-end designer and builder of fine music room furniture. And maker of these lovely ukulele "cradles" -- arguably the "most elegant ukulele stands in the world." John's currently offering pre-holiday prices. Link

This will make the perfect stand for that Martin 5-K you're getting me. But a Stradele from fellow Mainer Joel Eckhaus would nestle nicely in one, too.

Ukulele Origins....

A new myspace site celebrating the cousin/mother/brother of ukuleles: the Cavaquinho.
Amadue writes:
Only to let you know of my new portuguese ukulele space at:


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Christmas is Coming

The goose is getting fat. Please put a penny in the old man's hat. And if you get me this delicious 5-K Martin, I'll fly to Grand Rapids and play for the folks at this pub in the building where the original owner lived. He paid $60 for it in 1927. About $750 in today's dollars. Not a bad little investment for Mr. MacKercher. Link

Learn Tabs at Tab-U-Learn

Roger Ruthen has set up a nice site devoted to uke tabs. The songs range from classical and folk to a few rags, but poke around. You'll probably find something that tickles your fancy. Good practice stuff for finger picking even if you find most of the tunes a bit square. Tabs are organized by Baritone, Tenor (low G), and Standard (Soprano) and by level of difficulty. Link

Ukulele Radio...

This just in from the effervescent Peter Hurney:
"It's time once again for another hour of unique ukulele music that you never knew existed. You won't hear Tiny Tim or much in the way of Hawaiian tunes during this show, what you'll hear is the little ukulele popping up in unexpected places and in rocking good songs!
That's this Thursday night November 6th at 11:59 on KALX 90.7FM in Berkeley. My guest co-hosts for this show will be Holly and Chris of the local San Francisco Uke-centric band Just Henry. Feel the pain!
For those of you not fortunate enough to be in our listening area Kalx streams live on the internet at:" Listen to KALX.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Everything's Perfect....

This is a video from Neal Paisley with Steve Wunderlich-guitar and Denny Wamser-bass. It's an original song. Dig it. Neal is playing his lovely National concert...

Uke the Vote!

Red State, Blue State.

Laid-back Hawaiian Tuning. Up-tight East Coast Tuning.


Get out today and Vote!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Kiwi Ukes!

New Zealand's answer to the pineapple uke. Made by Kala. Available at Elderly.

Which reminds us to let you know that the 2008 New Zealand Ukulele Festival will be held on November 22, 2008 at Mount Smart (how appropriate!) Stadium in Auckland. Link

All of which reminds us that we owe a big Thank You to Mike Dickison, information designer, illustrator, ornithologist, and uker for sending us a copy of his wonderful instruction book Kiwi Ukulele. In addition to being a refreshingly non-Hawaiian, non-Tin Pan Alley approach to the uke, it's peppered with Mike's thoughtful and precisely-rendered keyboard and fingering illustrations. Kinda like Cook's Illustrated for the uke. Paired with online strum sound files to help you find your groove, it's the best beginner book I've seen for anyone over the age of 14.

Highly recommended! Put it on your Christmas list now! Email Mike at the address on his site to find out about ordering.

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