Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Naked Clown Calendar (With Ukey Goodness)

My sister got me the 2009 Naked Clown Calendar for Xmas. I had bookmarked an article about it a few months back, and now have a moment to note it. The calendar is a project of the San Francisco's Clown Conservatory's class of 2008. It's a fundraiser in honor of noted Pickle Family Circus clown and circus educator, Judy Finelli.
"The Judy Finelli Fund advocates cures and treatments of MS, promotes artistic expression through circus arts and enables those affected by MS to pursue their passions. 100% of the net profits from the sale of each calendar goes to the Judy Finelli Fund."
I guarantee you that if clowns scare you, this calendar will not disappoint. But buy a copy anyway. The cause is just. And August features a uke.


Last Dumb Question of 2008

Here comes the jackpot question in advance: What are you doing New Year's, New Year's Eve? Link

(Thanks, Mark "JazzUkes" Occhionero!)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Back in Business

Dear Readers,

We've been having trouble publishing the blog over the holidays, so sorry for the silence. Hope you got everything your little ukey hearts desired for Xmas. Me, I'm still waiting for that last package. Must be stuck in the mail somewhere.

While we were attempting to unclog the series of tubes that is Ukulelia, we missed wishing a Happy Birthday to Jim Beloff on the 25th. But thankfully we're back in time to wish Bill Tapia a very happy 101st on January 1. A Very Happy One-Oh-One, Tappy!

Drop, Baby. Drop!

Join Sonic Uke for the 5th Annual New Year's Eve Ukulele Drop. Ted sez:
"Music, dancing in the streets, and the count down to the New Year! Bring your uke!"


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Blame It On A Ukulele ~ 1933

Here's Cliff Edwards in a bizzare fantasy flashback number from Take a Chance. Check out Cliffie's uke-canoe. Nice. A young Vivian Vance was in the chorus. Buddy DeSylva did the story. Link

Friday, December 26, 2008

Number 16. Not Bad.

As of 8:50 AM EST on Christmas day, "ukulele chords" was Google's 16th most popular search string. As Uke Jackson noted over on the Flea Market Music Bulletin Board, "I guess a few folks got ukuleles under the tree." Link

Headstock Art by Amy Crehore

Meanwhile, over on Ukulelia's Big Sister Blog, Boing Boing... Link

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Warren Buffett to Strum at the Inauguration

In this video, Quincy Jones sez that Warren Buffett will play his uke for the Obama inauguration celebration. If he plays his Dairy Queen uke, my life will be complete. Link

99 Cent Ukulele

All you need is a $199 iPhone or $229 iPod Touch and 99 cents more will get you PocketGuitar (which comes with a ukulele option). Link

Here's a video review

Monday, December 22, 2008

Uke 'An Play Rock

I used to think that there was no uke book that I couldn't recommend. But here's one. I just flipped through Uke 'An Play Rock at my local music store. I suppose that the contents of this book may lure some teen into playing the uke. (That's great.) There's some Green Day (American Idiot) and Plain White Ts (Hey There Delilah). But honestly, mostly 2- or 3-chord stuff that is super easy to find on the web already. (Meh.)

What's really missing is a CD. I think pairing music books with CDs is about the most important step forward for music education in the last 50 years. I know how to read tabs, but sometimes I play through them and just can't find the groove. A good example is the tab arrangement of Misirlou in Jumpin Jim's Beach Party. I've worked on it for hours. Left it and came back to it agin. And I'm still clueless. A few years ago when the book came out, I mentioned to Jim Beloff that it would be great to have a recording to learn from. Jim agreed, but told me that the costs to buy the rights were really prohibitive.

Anyway, I think that young players would find this particular book to have charts that interest them, but would be totally frustrated in trying to hear them, especially since any uke transcription of a guitar lick is going to sound wrong at first.

I'll admit that I was halfway tempted to buy it anyway. It has a uke arrangement of Randy Newman's You Can Leave Your Hat On (I'd love an entire Randy Newman ukulele songbook!) and Mason Williams's Classical Gas. Still...

If you have a copy and like it, drop a note in the comments, below.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

So You've Just Got Your First Ukulele

Al Wood has written an ebook to help new uke owners get a jumpstart on their path to 4-String Paradise.

If you got some lucky person a ukulele for Christmas, this would be the perfect thing to tuck into their stocking.

If you're a lucky person who received a uke from an incredibly intelligent, good-looking, and thoughtful person, grab your own copy.

Contents include:
  1. Five Things to Know
  2. Five Chords to Learn
  3. Five Songs to Play
  4. Five Websites to Visit (wot, no Ukulelia?)
  5. Five Things to Get Free
  6. Five Things to Buy
  7. Five Videos to Watch
  8. Five YouTube Channels to Subscribe to
Al is officially on the naughty list for not including Ukulelia on his list of Five Websites to Visit. But since you're already here, it's small beer. Still, snub Al by refusing to click on this link. That'll teach him.

Get your copy of So You've Just Got Your First Ukulele here.

(Via Uke "Still the Number One Uke Site and Rubbing it In" Hunt!)

(Seriously, love ya, Al.)

Bushman World Ukulele Contest: Ending Soon!

Just a few days left to submit your entry for the 2008 Bushman World Ukulele Video Contest. Complete deets on this page.

Get strumming!

Ballard C Boyd Christmas Music

Writer-director-uker Ballard C. Boyd has released his 4th Annual (how did we miss the other 3?) Christmas album. What could make the holidays brighter? They're all free, that's what. Ballard also gets our vote for best holiday uke graphic. If somebody could actually make a light bulb like that, I'd buy it! Link

Also, read Al Wood's interview with Ballard over on Uke Hunt.

Workshop ukulele with concert in Belgium

Hilde Frateur from Belgium writes:
Hello, in Belgium we organise a workshop playing ukulele with Peter Van Eyck, one of the best uke players! He gives you a nice start with your uke( if you have none, he brings with) and at 20:30 he gives a uke concert with Luc Tegenbos/ HET UKULOGISCH MUSEUM. Please put this info on your bloc, thanks! to take also a look at the programme and contact us for good ukulele-groups.
The Poster

in photo: Hilde, Peter and Chris Lomme

Friday, December 19, 2008


Your Mele Kalikimaka Luau will be pau without this new CD from King Kukulele & The Friki Tikis.
Luau in December contains seven holiday originals and seven obscure holiday covers. Featured as guests on Luau In December are 100 year old Bill "Tappy" Tapia singing and playing ukulele, Hawaiian singer Joe Moe whose solo CD "Mainland" is currently in release, Ms. Laura Thatcher direct from the stages of Disneyland USA, Ali Lexa on ukulele and the Elf-ettes singing the theme song to the film "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians".
Buy from CD Baby or order directly from the King, His-Elf.

(Thanks, Otto!)

Free Ukulele When You Pay for 3 Lessons

If you live in the East Bay area of San Francisco and are looking for a great present, check out my posting on craigslist. I have a limited quantity of really decent Lanikai sopranos. Free with the purchase of 3 half-hour lessons! Such a deal. And it'd be nice to meet you! Here's the ad.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

12 Days Of Christmas Hawaiian Style

Another site to add to the Ukulelia Holiday Songbook. A must add, for this song alone:
"Numba one day of Christmas,
D7 G
My tutu gave to me
G C G D7 G
One maina bird in one papaya tree"

Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele

Okay, this guy is either incredibly popular already, or has many magpies Tweeting about him. In any event: Ladies and Gentlemen, live from Taylor, Mississippi (pop. 288 + 1 uke player), Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

SpongeBob & High School Musical Ukes

How Bowers was doing a little scouting for Santa when he spied a surprisingly decent looking Spongebob Squarepants uke at Toys "R" Us. How sez the fretboard is plastic and the tuners look halfway decent. Looks F.U.N. Link

(Thanks, How!)

Which reminds us that we ran across a Disney High School Musical uke the other day. It's made by Washburn, so shouldn't be horrible. It's pretty cute, too. And it's concert size. Available (maybe) at Toys "R" Us (you can find 'em on eBay, too). Link

Monday, December 15, 2008

How to Play Ukuleles for Peace

We wrote about an amazing and worthy organization, Ukuleles for Peace, earlier this year.

It's a charity based in Israel that teaches ukulele to Jewish and Palestinian kids and brings them together in a ukulele orchestra. It's a simple and effective way of creating links and friendships between the two communities - links that grow beyond the orchestra itself.

Al Wood (aka Woodshed) of Uke Hunt dropped us a note announcing that he's spearheaded the development of a major new ebook, sales of which will go to support Ukuleles for Peace:
"In the past year, they've been short of funds and struggled to set up a new orchestra. To help them out, I've got together with a host of ukulele tabbers (including James Hill, Dominator and Mark Kailana Nelson) to put together an ebook packed with great tabs for the benefit of UfP."
You can find out more, listen to MP3s of some of the tabs and buy it here. It's only $15, which is highly reasonable for a quality uke book these days, and all proceeds will go to Ukuleles for Peace.

The ebook features arrangements and tabs of 16 pieces from the internet ukulele community's best tabbers. In addition to those already mentioned, the contributors include Brian Hefferan, Ken Middleton, Wilfried Welti and Woodshed. All tabs come with an MP3 including an exclusive MP3 from James Hill.

Ukulelia readers can also help support the cause by writing about Ukuleles for Peace and the ebook on blogs, forums, MySpace, Facebook or anywhere else you can get people to listen.


Ukulelia Holiday Songbook - 2008 Edition

Here it is at last. The Motherlode. The Big One. Enough Christmas, Hanukkah, and miscellaneous holiday music to choke a reindeer. Chords, lyrics, chord arrangements, solo fingerpicking, you name it. Lots of new links this year, and I've just verified or updated all the old links. We hope you enjoy playing and sharing your uke with friends and family this holiday season.

And please, if you know of any sites or charts that we've overlooked, drop Gary a note and we'll add them to the list.

The Ukulelia Holiday Songbook

(With special thanks this year to Al Wood for the new contemporary arrangements and to Jerrold Connors for the header graphic from his Ukulele Boogaloo site. And apologies to Craig, for whom all this ho-ho-ho nonesense makes the brim of his grinchy fedora curl.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Iz's 'Ukulele On Exhibit

His Supreme Royal Majesty, Tiki King, tipped us off to this. We sat on the story until we could verify that the communication was indeed from the Big Fez himself. These days, you can never be too careful.

Bruddah Iz's Kamaka 'ukulele will be on display at the new Grammy Museum in LA for the next two years. Link

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dodge's Sundodgers at DaSilva's

On Saturday, December 20, 2008, Dodge's Sundodgers will perform from 3-5 pm at the DaSilva Ukulele Company in Berkeley, CA. Wonder if they should change their name to the Solsticedodgers for the occasion...

Shown here, sans Sundodgers, is Al Dodge with his hands full, as usual. (Nice shoes, Al.)


Kabu's new EP

Patsy Monteleone says:
"I'm posting this for my pal, Khabu, who is offering a free 7-song "EP" of music he has recently written and recorded. Just go to, click on the Khabu'Ukulele link on the home page, and follow the instructions for the download. There's also a brief bio of this enigmatic and talented jazz musician. I hope you enjoy it!"

Eddie Vedder/Pearl Jam - Can't Keep

So we're poking around over on Uke Hunt today, seeing what new Christmas chart Al's posted and found ourselves drawn into this post featuring a video of Eddie Vedder playing Can't Keep.

Al's post has the tab, so if you're looking for Eddie Vedder tabs, here's your starting point.

Also, we learned that Eddie plays a custom tenor Tululele, made by Joel Eckhaus (shown here). We also noticed that Joel made some lucky Oakland A's fan a custom Tululele. (Note to the lucky fan: if you read Ukulelia, drop Gary a note. Maybe we can meet up and play for the Seventh Inning Stretch next season!)


Monday, December 08, 2008

sweetafton23's My Hope

Her name is Molly, although that's about all we know. Except her stuff is really sweet. Oh, and she hopes you forget your MySpace password.

How I hope that you forget your MySpace
I hope it slips completely from your mind
And I hope it stays up long enough for the next generation to find
And I hope that it embarrasses your children
I hope their bratty friends all forward it around
And I hope that you forget your password
So you cannot take it down

A Mo' Bettah Stocking Stuffer

I think we've mentioned Kani Ka Pila Klips before, but wanted to mention them again for a couple of reasons. First, because they'd make a welcome stocking stuffer for any uke player on your gift list. (Ask Julie!) And second, because we just noticed that the maker is producing perfectly-sized song cards that fit snugly into the Klip. The Kani Ka Pila Kards are available individually; buy three or more and the price drops. Link

French cookin'

Yow! Here's a video of the French group "Old Blind Mole Orchestra" in concert with Steve (Stelele) on vocals and ukulele. This band sizzles.
Get it

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Jake Shimabukuro Chopsticks

Could this be this years de rigueur stocking stuffer? Emblazoned with "Peace Love & Ukulele". Link

How to Play Christmas Ukulele

Now would be a good time to check out Al Wood's e-book, How to Play Christmas Ukulele.
"There usually comes a point on Christmas afternoon -- particularly if you got a new uke -- when one relative, usually the one who spent most of the rest of the year complaining about your incessant strumming, will pipe up and say, "Play something Christmas-y, then."

So, while everyone else is sat around nursing swollen bellies, you have to get up and perform. What are you going to play?

In this ebook you get a dozen tabs of well known Christmas tunes. I've kept the arrangements as simple as I could in the hope that it will still be possible to knock them out in that woozy, slightly tipsy Christmas afternoon state.

The tunes are arranged for re-entrant ukulele in a number of different styles: strumming, classical fingerpicking, Hawaiian fingerpicking. There should be a few that suit your own style of playing.

You'll get a zip file containing arrangements of all these tunes in tablature and standard notation, a pdf file containing performance notes on each tune and mp3s of all songs."
It's not free (it's $9 (cheap)), but considering everything else that Al offers free via his super deluxe Uke Hunt site, buying a copy would be a nice way to get your Xmas on while supporting a major contributor to the uke world.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ukulele Player Magazine....

...and it's FREE.
Mickey Maguire of Tricorn Publications in Ohio (and a songwriter and ukulele player himself) has published a new magazine for ukulele enthusiasts "Ukulele Player". It is available in PDF format from here.
...and it's FREE.
Interviews, informative articles, club listings, etc....

...and it's FREE.
(did I say that already?)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dan Zanes Fiesta Flea

Check out this little cutie. All-family musician Dan Zanes is offering another limited-edition custom Flea ukulele this year. Shown here is the Fiesta Flea. Sez Dan:
"If you want a stringed instrument in your life I recommend a ukulele, and if you want a ukulele I recommend a flea. My band and I travel with them everywhere we go. Fleas are fantastic sounding instruments and extremely sturdy (often a plus when music hungry children are around). Are you thinking of expanding the sound of your family band? The ukulele is a perfect instrument! It's simple enough to be learned by very young people as well as adults and the musical possibilities are endless. The ukulele is the keeper of proud traditions as well as the ideal 21st century social instrument. People who play ukuleles tend to be the hit at parties."

The uke comes with the Dan Zanes 6 Flea Songs for Spontaneous Singalongs songbook, and other goodies. Only 100 will be made, and last year's Limon edition sold out quickly. (Santa Baby, slip a Dan Zanes Fiesta Flea under the tree, for me...) Link

UOGB Holiday CD

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain has a new Holiday CD out. ( Or should we say "the Orchestra...have"?)
"The Season's Greetings have a complex palimpsest of meanings and references. The Mass of Christ and the Celebration of Mammon. Jolly wholesome Western secular songs and strange Northern European folk melodies. Mindless pop and holy piety. Santa Claus, a Toby Jug, a turkey, a pine tree, a solstice, a renewal and gift giving. Sit back with a glass of something cheering and enjoy this album as a backdrop to your festivities, the ukulele soundtrack to a traditional xmas with all it's contradictions. Merry Christmas from the UOGB. Wotcher (What Cheer!)."

Monday, December 01, 2008

FinRaucous in the Shed

Clearly, the ukulele is the instrument tailor made for The Shed. Here's Glaswegian Sheddie FinRaucous with his uke-and-tea-chest version of Love Machine. Link

Sita Sings the Blues Soundtrack

We've written before about the wonderful animated film by Nina Paley, Sita Sings the Blues, which features recordings of Annette Hanshaw. Checking back in on Sita, we found to our dismay that we missed the San Francisco showing (rats!) but that music collector Matthew Lanoue has graciously posted all the Hanshaw tunes from the film for download.
  • Am I Blue?
  • Daddy Won't You Please Come Home?
  • I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling
  • Moanin' Low
  • Mean to Me
  • What Wouldn't I Do For That Man?
  • If You Want the Rainbow (You Must Have the Rain)
  • Who's That Knocking at My Door?
To pay it forward, we've scoured all our known resources and have posted links to all the sheet music with uke arrangements for the tunes that we can find. We came up completely blank on a couple tunes, and found only lyrics for others. If you know where we can find the missing charts, drop us a line via the links at the top of the page or post in the comments.

That's All! Link
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