Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
"'I always thought it was such a nice sounding instrument and very portable, and I love that it was so popular in the '20s,' she said in a private interview before a public question-and-answer session. 'I thought it was such a nice sound that I didn't want it to lose its place in pop music today, so I just wanted to learn it. I'm not a great ukulele player, but I've played it a lot live.'"Link
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Here's a video of the event. And here's a Flickr set from the event. (Photo credit: Su-May)
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Bill "Rock That Uke" Roberston sez:
"I've been wanting Aaron "Ukulele Loki" Johnson of Denver, CO, to make music videos of his songs for ages. He's finally started doing it--to great success, I think. Aaron's music has this Brechtian cabaret quality to it. Fun and celebratory with an undercurrent of moodiness.
I learned about Aaron through my "Rock That Uke" promotional doings, but we only met face-to-face when the movie was screened at the Denver Uke Fest at Swallow Hill a couple of years back. I was surprised at how young he was, given his music. He's very funny, unbelievably energetic and, well, there's no other way to say this...cute as a button.
Ukulele Loki's Gadabout Orchestra is doing a West Coast tour soon. Check them out."
Indeed we will.
This from Graham Machlachlan:
"Blipalele is the house ukulele band of Blipfoto.com.
Lets know what you think."
I think it swings...
Monday, June 22, 2009
Jim D'Ville posted this terrific video of the inaugural performance of the Portland Ukulele Big Band. Sez Jim:
"James Hill presented a three-day workshop at this year's Portland Ukulele Festival entitled "Ukulele Big Band". James wrote a big band arrangement of Alexander's Ragtime Band and then taught the different "horn" parts to the class. On day three, the Portland Ukulele Big Band made its debut performance in the Student Union at Reed College. You had to be there! The sound was incredible. I can't wait until next year to hear The Portland Ukulele Bigger Band!"What a great concept. They really swing at the end. And a fun video, too. Many well-known ukulelists make appearances! Link
Update: I just got off the phone with Jim D'Ville. Jim filled me in on how this all came together. A jet-lagged, but indefatigable James Hill got up at 4:30 am Portland time (James came from Halifax) and cranked out the whole arrangement in seven or eight hours. You may know James as an amazing player, but as Jim pointed out, he's an equally passionate teacher. So his arrangement was written not only in layers, but broken down by skill level, so uke players of all skill levels could play in the band. Then, if you can believe it, everyone learned it in something less than four hours over three days. Incredible. And as D'Ville was quick to point out, the sound quality on the video does not do the performance justice. (He shot it in video mode on his still camera.)
What will James do next to top this arrangement? Why think small. I have just two things to say. Stan. Kenton.
All right, all you purveyors of ukuleledom who live in the Chicago area...Craig Robertson is bringing Ukulele Noir to the Legal Grounds Coffee House in lovely Maywood, IL. Parking is free and it will be a night of the darker side of the ukulele.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
"The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is to perform at the Proms. The audience have been invited to bring their ukuleles with them and play along. Members of the orchestra show what a ukulele should sound like and Matthew Reynolds, owner of the Duke of Uke specialist shop in Spitalfields, east London, discusses the appeal of the instrument."They're even providing online lessons! (Wot? "Not Available in Your Area" Bollocks!)
This just in from Tim Sweeney:
Lemme see now...Bette Midler+Vegas+rhinestones+flea=$3000. Somehow I have no problem believing that.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
This weekend Mary J. Martin hosted the annual ukulele remembrance for her sweet husband Frank, who passed away two years ago. We all also sang a song for the will-be-missed John Kavanagh.
In the photo, from left to right:
J-Boy, Tom Harker, Cecily Miller, Moose Karloff, Dana McCoy, Mary J. Martin, Craig Robertson, Jamie Scandal, Patsy Monteleone, Hot Time Harve and Reggie Wingnutz.
Pat Cashin posted another Jack Pepper video over on his Clown Alley blog today, and it reminded me that I'd been meaning to blog this one. Jack Pepper was once married to Ginger Rogers (they had an act called "Ginger and Pepper.") I guess he must have loved his uke more than Ginger. Nice pants. Link
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
I've blogged this before (sans video), but I really like I Like You. It's a catchy song originally done by the great Sol Ho'opi'i (original here). Janet Klein likes the song enough to have included in on two of her CDs, Come Into My Parlor and Put a Flavor to Love. Here's Geoff Davis with his uke arrangement, which you can find here, along with a slowed-down video for learning. Dav also did a transcription of Geoff's video version, which you'll find here.
Ah HOO, those-a big-a blue EYES!
Monday, June 08, 2009
"Full electric tenor (a'la Les Paul). Flame maple top, chambered mahogany
body, mahogany neck, Mi-Si pick-up with tone and volume controls...and boy does this one sound and play great."
Update: hear it in action, played by Gerald "Mr. Lucky" Ross.
When: July 11 & 12, 18 & 19
Where: Rick Turner/Renaissance Guitars workshop at 815 Almar, Santa Cruz
Time: 10:00 AM until about 5:00 PM each day, 45 minutes for lunch and glue drying
Cost: $400.00 which includes materials, strings, and fun
I'm planning on offering my "Build a Pineapple Ukulele in Four Days" on the weekends of July 11th and 12th, then 18th and 19th.. I’ll be accepting a maximum of seven students, with a minimum of five. This will be a uke-specific course building a "pineapple" style soprano uke with a Western red cedar top and mahogany back, sides, and neck.
To reserve a position, please send an email to email@example.com and one of us will get back to you with a confirmation. Phone in the office is 831-460-9144, please leave a message. If you can’t make it, please tell your friends, and I’ll keep you on an “interested” list.
The result is a great sounding instrument!
Al's version is presented in a more uke-friendly key than the original. I play it in the original key, and think it makes it easier to dampen the strings to get the rhythmic sound, but this verison has chords that pretty much anyone can learn in a few minutes, and so who knows, maybe might insprire yet another whippersnapper to pick up the uke.
Al has also graciously included diagrams for the Twiddly Bits so you can play the intro like a pro. Link
Sunday, June 07, 2009
Annie Bacon is an Oakland (CA) based musician. She picked up a uke back in December, and immediately wrote this song. The video was shot at the Redwood Valley steam trains at Tilden Park. Brings back a lot of memories. I think we should do a big meet-up and fill the train with uke players some day. Link
Saturday, June 06, 2009
"Lyle displays techniques and tips he's developed over a lifetime of performing. Learn how to play rips, parallels, bent notes, fills, falls, slides, slurs, rogue chords, and deceptive resolutions. Songs include: "Beautiful Dreamer", "Avalon", "Brahms' Lullaby", "Let Me Call You Sweetheart", "My Melancholy Baby", "Shine On Harvest Moon", and Lyle's own "Bb Blues In C". Also includes a PDF file providing the lyrics, melody line, and ukulele chord grids of the songs featured. Also includes an interview with Lyle by Jim Beloff, plus a bonus duet with daughter, Emily. 75 min."
Friday, June 05, 2009
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Continuing with today's Maker theme, here's Kathy Sparling from Dodge's Sundodgers with a chanty about tea towels. I like this comment from the post: "You are an angel sent from the heaven I don't believe in." Relax, fellas. She's taken.
Monday, June 01, 2009
Q: What is the least-asked question in the English language?Link
A: Is that the banjo player's Porsche?