Wednesday, July 29, 2009
What do you think might drive it into a full-blown mania? President Obama strumming in the Oval Office? Leave your thoughts at the teeny little comment link, below. Link
Most interesting fact: Ray Bernard (shown here with Mr. H.) sold George the ukulele that Paul McCartney now plays in tribute during his concerts.
Greatest lesson: be like George; keep a ukulele in every room and always travel with two, just in case someone else fancies playing. Link
Monday, July 27, 2009
If I had to sum up what Bob taught me, it's how powerful and versatile the uke is. The only way I can describe it is that my uke now feels like a Sawzall in my hands. And I'm out looking for stuff to rip!
There's still room in the August 1 and 2 workshops. Don't miss it! More info here.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Only two quibbles, first no mention of Ukulelia. (C'mon, we're "The World's Greatest Ukulele Weblog." Sez so, right up there on top of the page.) Secondly, the article states that "Internet has been stoking the craze for nearly two years." Well, check out the Archives Links at the bottom of the page. That'd be more like 8 years! (Thank you very much.)
What is cool is that the article ran in the Business Section. Which you could take as a sign of a slow news year, or the legitimacy and value of the ukulele economy. Link
Friday, July 24, 2009
"The recovery of the Apollo 11 astronauts had been successful. All three were now safely inside the MQF (Manned Quarantine Facility) aboard the great USS Hornet. It was well into the evening when, after too much coffee in the officer's ward room, I decided to head back down to the hangar bay where the two MQF's (NASA always has a back-up or three) were sitting. The one in use was attached by a translucent plastic sheet tunnel to the command module, so that the crew and the two NASA technicians spending the three-week quarantine period in the trailer with them could transit back and forth and de-activate the space craft without exposing all those terrible moon germs to the rest of us. (Of course, there were no germs and the process was dropped after just three moon missions, including the abortive Apollo 13. By Apollo 14 the trailers were history.)Don Blair's Neil Armstrong Photo on the Rock That Uke site.
"With my Canon F1 around my neck and loaded with Kodak hi-speed Tri-X black-and-white film, I walked up to the occupied MQF. The only other human being on that deck was a young Marine guard alongside the end window on the trailer. A braided rope ringed the trailer on brass pipe stands...just like in theaters, restaurants, etc. The message was clear: approach no closer.
"So I moved up and pushed my zoom lens to a point where the picture window at the living room end of the AirStream was obliterated, leaving only its occupant standing there....with that ukulele in his hand. How many people can even spell ukulele much less play one? I never could find out what he might have been playing, and I'm sure even Neil wouldn't remember.
"I fired off three quick shots, turned, and walked away. I looked back seconds later and Neil was no longer there. Photo Op....it came and went and I had the only picture of that incident--and without flash. The ceiling lights diffused, and I still think they look like halos over the head of a man who had just come as close to a heaven as any man or woman ever might."
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The Ukulele Cruise 2010 sails for Mexico January 24-31, 2010. Fares were just reduced, too!
Sounds like a wonderful time. (If you see me on deck, act like you don't know me...) Home
Jon Prown has a YouTube channel that is worth checking out. What caught my attention is this Stephen Foster medley, played on a tenor uke tuned re-entrant FCEA. It's an alternative tuning that really makes My Old Kentucky Home and Oh, Susannah sing. I guess you could consider this a kind of slack key. Kentucky Slack Key, even. Link
First off, Jim has just released Play Ukulele By Ear, the DVD. It's a 52-minute condensation of Jim's workshop of the same title. Topics covered include Tuning By Ear, The C Scale, Chord Progressions, Intervals, and more. Sez Jim, "this DVD doesn't just teach you a few songs, it teaches you how every song works and how to train your ears to hear what the music is doing."
Cost is $20 plus shipping payable by check or PayPal. Contact Jim by email for ordering information.
He was recently featured in a nice little piece on Oregon Art Beat, which you can watch here.
Lastly, Jim and his bandmates in Caravan Gogh have written a paean to me. Well, bloggers, anyway. Thanks guys...I guess...
Time: 10am to 10pm
631 N. 19th Street (in the Redeemer Luthern Church) Just off of Wisconsin Ave
Cost: $20 for the evening concert (7pm)
Workshop and Concert (Full Day Pass) $60.00"
Complete info here.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
The perfect instrument for accompanying Octopus's Garden. Check out this version, if only for what happens in the lower left hand corner of the video about :20 in.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
"Ukuhooley, The Irish Ukulele Club, is proud to present the first Irish International Ukulele Festival. The main event will take place in the Meeting House Square in Dublin's Temple Bar area on the Sunday 16th of August."Link
This songwriter comes to Ukuleletown by way of the American heartland; Chicago. His YouTube handle is "Seeso" and, besides all the wonderful originals, he does duets and covers for days. The above song, "Thank You For Leaving Me" is a brain worm...if you watch it, you will be humming it all day.
Check him out!
Seeso's YouTube Channel
Friday, July 17, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
This just in from Arch Larizza in Melbourne, Australia:
"My old grade school pal, Rocco Fazzari is a cartoonist for The Sydney Morning Herald. He's been doing this for years but recently, has started doing clay animation and he asked me if I would like to contribute some music.
I did a little noodling on uke and bass which Rocco used for his 'Settling Old Scores' animation, here:
See Obama suck at bowling while playing the ukulele!
We'll be doing more stuff together - I'll stick to using ukulele and bass as they seem to be a good fit for these little clips - and will let you know as they're done."
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
It's 2am and I'm camped out on a barstool in Louie's Bar and Grill. I'm drinkin' Rye Whiskey neat tonight. No chaser, no ice. Louie is behind the bar and tellin' me how crowded the place is during the day; why, he's had to hire an extra cook and waitress to keep up.
Great, I say.
Yeah, Louie continues, and a lot of the new people are from far away --
Great, I say.
Louie asks me what was the "Second Wave"?
Arthur Godfrey, I say.
Louie asks me what was the "First Wave"?
Roy Smeck, I say.
So who's the "Third Wave"? Louie asks.
Jake and Iz, I say.
Louie laughs. Sounds like a kid's cartoon show. Then he goes back to polishing glasses behind the bar. Everybody's movin' into Ukuleletown from all over, he says. Everybody has a ukulele and a webcam.
He tells me to drink up, he's gotta close soon. Gotta get up and bake croissants for the lunch crowd.
Great, I say.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
One of my mystical magical searches turned up the cartoon that I blogged below, and given the number of times that the uke turned up in the cartoonist's panels, I figured he'd also be an enthusiast. So having some vague recollection of having seen his stuff before, I clicked on over to his site, creebobby.com.
Meet Jacob Borshard, cartoonist, and uker. His music is really wonderful. Sweet. Geeky. Here's the song that goes along with the cartoon panel I blogged: it's called There Was a Moon, from his CD A Glow in the Dark.
And it turns out that Mark blogged about him a while ago. I hadn't made the connection. I do now. Be sure to check out his MySpace and YouTube pages, too.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Monday, July 06, 2009
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Air New Zealand shot an in-flight safety video and a TV commercial featuring crew members wearing nothing but body. The background track is Under My Skin by Gin Wigmore, and features John Butler on ukulele. Link
(Here's their YouTube Channel, too. With bloopers.)
Friday, July 03, 2009
What the uke?
And don't get me started on the fact that she apparently doesn't know how to tune it. And plays it with a pick...
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
"I learned a lot about uke-teaching during the last session, and also after teaching uke for a week (!) at George Kahumoku’s camp on Maui.Four dates to choose from: Saturday, July 25, Sunday, July 26, Saturday, August 1, 2009, and Sunday, August 2, 2009. Link
I intend to make these classes mostly covering new material, and not a repeat of the last session. We are going to narrow the musical focus and spend more time on particular concepts. There will, of course, be some review of strums, and chord shapes. We will focus more on a handful of particular songs, including blues in a few keys, and simple swing era tunes. We will also examine very closely all the possibilities found in the first seven frets in the keys of C and G. I plan to have people playing songs and using these ideas by the end of the sessions. At this point, all four sessions will be in this new format, unless there is a large demand for something else, like Hawaiian and/or calypso..."