Friday, December 31, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Okay, okay, it's Tiny Tim. But Herbert was nothing if not a walking Tin Pan Alley encyclopedia. Here's his version of the Al Lewis/Al Sherman classic Livin' in the Sunlight-Lovin' in the Moonlight. It's a fun tune, and features a chord I don't think I've ever run across: an F74♮3 (4310). You'll find a Paul Whiteman recording here and the sheet music here. (And a real swell version here.)
Friday, December 03, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
On Christmas Day,
On Christmas Day...
From Mighty Uke's Facebook page:
"The holiday season is once again upon us, the perfect time to share some ukulele cheer. And what better way to get your friends and family to pick up a uke and join the global strum-along than to give them the uplifting and inspiring story of the MIGHTY UKE. From now until Christmas Eve, if you buy any two items from mightyukemovie.com you will receive a MIGHTY UKE DVD free. But wait! That’s not all! Every purchaser of any DVD, Blu-ray, t-shirt or poster from our website will be automatically entered in a raffle to win one of three MIGHTY UKE Kala Concert Ukuleles to be given away on Christmas Day."Link
Sunday, November 28, 2010
The ukuleles are constructed from an Utterly Butterly spread tub, fishing line strings, a piece of wood with screw eyes for tuning pegs.
Here's a great photo gallery from a recent fundraising event in Cardiff, Wales in support of the BBC Children in Need program.
The folks behind the Utterly Butterly brand seem to be pretty cool. For several years, they even had their own formation wing-walking team!
Here's TUBUP's site.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Tonight at Mike DaSilva's in Berkeley, CA, there will be a release party. Sez Kathy:
I'm extra excited to be playing with a full band, including John Hanes on drums and Patrick Main on piano, along with the always wonderful Steven Strauss and Kurt Stevenson.
Saturday, November 20th, 8:00pm-10:00pm
DaSilva Ukulele Co.
2547 8th Street, Suite 28
Berkeley, CA 94710
$20 at the door includes music, drinks and other festive refreshments
Steven Strauss and Kurt Stevenson will kick things off with selections from their songbook of diverse popular melodies of bygone days.
I hope to see you there!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Hadn't seen this video of Bill Tapia before. Here he's playing (after a brief bit of I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby) his classic arrangement of Stars and Stripes Forever / Sweethearts on Parade. You can hear a wire recording of Tappy ripping this up in 1936 (!) on his debut CD Tropical Swing. Link
Saturday, November 13, 2010
8pm: Craig Robertson
9pm: Marni Rice
10pm: Al Duvall
11pm: Evanescent with Bliss Blood & Al Street
Friday, November 12, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
French ukers have had a great local blog to follow for some time: Ukulele.fr, formerly King David Ukulele Station. Here's a new one (for us at least). It's called Ukulele Boudoir.
I particularly like their idea of publishing a monthly ukulele "pin up" computer desktop calendar. This month it's Craig Robertson's dream girl, the Le Domino.
Tons of great stuff. Poke around. Link
Saturday, November 06, 2010
My friend Paula Wirth recently did the cover art for Megan Lynch's debut album, Songs the Brothers Warner Taught Me, a collection of tunes featured in vintage Warner Brothers cartoons. Today, Paula alerted me to Megan's ukulele rendition of the song Porky Pig plunks out at the beginning of the Daffy Duck classic "Drip-Along Daffy." Which finally gives me an excuse to give a plug for Megan's CD, which features Cheap Suit Serenaders Robert Armstrong and Tony Marcus. You can buy it here, and on several other sites listed here. And don't miss Paula's cover art.
Friday, November 05, 2010
Not really, but it has been a while since we've heard from the Ukulele Bard of Delaware. Uke has a new book out, and is taking it on the road to see if he can get any bites from the public.
"Broadway Vampire tells the story of a vampire named Gus who produces Broadway musicals. Jackson drew on his own experience seeing his work produced for the stage in Manhattan and beyond. Sex! Drugs! and Ukuleles! — a musical for which he wrote both book and lyrics — was produced in 2008. His other plays include Monster Time, The Secret Warhol Rituals and Avenue Z Afternoon, which was produced for network TV, starring Anne Meara and Lou Diamond Phillips."At his readings, Jackson will perform songs from the novel--on the uke, natch.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Hula Dreams is a triennial exhibition of hand painted ukuleles at Gallery East, 21 Burnie Street, Clovelly, Sydney, Australia. The exhibition features hand painted ukuleles by over fifty artists who are invited by curator, Carol Ruff (aka Coral Reef), to paint or make a ukulele in any way that moves their creative spirit.
"Curator and Gallery East owner Carol Ruff said inventiveness and humour were key features of the Hula Dreams exhibition.The current show runs November 5th to the 21st. Link to images from earlier shows here. Interview with Ruff here.
“There is a clock uke where time goes backwards, desert scenes, birds, The Beatles and a Leonard Cohen uke,” Ruff said."
Friday, October 29, 2010
Happy Halloween, y'all.
Ashville, NC's resident ukulele goddess Ami Worthen was kind enough to send us a copy of Mad Tea Party's latest 7" vinyl and second Halloween-y tune, Rock 'n' Roll Ghoul. (It's a follow-up to last year's fab Zombie Boogie.) You can buy your copy here. The $10 price includes a digital download (so you can have it today for your party this weekend!).
"The EP offers up 4 spooky selections for your rockin’ Halloween party. “Possessed,” a 60s-tinged psychedelic number, features Worthen’s wicked vocals and a demonic guitar solo from Mr. Cartwright. The furious screamer “Rock ‘n’ Roll Ghoul” expounds upon the theme of flesh-eating music critics while drivin’ rocker “Dr. Phibes” is an ode to the popular Vincent Price villain. The duo close with the Hollywood Flames’ song “Frankenstein’s Den” with Cartwright on drum kit and Caroline Pond (Snake Oil Medicine Show) joining Worthen on doo-wop vocals."Here's an interview with Amy and Jason: Link
And here's the video of the title track.Poke around the Mad Tea Party site. Lots of ghoul, er, cool stuff to check out.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
"I just like the ukulele for its lack of rock associations. And I love the fact that you can bring it on a plane."
Here's an interview with John Hockenberry. Link
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
"'I found a really sick ukulele in a novelty shop with a metal top,' she says, in her almost comically caustic Bronx-Sicilian drawl. 'I tuned it to a chord and played it with a knife like the old guys did. I'm not fantastic – but I'm not fantastic at anything, except singing. And I don't really give a damn. I just love doing it. It's like the trombone. I make the dog jump when I play that.'"Played it with a knife? Link
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
There is something wonderfully satisfying about seeing the tuner screen turn green when you're in tune. I regret not having gotten one sooner. Monkey simple to use, and works for both C- and D-tuning. Highly recommended! Link
It's Mistletoe Mazel Tov, a new CD of ukulele holiday favorites from Ukulelia pal, Gerald Ross.
Gerald calls this a "collection of holiday instrumental classics arranged for ukulele and steel guitar." He was kind enough to send us a reviewer's copy and we've been rockin' around the Christmas tree here for several days. My favorite so far is his arrangement of the achingly bittersweet Christmas Time is Here from "A Charlie Brown Christmas".
You can order the CD from Gerald's site for only $18.95 and he'll also send you any disk in the Gerald Ross Catalog as a bonus - free of charge. (If you don't have Ukulele Stomp -- and you should -- now's your chance.) Plus free shipping anywhere in the USA. Such a deal!
But wait, there's more. At our humble, but brilliant suggestion, Gerald has posted the chords for his arrangement of Go Tell it on the Mountain online here.
Here's the link to Gerald's online store. Get your copy today and give it a sov.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
UPDATE: Woodshed located a video. Looks like it was an Ovation mandolin. Woodshed = Killjoy. (Kidding. Thanks, Al.)
Ingrid Michaelson has been known, at least for the past few years, as pop music’s primary ukulele practitioner.Link
But, she laments, the group Train’s recent hit “Hey, Soul Sister” has quietly co-opted her status.
“Yeah, I heard that song and I was like, ‘Oh well, there goes that,’” Michaelson, 30, says with a laugh. “What I did is ... now stamped on that song forever, that very, very catchy song that will never go out of our brains.”
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Turns out that Leslie commissioned Danny to make one of his gourd ukes for her husband (lucky man, he). She blogged about it today, and her post includes more info and photos of their construction.
Danny Ferrington is scheduled to appear on The Today Show on Tuesday, October 19th (we presume to showcase his ukes). If so, we'll try and post a clip. We're anxious to hear how they sound.
And just to be clear, we believe that a luthier has a right to obtain whatever price they can for their work. By all accounts, Danny is an amazing luthier. (Our beef was primarily with Needless Markup's hack copywriting job.) But I do hope in this case that Danny gets the lion's share of the $6,000 price tag. Link
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Jake Shimabukuro will release a new CD in January, 2011. "Peace Love Ukulele" will feature Jake's original songs 143 (the numeric pager code for "I love you") and his tribute to World War II veterans, Go For Broke. The album's only two solo ukulele arrangements are Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Here is Jake performing the latter in a clip from a upcoming documentary film scheduled for release sometime in 2011. Link
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
But mainly this uke is $6,000 because it's in Needless Markup's Christmas Catalog.
The accompanying catalog blub sez that Ferrington "purposefully stays low-tech (no computers or Internet)". Apparently, so does Neiman Marcus's copywriter, who blithely asserts that the ukulele was "created in the Hawaiian islands by Micronesian immigrants in the 1870s".
Maybe "Madeiran" isn't in his/er spellcheck. Or maybe fact-checking is just so...déclassé. Link
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
NPR again picked up the story this morning. Link
Friday, September 24, 2010
UPDATE: Here's a story from KQED's California Report today. Link
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
"...a charming new documentary called Mighty Uke, directed by Tony Coleman and produced by Margaret Meagher. It’s a cheerful chronicle of the ukulele’s history and remarkable comeback that spans the globe."
Monday, September 20, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Friday, September 03, 2010
Things must have been pretty dull around the University of Kentucky in the late 50s and early 60s. The first photo is from a Lambda Chi Alpha mixer in 1957. Of course, this photo could have been staged for parents and alumni. And as soon as the photographer left they broke out the bourbon and Elvis records.
The second is from 1962, and shows a group of young Kentucky gentlemen ignoring a lone uke player. If my suspicion about these shots being staged is correct, this was snapped just before the strippers from Covington arrived.
"I figured that because it (the print) was about a period of time when people made their own music as a matter of course, I gave it to a number of live music venues in the Northern Territory," he said.Then, of course, there's Chips's shirt. Link
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Here's Brett Domino and Steven Peavis performing a super-geeky Justin Timberlake medley. It's kind of Kraftwerk meets Sid Laverents. (Brett and Steven also have an equally mod version of Lady Gaga's Bad Romance. But the uke only plays a supporting role--literally.)
Thursday, August 12, 2010
So the other day Dr. Nelson mentions that he has a vivid memory of Martin Mull playing the blues on a slide ukulele with a baby bottle back in the '70s. Here, then, is the happy by-product of Dr. Nelson's not having destroyed too many brain cells at Santa Cruz and the series of tubes that is the internets. Woot!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Monday, August 02, 2010
Sunday, August 01, 2010
Tiki Oasis 10
Aug 19 - 22, 2010
Otto sez that although the Friday and Saturday event is sold out, Sunday August 22nd is free and open to the public. Best of all is the uke jam in the Tiki atrium near the waterfalls at 1pm Sunday! Plus 70 vendors of tiki-licious merch, including His Fezztastic Majesty, Tiki King. More info on the Tiki Oasis site.
(Photo of Tana the Tatattoed Lady from Tiki Oasis 9)
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I've arranged with the good folks at Lamorinda music to lead an informal ukulele class this Saturday at their store. If you'll be in the East Bay area this Saturday, call the store and reserve a slot. I hear that at least 13 people have signed up so far. Hope to see you there!
"Interested in learning the ukulele while playing some popular songs? Come join us Saturday, July 17th at 3PM for a great ukulele class for beginners or those wishing to brush up their skills. We will be learning together while getting introduced to some of the most popular music out there featuring the ukulele: Hey, Soul Sister by Train, I'm Yours by Jason Mraz, and even Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's rendition of Over the Rainbow.Link
No experience required. Just come join us and have fun making music. How much? The class is free (though donations are accepted.) Don't have a ukulele? No problem! For a $5 deposit/rental fee we can loan you one for the duration of the lesson. If you like it, we'll even apply the $5 toward the purchase of the ukulele. Call the store or drop by to sign up."
Monday, July 12, 2010
"As a one-buck option to the Islander®, the Visual Chord Master® is a beautifully modern designed automatic chording device, allowing the beginner to charm his dulcinea in a button click. Fixed on the neck with two rubber bands, the Chord Master® is able to perform six chords : C, C7, F, G7, A7 and B7 with a standard C tuning. It seems however that the Islander® was supposed to be tuned in ADF#B, since the Chord Master® buttons are named D7, B7, G on the first row, and D, A7, E7 on the second."Antoine's site features a Chord Master Simulator which you can use to plunk out a whole raft of specially arranged tabs.
Loads of trivia, historical info and reference images. Go Styro!
Thursday, July 08, 2010
One of these days I'm going to make it to this festival. If you're from the Bay Area and you're going, pick me up a festival T-shirt (size large) and I'll reimburse you plus treat you to the caffeinated beverage of your choice. Link
Monday, July 05, 2010
Down in Ukuleletown
You can’t see no sights
There’s just dim lights
And the bright sounds
Swirling round and round
Down in Ukuleletown
An’ you can learn to dance
To the Re-entrants
So cool you freeze
To the Bobby McGees
But I’m just walkin’ around
Listening to the sound
Some lost owl hoots
And the music of the Toots
Bounces off the buildings
An’ the night is still
‘cept when James Hill
Bounces notes off my head
Don’t need no money
Bosco and Honey
Are playin’ for free
Telephone poles march
In a line down the street
While Patsy and Arch
Keep a steady back beat
They’re slappin’ their strings
And tappin’ their feet
Down in Ukuleletown.
Some cosmic wind
Blows across the moon
Again and again
You can hear a tune
From Shiny and the Spoon
Down in Ukuleletown.
The time is wrong
Cause all the clocks
Keep beat to the song
From the Uke Box
Down in Ukuleletown
An’ nobody knows
Where the music comes from
Or where it goes
Down in Ukuleletown.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
Friday, July 02, 2010
Add Billy Corgan to your list of uke rockers. And uke heros. Corgan planned to play a solo ukulele version of Love is the Sweetest Thing, but it was cut short when hecklers interrupted him. So he cut the set short. Their loss. Link
oh, yeah...PARENTAL WARNING (don't let your parents listen to this)
“You’re up awfully early.” I comment as he sits down on the chrome-and-red-leather barstool next to me.
He just grunts as Lil pours him a cup of coffee. I don’t say nothin’, cause Louie generally will talk when he talks, and won’t when he won’t.
Finally, after a couple of sips of the black coffee, Louie says, “How come you always dress nice when you perform? Dames?”
“Naw” I say, “ I guess it’s part of the persona. Every performer, sooner or later, inhabits a stage persona.”
“But,” Louie points out, nodding at my attire, “You seem to dress that way all the time…?”
Louie leans in and says, “The Anything Goes Orchestra from across the Big Puddle.”