Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tin Can Concert Ukulele

Aaron Keim is building ukes with tin cans for resonators. Above is a video of his first, a soprano. He currently has a concert-scale up for bid on ebay. It sounds pretty sweet, but you have to consider that it's Aaron playing it, too! Link

Friday, June 25, 2010

Kiwi Kids Konvene

Sounds like it would be a great time to be a ukulele merchant in New Zealand. Link

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

YouTube collaborative ukulele jam with Sophie Madeleine - Boing Boing

Over on big-sister site, BoingBoing... Link

top of the world...

The ever lovely Bliss Blood doing a Carpenter's song (!). I probably won't be doing this song anytime soon, but it works when Bliss does it...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Every Day is Father's Day With Baby

With Cliff Edwards, Jimmy Durante, and Rudy Vallee (and ethnic stereotyping).


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Morning in Ukuleletown

So I went out this morning. I generally don't like mornings. The light is too harsh and, y'know, bright? I'm headin' down the alley towards Carol's Coffee and I run into Louie walkin' his dog. The dog is a Boston Terrier named Asta. Louie tells me that I should make a point to stop down the Bar and Grill tonight because this guy named Sebi and some redhead from Scotland named Kelly are gonna be playin'. Louie says he heard them do the Script song "Man Who Can't Be Moved" and tears rolled down his face.
This means a lot 'cuz Louie usually only cries when the horse he bets on stumbles.

So I'm gonna go. Y'know.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another Theory about the Ukulele

It's a musical instrument, it's not a metaphor for stunted creativity or dissociated social consciousness, a proletariat plunk of defiance, a universalist auditory embrace, a simplistic but humble nod to the musical historical discourse, an unpretentious prop for thesbians, an inroad into the lair of the youtubey universe or, even, a metamusical emblem.

It's a musical instrument. make music on it. if you're not going to make music on it, go do something else.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Ukulele Theory of Writing

Kate Holmquist, writing in The Irish Times, draws a thoughtful and refreshing parallel between the act of writing and ukulele playing. My favorite quote:
For the Irish, writing is the ukulele of choice.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Julia Nunes at Bonnaroo

Julia Nunes is performing at Bonnaroo this year. You can catch her performance on NPR.
Julia Nunes' presence at Bonnaroo was brought about by a series of YouTube videos featuring her covers of popular songs on a ukulele. Her repertoire ranges from "Mr. Brightside" to "Jesus Walks" and "Build Me Up Buttercup," all tailored to fit the sweet strum of her instrument. She recently released an EP of original songs titled I Think You Know, accompanied by lo-fi music videos recorded in her bedroom. Hear Nunes perform live from the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tenn.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Victoria Vox on Good Day Wisconsin

Victoria was on Good Day Wisconsin last week to promote the release of her third CD, Exact Change. The album features the guys from Boulder Acoustic Society. Link

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Perry Botkin Dean of Orchestral Guitarists–and Ukers

Gerald Ross turned up this gem.
I've always wondered who played the incidental music on the Beverly Hillbillies TV show. Not the Bluegrass theme song - that was Flatt and Scruggs. Everyone knows that.

But the "bubbly electric guitar" background music you heard when Ellie Mae descended the staircase in a sequined gown. Or when they sh...owed the Commerce Bank of Beverly Hills.

It was Perry Botkin. Botkin had a long career in music - most notibly as Bing Crosby's musical director.

Monster guitarist and uke player.

Now I can finish learning the Ellie Mae tune.

Ellie's tune starts at 3:04. But watch the whole clip, it's very cool.
Some superb ukulele playing, too. Don't miss Ain't She Sweet. And check out the discussion over on the Fleamarket Music Bulletin Board.

Also courtesy of Gerald, here's Perry uking with Ozzie Nelson from an Ozzie and Harriet episode. Yep, that Harry Owens hosting the luau. (You'll find some more Harry Owens and His Royal Hawaiians here.)

Finally, you'll find a recording of Perry Botkin's signature Ukey-Uke on Jim Beloff's Paradise Lost & Found CD. Jim just posted "Ukey Ukulele" in the Jukebox section under Jim Beloff songs and recordings. Sez Jim:
On this version the uke and drums are played by Abe Lagrimas Jr. and bass by Randy Wong. It's very much inspired by the original recording by Perry.
Mahalo, Gerald!

Ian Whitcomb and his Bungalow Boys @ Cicada Club

It's been a while since we've heard from Ian Whitcomb. We just received a notice via Facebook that he and the Bungalow Boys will be headlining at Maxwell DeMille's Cicada Club on June 20 in LA. Grab your spats and go! Link

Bang Bang Humanwine

This is the band Humanwine doing the song "Bang Bang." Holly Brewer on ukulele. Killer version.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Gratuitous "Glee" Season Finale Post

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Some guy played the ukulele on the season finale of some show the other night. Now everyone is buzzing about it. Call me jaded, but Iz (sic) Somewhere Over the Rainbow now to the ukulele what Stairway to Heaven was to hack dorm room guitar players in the 70s? (So much so that I recall guitar shops during the day posting notices prohibiting its playing.)

But there is a redeeming aspect to the story. At least the producers had the good sense and taste to feature a Kamaka (which they borrowed, then liked so much they bought it).

Here's a news segment from KHON in Honolulu featuring Chris Kamaka. And a gratuitous clip of some guy from some show... Link

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Cleveland Ukes!

Here's a blog published by the Cleveland Jumping Flea Ukulele Group. Too bad they're not the Cleveland Heights Ukulele Group. Then they could be CHUG*. Link

*Or better yet: the Cleveland Based Great Big and Original Musical Flea Ukulele Group.

All U900 Need is Love

Stop-motion animated amigurumi ukers U900 will be releasing a CD of Beatles Covers July 21, 2010. (I presume this is the US release it already appears on Amazon.jp.) I hope they do Helter Skelter. Here's a trailer.

Mark on Colbert Report Tonight

Ukulelia founder Mark Frauenfelder will be on The Colbert Report tonight (June 8, 2010) to chat about his latest book, Made by Hand. Link

Hard to Swallow

When the Swallows Come Back to Vellano Country Club just doesn't have the same ring, does it? Link

Listen to the Ink Spots' version.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Lil' Rev at SF Free Folk Festival

Lil' Rev will present a workshop on Jewish Folk Songs, then take the main stage for a Jewkulele set at this weekend's San Francisco Free Folk Festival (June 12 & 13, 2010). Link

Friday, June 04, 2010

The Mighty Uke on NPR

Susan Stamberg did a piece this morning on the ukulele's comeback. (I thought NPR was more progressive than that! Get with it guys!) Link

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

2010 World Cup Anthem

Shelley Rickey pointed us to this video produced by the Dulwich Ukulele Club of their "football ditty" and entry into the contest to select the anthem for the 2010 World Cup. Love it.

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