Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ukulele Festival 2010 Photos

coleeninhawaii has a wonderful set of photos she shot at this year's festival in Waikiki. Link

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gratis Uke Versus Libre Uke

Jeff Yang has a nice piece today in the San Francisco Chronicle on the intersection of the ukulele and digital culture. Link

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ukulele Festival on PRI's The World

Nice little radio interview on performers and organizers of last weekend's Ukulele Festival in Waikiki. Link


Jen Kwok and some James Franco dude playing Jen's uke at 0:39. (Yea, Jen!) Link

Monday, July 19, 2010

Zooey's K-Wave

Zooey Deschanel rocks her K-Wave during the She & Him concert on Governor's Island NYC on July 4th.


(Photo by ChrisGoldNY under Creative Commons license)

Beware the Cthulkhelele!

Lovely and weird H.P. Lovecraft-inspired ukulele. (Here's the back.) Link

(via Boing Boing)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ukulele Class in Lamorinda

(My neighborhood is called Lamorinda. And the local music store is called Lamorinda Music. Not as noir as Ukuleletown, but as readers of this blog know, I'm yin to Craig's yang. Anyhoo...)

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.

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

Wine Country 'Ukulele Festival Friday Night Concert

This September's Wine Country Ukulele Festival will kick off with a Friday night concert at the Napa Valley Opera House featuring James Hill, Ralph Shaw, Del Ray, Kimo Hussey and Victoria Vox! Tickets go on sale Monday. Link

Chord Master!

Antoine Carolus has set up a site dedicated entirely to plastic ukuleles, with a special nod to Mario Maccaferri and his Chord Master automatic chording dingus:
"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

40th Annual Hawaii Ukulele Festival

The Grand-uncle of dem all. Legendary ukulele boosters Roy and Kathy Sakuma present the 40th (wow!) Ukulele Festival Hawaii Sunday, July 18, 2010 at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand in Waikiki.

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

Reston Ukulele Festival

Revolutionary Ukulele Armies nearing nation's capital. Bivouac in Reston, Virginia this Saturday, July 10, 2010. Patriots urged to bear ukes. Link

Looking for Love on All the Wrong Websites

Change the instrument in question to accordion and this story would be hella funny. Link

Monday, July 05, 2010

Down In Ukuleletown...

Down in Ukuleletown
Some nights
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
Of Ukuleletown.

Some lost owl hoots
And the music of the Toots
Bounces off the buildings
In Ukuleletown

An’ the night is still
‘cept when James Hill
Bounces notes off my head
In Ukuleletown.

Don’t need no money
Bosco and Honey
Are playin’ for free
In Ukuleletown.

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
Tumblin’ in
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

Kate Mickazoocci?

Picture this: Nazereth, PA. Home of the C.F. Martin & Co., makers of some of the finest ukuleles ever made. A world-renowned company arguably built on the back of the humble uke. 4th of July parade. The grand marshal is local girl made good and ukulele player Kate Micucci. And she leads a column of more than 400 instrumentalists all playing... Kazoos?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Smashing Pumpkins Triumph Over Ukulele Hecklers

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

Free Mp3 from Better Liar featuring Shiny and the Spoon...

..and, as the moon shines down on the tranquil waters of Boston Bay, I bid a fond farewell heart.
This is track number 6 on my newest CD "Better Liar". It features the swirling and ethereal harmonies of Amber and Jordan, otherwise known as Shiny and the Spoon. It's called "Narcissa".

CD available at Psychic Hamster Records

oh, yeah...PARENTAL WARNING (don't let your parents listen to this)


Check out the collections on display on UkuZoo, a kind of online menagerie of ukuleles. A number of collectors have posted multiple detail images of their instruments. As of today, there are almost 2,200 photos of 358 ukuleles, representing 105 brands. An amazing find! Link

Fashion, Passion and Ukuleles

I’m halfway through my second cup of coffee at Lil’s Diner and Louie walks in.

“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…?”

My turn to grunt. “Yeah, well, my stage persona isn’t too far removed from my real persona.” I grin and continue, “…so who’s playin’ at the Bar an’ Grill tonight?”

Louie leans in and says, “The Anything Goes Orchestra from across the Big Puddle.”

“Never heard of them” I say.“Well, you should have, they cover one of your songs on their new CD ‘Don’t Wait’” He sips, “cool band, you should come and hear them…”

“…don’t wait.”

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