Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscars Wrap-up

In case you need more Oscars coverage, click on over to The Fretboard Journal for a look at some memorable uke moments in film. Link

(Thanks, Michael Simmons!)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Good News from Christchurch

We are happy to report that our good friend and author/illustrator of the most excellent Kiwi Ukulele, Mike Dickison, is doing fine after the recent earthquake in New Zealand. Both Mike and his ukuleles came through unscratched, and water and power was recently restored. He's hinted that he may be doing some fundraising work in the near future, so stay tuned. We'll report more as we hear more.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Say Aloha to My Little Friend


First a T-shirt. Now this. Brilliant.

An Open Letter to Stephen Fry

Molly Lewis wrote this plaintive song in which she offers to do humanity--and Stephen Fry--a huge favor. Link

After you've watched the above video, check out this video of Molly serenading Mr. Fry himself at a ceremony during which he received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism from Harvard on February 22, 2011. (Begins at the 3:00 mark).

(Yet another h/t to Woodshed)

UPDATE: Here's a higher quality video of Molly's performance: Link

Me or Uke Blues - Dominator with Lil' Rev

Having this much fun on the uke should be illegal. Link

Orquestra Caracteristica Madeirense, 1890

Roberto Moniz, a contemporary Madeiran musician and blogger, has posted this photograph of Madeiran musicians from 1890. That's 11 years after the Ravenscrag arrived in Hawaii. Wonder if news of the machete/ukulele's popularity had reached these guys. If so, I bet a couple of them regret not getting on the ship. Also wonder if any of them eventually ended up in Hawaii ... Link

(Thanks to TW for the chronological correction.)

Uke Hunt: Madeiran Music Special

Woodshed has put together a spectacular post featuring a collection of videos from Madeira. Because you know your ukulele history, you know that the uke derives from the Madeiran machete. Enjoy this other branch of the family. (h/t to Woodshed). Link

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ukin', Banana Republic Style

Tikimeister and Head of Ukulelia Expeditionary Forces Col. Otto Von Stroheim reported in from the field that he had spotted this image from Banana Republic's spring campaign "Journey in Style." Today, Otto sent us a hastily captured picture from a San Francisco bus shelter. Battling with wild buses and dodging rushing pedestrians, Otto completed his mission, later apologizing for the quality of his snap (no apology necessary, OVS), noting that
" can see a lovely new Banana Republic ad featuring a uke and a common companion - a beautiful girl."
The Ukulelia Research Department was immediately on the job, turning up the higher resolution image displayed here. (Observant readers will note that the model was captured while playing the modern ukulele classic Elephant Town.) Research was also able to locate this video from the BR campaign. The video contains only fleeting images of the elusive uke, but enjoy the scenery, nonetheless.

That's a G, as in Garbo

Greta Garbo displaying her unique method of playing a G chord. (via The Silent Movie Blog, with a h/t to Amy Crehore!)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lil' Rev at Gryphon Stringed Instruments

Lil' Rev will be at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto, CA this Saturday, February 19 at 11am. If you haven't taken a class with Marc, I highly recommend it. (Sadly, I have to miss it!)

Here are details from Lil' Rev's site.
And more details from Gryphon.

Buy Eric Clapton's Ukulele

Part of an auction of items from the collection of Eric Clapton at Bonhams. This 1995 Lewis Fine Resophonic Uke features an alder body, maple neck, and mother-of-toilet-seat pickguard. It was built by Mike Lewis and given to Eric Clapton when Clapton bought a Tricone Guitar in Paris in 1995.

Perfect for playing "The Intro and the Outro":
And over there, Eric Clapton on ukulele. Hi, Eric!
If it goes for the estimated $300 - $500 it'll be a steal. (New, they're about $1,200). Link

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I'll See You in My Dreams

Okay, Ron Hale, I'll see your Lady Gaga and raise you an Isham Jones and Gus Kahn. Here's Michael Lande's multi-plex version of I'll See You in My Dreams.

Gary Responds to the Ron Hale Challenge

Ron Hale recently thew down the gauntlet and challenged me to find a better video from 2010 than Danielle Ate the Sandwich's version of Bad Romance (see post below). While I'm working to prove to Ron that I am not a "mere poseur," here is one of my greatest video discoveries of all time. I've updated the links so they're live again (as of today). You'll find it here, at my 2007 post, Ukulele at the Dawn of the Talkies. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


With JoJo Lazar and Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys (Photo by David Aquilina)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Danielle Ate the Sandwich: Bad Romance

Here's Danielle Anderson, backed by some of the boys from Boulder Acoustic Society doing some Lady Gaga that won't make you Gag. (Thanks, Ron Hale!)

Uke Jam at Lamorinda Music

Gary will be hosting another uke jam at Lamorinda Music in Lafayette, CA, Saturday, February 12 from 2-4. See you there!

Ukuleles and Yo-Yos?

Really? Really.

"Sunday, Feb. 13 at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton (Mass), a series of successful ukulele and Yo-Yo performers are putting on what sounds like a unique and entertaining show that will be filled with surprises.

Jim and Liz Beloff, Greg Hawkes, Tripping Lily, Ruth Ungar and Joel Eckhaus are the scheduled ukulele performers."

Tickets and more info here. Link to related article.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Phi Mu Washboard Band

Ladies and gentlemen: The Phi Mu Washboard Band. Just Because. Link

Patsy Montelone's 100 Songs Project

Patsy Montelone is strumming and singing his way through 100 songs. All will be posted online for listening and download.
"Most tunes I record and post here will be from the so-called 'Great American Songbook,' works by Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, and other less-well-known song writers of the Tin Pan Alley jazz-pop genre."

As of this morning, he's up to Number 15, "Waltz for Debby." Link

Monday, February 07, 2011

Hawaiian Music at the Grammys

An interesting essay from The New York Times on the uneasy relationship between the Hawaiian music community and the Grammys. With music producer and ukulele ace Daniel Ho stuck in the middle. Link
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