Saturday, March 26, 2011

NoCal Ukulele Festival April 3

After a year hiatus, the Ukulele Festival of Northern California returns, this year at a new venue.

It's primarily a Hawaiian music event, but ukulele players of all stripes will find kindred spirits there. Al Dodge and Robert Armstrong usually make the scene, as do the Sundodgers and assorted camp followers. (That would include yours truly.)
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Chabot College Performing Arts Center
25555 Hesperian Blvd.
Hayward, CA 94545
10am to 5:30pm
Ukulele Festival Site

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gary's Uke Jams Make the News

I've been leading informal ukulele classes at Lamorinda Music for several months now. Local reporter Janice De Jesus has written a nice piece in the Contra Costa Times today. (This is the first time that I've turned up in my own news feed. Woot!)

And in case you're curious, my old Ringling roommate with the uke is Michael Goudeau, and Tuba Heatherton taught me my first song ("I Like Bananas").


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Eddie Vedder: Ukulele Songs CD

Eddie has a new CD scheduled for release on May 31st. It's reported to be titled Ukulele Songs. Vedder has released a video of one of the tracks, "You're True," and you can listen to two more tracks from the CD ("Longing to Belong" and "Satellite") here.

Do the Funky Pidgin

Meet Family Dinner:
"Chew on this: equal parts hip-hop, Latin, and ska, with crunchy bits of ukulele and country twang, stewed to perfection in a broth of straight funk. You’re now listening to Family Dinner.

Original core members Joel Spiral (lead vocals and ukulele), Reggie Padilla (piano and saxophone), and Alfredo Rivera (tenor saxophone) actually met at a family dinner. They almost immediately recognized each other’s passion for music and had started a band by the time the dessert plates were being scraped clean."
Check out tracks from their new self-titled CD release here. "No Ack" features ukulele front and center. Honolulu Magazine has a nice feature article about the band in its March Issue.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Here's an oldie but goodie that you can use to busk for free green beer on the 17th. Play it really well, and you can trade up for Guinness.

The sheet music for O'Brien is Tryin' to Learn to Talk Hawaiian is here. You can listen to a 1916 Edison Recording at the UCSB Cylinder Preservation page here.

Chords and lyrics come courtesy of Brian Hefferan, who you can hear perform his inimitable version here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Short Happy Life of George Formby

George Formby died 50 years ago this month, only 71 days after his domineering wife, Beryl, gave him the best Christmas present of his life by dying the previous December 25th.

Frigid. Domineering. Self-centered. Director Monty Banks seems to have summed her up nicely when he noted:
‘The only time you’ll get me directing anything where that f*****g Formby woman is concerned will be when she is playing the murder victim and the scene is for real.’

Monday, March 14, 2011

Outpour of Support from Hawaii to Japan

Kudos to Jake Shimabukuro for holding a charity concert on the beach at Waikiki to benefit the Japan relief effort. Maybe you or your ukulele club could do the same. Link

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Stairway to Heaven

When I was in my late teens to early twenties, playing Stairway to Heaven in a guitar store was guaranteed to result in a swift invitation to vacate the premises. Now Curt Sheller provides an opportunity for ukulelists to learn the quick way to the door. For low-G ukes.

(Kidding. Thanks, Curt!)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Uke Jam at Lamorinda Music

I'll be leading a Uke Jam at Lamorinda Music in Lafayette, CA Saturday, March 12 from 2-4. We focus on newbie skills from 2-3 and beginner to intermediate stuff in from 2-4. Hope to see you there. Link

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Aloha, Kahauanu Lake

Hawaiian mele and ukulele master Kahauanu Lake died last Sunday at the age of 79. John Berger has a nice tribute here in the Star-Advertiser. Here's an earlier profile of Uncle K, also by Berger.

Uncle K was a man of many accomplishments, and will be remembered by many as the composer (with Mary Kawena Pukui) of Pua Lililehua for his wife Ma'iki.

"The lililehua is the red sage brush flower (salvia coccinea). It is also the name of the wind and rain in Palolo Valley, and the name of a maiden who resided in the valley that was courted by a mo`o." Link

An excellent and simple ukulele arrangement of Pua Lililehua was recently tabbed and posted by Al Wood on Uke Hunt. You'll want to also watch this video of John King performing his version, which has been tabbed by whetu and posted on the Ukulele Underground forum.

Mahalo and aloha, Kahauana Lake.
Ha`ina mai ka puana

E ka pua lili lehua

A he `ipo ho`ohenoheno

E ho`ohihi ai no ka mana`o

This story is told for you

O sage blossom

A cherished sweetheart

That attracts the mind
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