Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Still Strumming: William H. Macy

It's been a while since we've checked in with stalwart uker William H. Macy. Nice to know he's still strumming. Link

h/t Marilyn!


Kamaka Brothers Receive Congressional Gold Medals

I'm a proud owner of a sweet 1970s Kamaka soprano, and couldn't be happier for the Kamaka brothers and their entire family on their having received this well-deserved honor. Link

h/t Marilyn!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Profile of Koaloha 'Ukulele

Nice feature from Hawai'i Magazine on one of the three legendary "Ks": Koaloha. (The others being Kamaka and Kanile'a, natch.) Link

Mahalo, Waven

Thursday, July 01, 2021

The Baseball Sheet Music Project

Attention Baseball Fans. This scholarly site has 175 mostly Tin Pan Alley period sheet music titles related to America's Pastime. Note: offensive racial stereotypes are present.

The Baseball Sheet Music Project

Friday, June 25, 2021

Comprehensive Look at Bass Ukuleles

This is a pretty thorough review and evaluation of bass ukuleles. Usually these kind of sites a just clickbait for affiliate links. And yeah, there are affiliate links, but the writers have done a solid job of compiling information that you'll find super useful if you're in the market for a bass. Which I really should be...

The Best Bass Ukulele | Beginner Guitar HQ

Jake Shimabukuro Named to the National Council on the Arts

President Biden has nominated Jake to serve as a member of the National Council on the Arts

"The National Council on the Arts advises the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, who also chairs the Council, on agency policies and programs. It reviews and makes recommendations to the Chairman on applications for grants, funding guidelines, and leadership initiatives."

Well deserved, Jake. What an honor! Link


Friday, May 07, 2021

Rev. Robert Jones' New Old Zimnicki Uke

I really need to tell you all the story of my Zimnicki Reclaimed Wood ukulele, built by Detroit-area luthier Gary Zimnicki. In the meantime, here's a video of Detroit's own Rev. Robert Jones, a noted blues artist and storyteller playing the sister to my uke. Enjoy, and do check out Gary's work


Sunday, April 04, 2021

Midnight Ukulele Disco Lives!

Back in the early days of the Third Wave there was Midnight Ukulele Disco. When the resurgence was gathering a head of steam, and when the ukulele was still a fringe instrument. Twenty-some (very) odd years ago Midnight Ukulele Disco introduced us to a new world of performers. Nice to see that the shows are archived on YouTube!

Midnight Ukulele Disco - YouTube

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

A New Find, From Oldsmar


My friend William asked me if this could be a photo of his dad playing the uke in 1920 at a picnic in Oldsmar, Florida. 

I said "It might be, but this is not your father's Oldsmar, Bill."

And in the truth-is-stranger-than-Gary's-humor category, it turns out Oldsmar was actually founded by auto magnate Ransom E. Olds. No word on whether REO played the uke himself. 

Here's the photo, from the State Library and Archives of Florida.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Four More Free Uke Tab Books from Uke Hunt

Have you run out of tunes whilst* sheltering in place?

Al Wood, impresario over at Uke Hunt, has released four more free ebooks.
  • Songs of the 60s
  • Gaming Theme Tunes
  • Beatles on Uke
  • US TV Themes

(Al is a Brit, so I used this as an opportunity to say "whilst." Heh.)

10 Year Old Writes Epic BLM Anthem

Meet ten-year-old Naima Nascimento. According to this article in Rolling Stone, Naima "wrote a song to help her process her feelings about the recent deaths of innocent black people. 

"Nascimento’s mom, Sequoia Chappellet-Volpini, posted the video of her daughter singing and playing a ukulele on Instagram and Facebook in June and the video has gained nearly 1 million views on Facebook alone."

Simple, but moving. Video at the link.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Cubby Doesn't Know Jake About Ukulele



As a kid growing up, Cubby O'Brien was my favorite Mouseketeer. He was a swell drummer and got to be paired with Karen all the time. Cubby's had a storied career as a professional percussionist, and here he is hanging out with Pismo. Cubby may not know who Jake Shimabukuro is, but he got to back up the Carpenters, so who cares?

Check out Pismo's video channel, too.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Laura Benanti, Broadway Uker

Broadway musical theatre star Laura Benanti has joined the advisory board of Ukulele Kids Club, a terrific non-profit that provides ukuleles to hospitalized children. Here's the story on Broadway World.

She's also has a UKC event coming up on August 1, 2020:

"On Saturday, August 1 at 6 PM EST, the latest Sunshine Concert will include Ms. Benanti and Ms. Epstein in discussion about the UKC and the #UKCBroadway program and announcing a special auction of a ukulele signed by Ms. Benanti. The Sunshine Concert series grew out of Ms. Benanti's wildly popular Sunshine Songs social media campaign as a way of sharing uplifting video performances with audiences that are more isolated and less active online, including seniors and hospitalized children. The Sunshine Concert on August 1 will be the sixth and final one of the current series."

Complete details of this and related events, here

In related news, Neal Chin, a wonderful ukulele teacher and player, will be holding an online workshop on Saturday August, 1, 202010:30 AM – 11:30 AM PDT. The workshop is free, with donations to Ukulele Kids Club welcome and appreciated. Here's a link to request tickets. Also, here's Neal's site.


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Bartine Burkett




Buster Keaton was a big ukulele player. Here, Buster's leading lady, Bartine Burkett, plays a sweet pre-1920 Style 3 Martin in the 1921 short, The High Sign. She's pretty good. I'm trying to see if I can guess what tune she's playing. Find the scene at about 16:40 in this video. 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Who is That Masked Uker?


None other than the Ukulele Lady herself, May Singhi Breen.

During World War II, May served as the national director of Air Raid Precautions (ARP) for the American Women's Voluntary Services.

Here, from Popular Science magazine in 1942, is May wearing an emergency gas mask she fashioned out of a rubber bathing cap, fly swatters, and a powder puff box. (There's more to it, but those are the novel parts.) 



Here's another image of May, in uniform, crafting the mask.




Remember: Wear your mask, and live to strum another day! Stay safe, friends.

 
Top 50 Ukulele Sites