Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Portland (OR) Ukefest

Marianne Brogan, founder of the Portland Ukulele Association, dropped us a note announcing the 2006 Portland Uke Fest, June 21-25, 2006. Link

Uke Casting Call

OK, how often will an opportunity like this come along?


NY Uke Fest presents 4 concert readings of the new musical comedy “Ukulele 2079” at NY Uke Fest April 27-30. Set in 2079, it follows three young musicians on their way to the top. Rehearsals April 24, 25, 26 in Manhattan. All must must play ukulele and sing.

If you know any uke-swinging actors or actresses in the NYC area, please tell them about this opportunity.

JULIE -- young woman who plays ukulele and sings, any ethnicity, the type of gal who’s fine toeing the corporate line, as long as she can twist her kinks on the side.
TAIS -- young woman who plays ukulele and sings, any ethnicity; a combo of insouciance and drive
MAX -- young man who sings and plays ukulele, any ethnicity; he’s in love with love and music.
PETE -- middle-aged, edgy character who plays ukulele and sings. He has a secret to share. any ethnicity

Auditions at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue (corner of 10th St), NY NY.

Saturday March 4, 2006 2pm - 5 pm. Be prepared to accompany yourself on uke or another stringed instruments, as you sing a song of 2 - 3 minutes length. Have other songs ready. Have a non-musical monologue of your choice of 1 - 3 minutes length

Chuckerbutty Ocarina Quartet

If you're looking to (heaven forbid!) give up the guilty pleasures of the ukulele for Lent, you might consider temporarily switching to the ocarina. Like the uke, the ocarina has a range of just over an octave, making it perfect to noodle your favorite uke tunes to.

All of this is said (with all due respect to our brother and sister ocarina players) with tongue firmly in cheek. I just needed an excuse to blog off topic to point you toward this amazing combo: the Chuckerbutty Ocarina Quartet. The Chuckerbutties are named after Anglo-Indian composer and organist Oliphant Chuckerbutty (1884-1960). One of the ringleaders is Michael Copley, who you might remember from the classic duo, the "Cambridge Buskers."

I'm thinking that their rendition of Offenbach's 'Can-Can' would make a perfect ringtone! Enjoy! Link

Ohta-San to be Honored

From the Star Bulletin:
"Herb 'Ohta-San' Ohta will be honored Saturday by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts as one of five recipients of this year's HARA Lifetime Achievement Awards."
Congratulations from your Ukulelia Ohana! Link:

Friday, February 24, 2006

Playing the Uke While Driving

Caution! Unendorsed behavior here. Check out this video of a uker playing "Something" while driving. (I can't play this well, even when I'm not driving!) Do not try this at home, er, in the car...

Columbia River Gorge Ukulele Association

Linda Grist D'Ville dropped us a line today:
"A new ukulele association has formed east of Portland, Oregon. The Columbia River Gorge Ukulele Association had its initial meeting on Sunday, February 12 at the Troutdale General Store in downtown Troutdale,Oregon. Meetings are hosted by Francis Doo, of Hawaiian Charm fame and Jim D'Ville, manager of the ukulele department at Artichoke Music in Portland. No experience needed. Come to play or just to listen. Great coffee and food available at the store. For more information contact Jim at 503-661-5099 or dville@teleport.com. Next meeting is Sunday, March 12, 3 to 4:30 pm. The group is already planning its first ukulele festival, The Columbia River Gorge Ukulele Festival will be held on Sunday, June 25, 2006 in Hood River, Oregon in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. Acts for the evening concert will include James Hill, Ralph Shaw, Caravan Gogh, Hapa-Hillbillies, Hawaiian Charm and the Westside 5th Grade Ukulele Band. More information to follow."
Gorgeous logo, natch. (Thanks, Linda!)


Well, I guess this blows my theory that all ukulele players are sweet, wonderful people. Link

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Lil' Rev in LA

SoCal ukers: Lil' Rev sez he's in LA this week for several gigs. Please do your part to give him a warm send off before he heads back to the "frozen tundra of Wisconsin." Here's a link to the schedule. Link

Monday, February 20, 2006

Jayme Kelly Curtis

My benchmate at Gryphon on Saturday (see post, below) was the charming and talented Jayme Kelly Curtis. Jayme is a singer/songwriter of the "metaphysical blues and folkloric jazz" variety, and is otherwise known as Miss Mona Lott in the Santa Cruz duo "Uke Be A Lady."

Why is Santa Cruz such an epicenter for the uke? Maybe it's caused by the Mystery Spot. Link

Lil' Rev

I had the distinct pleasure of attending a workshop with Lil' Rev on Saturday at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto. If you're looking for lessons that will take you from simply strumming the chords to reading tablature and more advanced strumming techniques, I highly recommend Lil' Rev's class.

He's also just written a beginner's instruction book that would make the perfect complement to a gift uke for a new player. What I like best about Lil' Rev's book is that it comes with a CD so you can hear what the various techniques are supposed to sound like. I spent years trying to figure out exactly what a "roll stroke" should really sound like. Now future generations of ukers will be spared! Link

I'd also like to send a big Aloha to everyone who attended the workshop with me. Welcome to Ukulelia. Poke around and enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2006

P&P Meet Perry

Michael Simmons pointed us to a wonderful video of Patience and Prudence singing "Tonight You Belong to Me" on Perry Como's TV show in 1956. My co-editor Mark is a huge Little Lulu fan, so I know he'll like the vintage Kleenex ad at the end (which ends all too soon!). Link (Thanks, Michael!)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

KoAloha Pineapple Sunday

List price $1,500. Pretty spendy, but I do have a birthday coming up sometime this year... Link

Al Dodge's Santo

The Fretboard journal has pix of Al Dodge's custom copy of a Jose do Espirito Santo concert. What a beauty. And if I'm putting 2 and 2 together correctly today, this would have been built by Mike DaSilva. I had the rare pleasure of actually holding an original Santo at Mike's several months ago, and he was in the process of studying its construction for Al. Stay tuned, because I believe this is only one of three different Santo replicas that Al and Mike will be building. Link

UPDATE: Michael Simmons over at the Fretboard Journal wrote to set us straight on Al's uke:

"Actually, Al Dodge made that Santo-style uke on his own, based on his own ideas. He's a pal of Mike DaSilva's, and used some of the tools in Mike's shop, but all of the design and execution is Al's own work. Mike has been experimenting with making a couple of Santo-style ukes, but his are sopranos while the one in the photos is a concert. Al is a skilled builder who has been making ukes for years under the Kaleponi label. (I own a Dodge-made Kaleponi concert, sort of a Martin-style, which is my main uke and one of the finest instruments I've ever played.) If anything, Al is the guy who suggested to Mike that he look to the older pre-1915 designs for inspiration and I suspect he arranged for Mike to get his hands on the Santo that you got to see at the workshop. The uke in my photos is an Al Dodge-made instrument, but it's quite likely that Al and Mike will collaborate on instruments in the future. I hope you can update your post to reflect all of this."
(Thanks, Michael!)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Sheet Music Consortium

Here is a link to the Sheet Music Consortium, an incredible resource that you absolutely must bookmark and support! It provides a one-stop search for several extensive online libraries of sheet music, some of which is available in digital format. I just poked around on the National Library of Australia site and lookie what I found. The complete sheet music (with intro!) for "Tonight You Belong to Me," everyone's favorite tune from "The Jerk." Oh, and this bizarre little ditty, "Masculine Women! Feminine Men!" (Which is the rooster? Which is the hen? Indeed!) Link

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Here's Ebby!

Charming article in the Dallas News about Ebby Halliday, the 94 year old "Queen Mum of Dallas Home Sales" and uke fan Warren Buffett's newest penpal.
"I didn't exactly expect a response, but I thought I might get one," she says. "The ukulele is all we share. I certainly don't have his billions."
The article includes a link to a video of Ebby strumming and singing her own version of "Happy Days Are Here Again."Link (free subscription required)

Uke'n Be My Valentine

Grab your uke and serenade your sweetie today! Romance guaranteed. Link

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Ultimate Ukulele Collection

Does Dave Pasant have the Ultimate Ukulele Collection? Take a look and see. 125+ beauties, old and new. Including the jaw-dropping Talsma Hoffner Uke, a tenor shaped like Sir Paul's bass. (Dave Talsma is working on a TOP SEEKRIT commissioned work for me, and I can tell you that I fell out of my chair when he emailed me hi-res pix of Dave Pasant's Hoffner uke the other day.)

If you tend to be the jealous type, I highly recommend that you never, ever click on this link. Link

Mad Tea Party

Meet Mad Tea Party, a "20th-century folk flavored with a dash of ragtime and bluegrass" band featuring Ami Worthen on uke. Here's link to a recent review of their latest CD. Link


Hats off to Howlin' Hobbit for setting up an exclusive wiki for ukuleles. It's a work in progress, and wikis are intended to be community/group projects, so help a Hobbit out and please contribute your knowledge! Link

Folk Uke's First Video

Check out Folk Uke's video of their song "S**t Makes the Flowers Grow." (Such language coming out of such petite snapdragons!) Also visit the Folk Uke site to learn about Cathy and Amy's upcoming Austin shows, including one benefitting Hurricane Katrina relief. Link to NSFW (language) Video

Ukulele Noir 10

Mark Occhionero has pix and reviews from last weekend's Ukulele Noir 10. (Shown at left is Greg Hawkes, former keyboard player for The Cars.) Mark's site has a wealth of information including tabs and demonstrations of how to use your uke to flirt! Well work poking around and bookmarking. Link
Top 50 Ukulele Sites