Monday, March 31, 2008

Ukulele Sighting, Oscar Style

Finally caught this year's Oscar winner for Best Original Score, Atonement. There's a memorable bar scene with British soldiers belting out "Bless 'Em All," led by uke player Paul Harper.
"Paul, who plays a sergeant in the British Expeditionary Force, said that Joe Wright, the director of the film was impressed with how much he knew about the 1940s and even asked him for his advice on what song the cast should sing in the cinema scene.
"Paul said: "He came up to me and asked me if I'd like to have a singing part in the scene set in a French bar. When I accepted, he asked me what song I thought we should all sing.

"I suggested Bless Them All, but not the normal version - the army version which is a lot ruder! Joe Wright agreed and then I was miked-up and put on set."

New York Mayor Hearts Uke

Everybody is trying to get into the act! Now it's Hizzoner Michael R. Bloomberg. Link

New York(er) Hearts Uke

Even The New Yorker has noticed the resurgence of interest in our favorite instrument. This week's issue's Night Life section lists both the New York Uke Fest and Ukulele Caravan.

Craig's new(est) CD...

"Houdini's Perspective", my third CD is available now.

More dark and magical stuff from the murky recesses of my mind.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rock That Uke Rocks

We'd like to send out a big Ukulelia "Mahalo" to William Preston Robertson for sending us a copy of his landmark documentary Rock That Uke. It's terrific! And no self-respecting uke lover should be without his or her own copy. Available in fine stores everywhere, and online via Amazon, Elderly, Lark in the Morning, and Fleamarket Music.

Now if I could just get Holly Hunter to narrate my documentary...

(Thanks, Bill!)

Sex! Drugs! & Ukuleles!

Well, reviews have been mixed, but we presume that ukefans will give two thumbs up to Uke Jackson's Sex! Drugs! & Ukuleles! at Theater for the New City. Runs thru the end of the NY Ukefest.

Start Spreading the News...

The NY Ukefest 2008 is this upcoming weekend, April 3 - 6, 2008. Uke Jackson got a nice plug in the NY Times. Link

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

So what's in the box??? Magic and ukuleles!

Perhaps I can get Jason Escape to escape from the tiny metal box he uses to introduce this act….

All the way from Holland, this is your chance to see Marko van der Horst & Shelley Rickey, known as Uke Box in America. More precisely, at the Ukulele Noir on April 5th at Shirley Mass. This show is part of the Ukulele Caravan.

Uke Box is an eccentric little act comprised of nostalgic tunes and off-beat theatrics. Besides Ukuleles they also use and abuse a Banjolele, a Child Prodigy Midget Accordion, a Washtub Bass and a Toy Piano.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Irish Ukulele Tabs

Happy St. Pakelika Day! Here are some uke tabs for the day, courtesy of Uke Hunt.

Remember: don't drink and strum.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Wartime Casualty

Here is a bit of unexpected news from Anita Coyoli-Cullen:
Hello friends and supporters of Ukes for Troops;

I want to thank everyone for their support of Ukes for Troops, but the time has come to bring an end to this wonderful charity.

I find that I am unable to handle Ukes for Troops alone, and realize that God has other plans for me.

Effective July 1, 2008 Ukes for Troops will no longer be in operation.
I am currently not accepting any more donations and will use the remainder of my funds to finish filling the requests I have for ukuleles.

I will continue to support the military, my church, and the world of ukulele in whatever way I can.

Thank you,

Anita Coyoli-Cullen
Homefront America-Ukes for Troops
Program Director
16651 Island Circle #2
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Without a doubt, the War has lasted longer than anyone would have wanted. It's a shame to see that it has lasted longer than Anita's resources. It was a wonderful program, and I know that it lightened the burden for our men and women in harm's way.

Mahalo nui loa, Anita.

Crafty Cartman Ukes Out

A clever crocheter has crafted an uke-clutching Cartman. Who knew he played? Link

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Kani Ka Pila Klip

Here's something we haven't seen before: an 'ukulele "lyre." The Kani Ka Pila Klip attaches to the headstock of your 'uke and holds your music. Link

Ukulele Underground

Aldrine Guerrero has a nice instructional site set up at Ukulele Underground. Lots of resources, videos, and news. Link

Ukulele Caravan

Craig nonchalantly tossed off a reference to the Ukulele Caravan in his last post (below). The Eastern Fretboard is his haunt, but this looks so cool, I think everyone should know about it ASAP. It sounds like a uke-fueled progressive cocktail party: a "roving band of ukulele players" working their way up from Lambertville, NY to Old Cape Cod with gigs at 7 venues over 4 days. And a merry bunch of ukesters it is! Link

Friday, March 14, 2008

New ukulele Bliss

Bliss Blood (of the Moonlighters) just received a new ukulele from Berkley California luthier Peter Hurney of Pohaku Ukuleles.
(You can see Bliss Blood, her new ukulele and Peter Hurney in Shirley Mass. on April 5th at the Ukulele Noir there. Part of the Ukulele Caravan)

A Visit To Loprinzi’s

While I was in Florida recently, John King, Nancy Eaton and I paid a visit to the workshop of Augustino Loprinzi and his daughter Donna (who actually builds all the ukuleles!) Great stuff. I highly recommend them.

In fact, I think they are so great that I am going to tell you she will be at the NYUkeFest in April showing off some of them…check them out. (then come up to Shirley Mass for the Ukulele Noir at Bull Run...)


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Stephin Merritt "This Little Ukulele"

Stephin Merritt has been eschewing the ukulele a bit of late (he's been playing the bouzouki in recent performances). Maybe he feels he's becoming overly associated with the uke. He strikes me as being deliberately resistant to categorization, so perhaps he felt he was becoming overly associated with the uke. Frankly, I don't believe he cares what anyone thinks. The recent cries that he's "sold out" by lending his talents to one or two recent TV commercials don't seem to affect him in the least.

Merritt has a new CD out (Distortion). Here is an interview with Faith Salle on Fair Game.

And here he is performing "This Little Ukulele". If you want to skip the interview (don't), the performance begins about 6 minutes in. Merritt plays an 8-string (thanks, HH) Mele Concert. (Aha! this explains the unique timbre.) "This little ukulele tells the truth." Indeed. Link

(h/t: Uke Hunt)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

TED & Nellie

Ukulelia Publisher Mark Frauenfelder and Ukulelia pal Dr. Steve Nelson were both at the TED conference this year. Mark had to leave early and so missed Ukulele Songbird Nellie McKay. Dr. Nelson caught her performance and sez:
"Nellie seemed a little nervous because she was in the first session on Saturday morning, and like They Might Be Giants last year, wasn't used to that time of day. The audience seemed tentative in its response to her humor ­ probably a combination of time of day and not having an preconception that she was a humorist. I think she felt she was flopping, but after figuring her out, the audience warmed up, and she ended up with a TED standing ovation. She came back (on uke) with Thomas Dolby's house band and Kaki King for a finale of 'We'll Meet Again'."

If ever get the chance to go to TED, do it. It's worth the Gazillion Dollars they charge. (Photo of Nellie McKay by Steve Jurvetson, under Creative Commons license. Link)

NoCal `Ukulele Festival

Mark your calendar for the Northern California Ukulele Festival in Hayward, CA, Sunday, Aprile 27, 2008! See you there! Link

They Grow 'Em Big in Philly

It must be because CF Martin & Co. is in Pennsylvania. Check out this giant uke from the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia. But don't tell the pyros down at da Santa Cruz club. They might attempt to kidnap it for the next Burning Uke. Link

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Tickler Ukulele T-Shirt

Ukuleles figure prominently in fine artiste and Ukulelia pal Amy Crehore's work. She recently painted (and quickly found a buyer for) a custom uke, dubbed the Tickler Ukulele. Amy sez she's currently at work on a second Tickler, this time an instrument of her own design which will likewise receive the gentle application of the Crehorian brush.

So, while we await the unveiling of her new uke, Amy teases us with the Tickler Ukulele T-Shirt, available at her site (and likely to be more affordable than the next uke).

As a clown and ukulele player, I love the way Amy combines Pierrot's neuter eroticism with equally eros-charged tropical Columbines. Amy's brush technique and use of velvety textures invites the viewer to caress her subjects. Alas, chaste Pierrot, the tiny monk receives Columbine's touch! But you can get the T-shirt...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Close it real tight…

Pascal Fricke
from Germany sent me this lovely tune today…
He says:
“here's a little tune I recorded today. It is called Little Box Of Sadness. What you hear is a single concert uke ( koaloha ), a bassline played on a Resonator guitar, and some percussion in the middle part ( Zarb & Framedrums )

this is a little box of sadness.
put your sadness in here and close the top real tight.
you might feel better afterwards.”

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