Sunday, April 13, 2008

Panic at the Disco

My daughter Maddie is a big fan of Panic at the Disco. She just brought home the new CD Pretty Odd. It features a ukulele track on "I Have Friends in Holy Places." I haven't yet found a video of the uke version in performance, but this video has the uke version from the CD. If you have the chords, send me a note and I'll post a link.

UPDATE: Al ("Number One Uke Site"--grrr) Wood has graciously obliged. Link

(Thanks, Woodshed!)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

It's Swimsuit Weather!

Here in balmy Lafayette, CA, the mercury has hit close to 90 today. The sun feels terrific. Perfect for sitting outside, strumming your uke with your best pals. In commemoration thereof, we present this stunning photo from the 1920s. Enjoy!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fun at the Run

Hmmm...a bit of a report on the Ukulele Noir at the Bull Run this last Saturday (April 5th).

Great house and killer sound system. Everyone sounded so good it was almost frightening. The evening started with Jason Escape dragging two people up on stage to strap him into a straightjacket...from which he promptly escaped! Then yours truly got up and did selections from my new CD "Houdini's Perspective". I was followed by the Moonlighters, who were in great form, smooth and professional as always. Bliss was playing her new Pohaku ukulele and Cindy was playing a Harmony baritone.
Robert Wheeler did his usual "surprise guest" thing and had the crowd in the palm of his hand.
Then the inimitable Victoria Vox got up. (in a bright yellow shirt! Noir? not.) and wowed the crowd. She has an amazing style.
After her Uke Box got up. Shelley and Marko from Holland. They were so well rehearsed and professional you couldn't help but be impressed. Shelley's voice was like liquid honey. IF you have a chance to see them live...go for it.
Finally Mark Occhionero got up and did an amazing set of solo ukulele numbers. Man, that guy can play!

Wish you could have been there...


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Banjo Ukulele Haven

Check out this new site devoted to the banjo ukulele. I particularly love this Magic Electric Banjo made by Emenee. It's like an early Guitar Hero axe! Link

Ukulele Idol

Jason Castro plays (surprise!) Somewhere Over the Rainbow on (you guessed it) ukulele. Gets rave reviews. Buy Kamaka stock now (you wish). What make uke is he playing? I don't immediately recognize it. Maybe you should buy their stock. Link

Friday, April 04, 2008

Outermost Uke Memorial

Gonna be on the Cape this weekend? Provincetown is the place to be!
"Before Frank D. Schaefer died last year he let it be known to his wife, (uker) Mary Martin Schaefer, that he wanted a memorial celebration in Provincetown for his friends. Well, that’s what he’s getting — in celebration of Schaefer's life there's going to be an Outermost Uke Memorial concert at 3 p.m. April 6 at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and everyone's invited."

Last stop on the Ukulele Caravan! Link

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Take a Class With a Napa Haole

Iuka Grogg (aka Judd Finkelstein) of The Maikai Gents is teaching a one-day class ukulele class on Saturday, April 5 from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at The Upper Valley Campus of Napa Valley College (on College & Pope Streets in St. Helena). Deets here.

Napa Haole. Hey, that's pretty good...

The SLO Strummers

From the Central Coast of California, meet the SLO Strummers! (For those of you from out of the region, "SLO" is short for San Luis (don't say "Looie") Obispo, and is pronounced "Ess Ell Oh".)

Eddie Vedder Uking on Solo Tour

Expect a lot of attention to come to the uke from Eddie Vedder's current solo tour, which kicked off Wednesday in Vancouver, B.C. Wonder if he sells ukes along with the usual tour swag... Hey, not a bad idea. Eddie, how about a couple of comps for the suggestion? Link

Stairway to Heaven

I'll consider this penance for my admittedly bland attempt at an April Fool's post this year. (Not even one comment. Oh, well. I thought that if I said that Obama can't, but McCain can, it would be too obvious. At least give me credit for being subtle...)

I'm enough of a geezer to remember when guitar stores had signs encouraging people to try out any instrument so long as they didn't play Stairway to Heaven. Personally, I think the same extends to the uke.

But as stated, here is my cilice, tabbed out, courtesy of Al over on Uke Hunt. Link

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ukulele Hero!

For April Fool's Day we were going to gin up a fake story about there being a ukulele version of Guitar Hero, but someone beat us to the punchline. And it's not all that funny. Link

So no fake Ukulele Hero story this year, dear readers. However, it does turn out that there's something floating around about there being a ukulele tune coming out for Rock Band:
"Portal's highly quotable protagonist, GLaDOS, is coming to Rock Band. The end credits song performed by the rogue A.I., "Still Alive" [and written by Jonathan Coulton, ed.] will be a downloadable for free in April."

Update: Uke tabs here!

Yes He Can?

Well, here's something that's pretty surprising. If I asked you if any of the three major Presidential candidates knows how to play the ukulele, I'm guessing that you'd say Barack Obama would. After all, he was born in Hawaii.

That'd be my guess, too, but you'd be wrong.

While Senator Obama was born in Hawaii, he moved to Indonesia with his mother and stepfather when he was six. He later returned to Hawaii and wen' grad at Punahou. But since he attended early elementary school in Indonesia, he missed the obligatory ukulele lessons. The gap in his cultural upbringing was discovered during a 2004 fundraiser for the Hawaiian Democratic Party. Local party Chairman Brickwood Galuteria (see photo) presented Obama with a koa canoe paddle as a souvenir of the event:
"The Senator (Obama) thanked Galuteria for the gift and joked that "this will come in handy when I'm paddling up the Potomac to re-take Washington for the American people. I'm grateful that you saw fit to present me with this rather than an 'ukulele. I have no idea what I'd do with that."
Local 'ukulele teacher and impresario Roy Sakuma read the report in the Star-Bulletin and got in touch with Obama's sister, Maya. Roy offered to teach Obama to play, but the idea went nowhere since the Senator spends very little time in the Islands.

Fast forward to 2008. A chance conversation between Roy Sakuma and Abe Lagrimas, Jr. leads to a couple of telephone calls with Maya and guess who's teaching the G7-chord to you-know-who in the Presidential Suite at a swank LA hotel? Yep. Honest Abe.

I guess Obama didn't want George W. Bush to be the last occupant of the Oval Office to play the uke. Could a re-entrant version of "Yes We Can" or other campaign songs be far off? Link
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