Monday, May 26, 2008

Ukulele Luau, 2008

Point your GPS devices for Nashville--Indiana, that is, for May 30 and 31, 2008 for The Ukulele Luau, brought to you by Bushman Ukulele. Workshops, performances, and an all-you-can-eat barbecue.

Of note, one of the featured performers is Julia Nunes, winner of last year's Bushman World Ukulele Video Contest for her version of Destiny's Child's Survivor. Julia (do you suppose she's any relation to Manuel?) Nunes has an impressive YouTube following, which is not surprising. She has the most wonderful smile of any uke player I have ever seen, and the unbridled glee with which she puts together her videos is completely infectious. We are smitten.

Complete deets on Ukulele Luau here.

Big Gig in Felton

Felton California becomes Ground Zero next Sunday, June 1, 2008 with the appearance of Mad Tea Party, Tippy Canoe and the Paddlemen, and the Potentate of Felton and his entourage, Tiki King and the Idol Pleasures at Don Quixote's International Music Hall. All three groups have several area shows coming up. Visit their respective sites for complete calendars! Link

Happy Birthday, George!

A happy 104th birthday to the late, great George Formby. And an even happier 49th to Mark Occhionero. Oh, yeah, and me too.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dan Scanlon's Site

If you've never been to Dan "Cool Hand Uke" Scanlon's site, click on over. Lots of good kine stuffs there, including Dan's Strumming Brochure. Link

(Fairly) New Ralph Shaw DVD

Finally getting around to a lot of posts that have been back-ordered for a while. Ralph "King of the Ukulele" Shaw has a newish DVD out, Ukulele Play Along. Be sure to check out all of Ralph's DVDs at his site, as well as his YouTube videos, plus this short film that has a title that I know my wife will agree with. Link

Michael Leviton

"Even jaded New Yorkers love ukulele ballads." Meet ukulele balladeer Michael Leviton. Free download of "Summer's the Worst" from his new CD, My Favorite Place to Drown at his site. If I'm not mistaken, that's Nellie McKay on the track, too. Link

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Write a New Caption

Whitney Darrow was a legendary New Yorker cartoonist. Many of his cartoons are classics of the genre. This, well, it may not be one of his best. I'm guessing that he drew this post WWII. High Larious among the Pacific Theatre vets.

Anyway, since Mr. Darrow had the foresight to include a ukulele in the cartoon, I think we can salvage it. Write a new caption and post it at the comments link!

Purple Uke

Check out this tasty new custom Talsma ukulele. The flaming heart motif was inspired by the owner's tattoo. Soprano size, spruce soundboard, curly maple back, sides and neck, ebony fretboard and bridge. Mother of pearl flame position dots. Monogram typography inspired by The Cramps. Another work of art by Dave Talsma!

Image 1
Image 2
Image 3

Ukulele in the Classroom Method Books

Thinking about Jane Minnis's high school ensemble (see post below) reminded me that I should point all you music educators out there to a new series of method books developed expressly for the classroom.

Co-authored by ukulele education legend Chalmers Doane and the Canadian Jimi Hendrix of the Ukulele, James Hill, Ukulele in the Classroom is a series of three books in both Teacher and Student editions. They've thought of everything: the series is even available in either C or D tuning! Music covered ranges from traditional Hawaiian songs to tunes from Azerbaijan. (Azerbaijan? That I've got to hear!). CDs of the tunes, natch. (Note: Book 1 is available as of this posting; Books 2 and 3 coming soon.)

I daresay, this series is destined to become The standard text for uke teachers. Ideally, all music teachers!


Big Show at DaSilva Sunday

Here's a Don't Miss if you're in the SF Bay Area this Memorial Day weekend:
Aaron and Nicole Keim with Bosko and Honey
Sunday - May 25, 2008, 8pm Concert
$20 at the door. Cash or checks only.
DaSilva Ukulele, Berkeley, CA
Aaron is a member of the Boulder Acoustic Society. Bosko & Honey are a YouTube phenom, and are currently on their world tour, Ukulele Safari 2008!

As Mike sez: "Two great shows in one evening, probably some rocking, joint numbers, completion and delivery of another ukulele, and a musical evening with friends. What more could you want?"

All kine info at the link.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Keep the Darien Blue Waves Strumming!

String instructor Jane Minnis has organized a ukulele club and ensemble at Darien High School in Darien, CT and is looking for grant money to enable her to hire a uke instructor for the next school year.
"This year, we had 34 ukuleles donated to us by Geoff Rezek and the Ukulele Society of Connecticut. We had ten lessons and two performances, the last one being today. The kids had a wonderful time learning "Brown Eyed Girl" and "I Shot the Sheriff." They are already putting together the list of songs they want to learn next year.

Since I don't know how to teach ukulele, I asked Pete Zaccagnino to teach us each week. We would like to continue this arrangement next year, but we have run out of funding. It is my hope that we can find some help in affording Pete's excellent guidance."

If anyone can provide Jane with a lead on grant sources, please contact her. Clicking on her name will take you to her email info.
Jane Minnis
Darien High School
Darien, Connecticut
(203) 655-3981, ext. 2287

Intensive Care from Lil' Rev

Ukesters who want to work on repertoire, rhythm, improve, performance skills, theory or arranging will want to check out Lil' Rev's Summer Uke Intensives. Rev offers private one on one study in 2 or 3 day intervals, and for the cost, he'll provide lodging (Chez Rev, Sheboygan, WI) and meals for 2-3 days. Heck, he'll even pick you up from the Milwaukee airport and shuttle you to and fro. Maybe even buy you all the Shotz Beer you can guzzle.
The Dates:
June 2nd & 3rd
July 1st & 2nd / 7th, 8th, 9th/ 29th, 30th/
August 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st
September 26th, 27th 28th

The Cost:
2 day intensives with transportation, lodging and meals cost $500.00
3 day intensives with all of the above cost $750.00

For more info, or to book a date contact Rev at 414-305-2328. Link

Also: check out Lil' Rev's Hal Leonard method book!

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

If you're planning to see the new Jason Segel flick Forgetting Sarah Marshall, be sure to listen for some sweet Hawaiian tunes on the soundtrack. Iz is there, natch (doing one of my favorites, Henehene Kou 'Aka). Link

Ralph Steadman Ukes

Gonzo artist and illustrator Ralph Steadman is also a uker! Here's a recent news item noting a recent performance. Link

(Thanks, Tiki King!)

North Carolina Ukulele Academy

If you live in North Carolina, learning the uke just got a little easier. Check out the North Carolina Ukulele Academy, founded by Kent Knorr. Swell logo, too! Link

The Spongebob Ukulele

As Ukulelia reader Tim Hodge sez, "it was bound to happen." Frankly, I'm surprised that it took so long (although from the copyright date, it looks like they've been out for a while).

For years (and literally, I mean years), one of the most popular searches that brought people to Ukulelia has been "Spongebob ukulele." I've always thought that licensed merchandisers were faster to market. I'm still waiting for Disney to get smart and sell a Lilo and Stitch uke in the US (but the bloom is prolly off the plumeria on that property). And, mind you, the Spongebob uke shown here is marketed in the UK. If anyone has spotted them in the US, drop me a line.

The Spongebob Uke is made under license by the John Hornby Skewes company. There's also a Spongebob guitar (seen at the same link). And what's really galling is that the guitar design is way cooler than the uke. The uke graphic seems to be just a re-purposed image of Spongebob and Patrick, whereas the guitar at least hints at the nutty playfulness of the toon. And given Spongebob's ability to morph into an infinite variety of shapes, don't you think that a clever designer could have made the whole instrument out of our poriferan pal? They could even save on production costs with a prefab parallelepiped.

Oh, well. At least we can all get our F.U.N. on now. Link

(Thanks, Tim!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Faon Cone

Gentleman ukulele dealer Roy T. Cone dropped us a note to let us know that his wife Faon is gravely ill with a heart condition. I know our readers will join with us in sending aloha, prayers, or just good thoughts to Faon as she prepares for her trip to the hospital. Link

Saturday, May 03, 2008

DQ Uke is Buffett's Sunshine

Today was the annual Berkshire Hathaway "owners' meeting" in Omaha, and the world's wealthiest ukulele player got off to an early start by swinging by the Dairy Queen booth at the Qwest Center to strum his Talsma DQ Uke.

This DQ uke is actually the second of two made by Michigan luthier Dave Talsma. The first was auctioned off to support the Children's Miracle Network, Dairy Queen's corporate charity. I came up with the basic design of the DQ Uke and commissioned Dave to build it. While the uke looks like a novelty, let me tell you that it is a fantastic piece of lutherie. But don't take my word for it. Take Mr. Buffett's. He wrote me a nice note recently and waxed poetically about it. I have it from reliable sources that he's even serenaded Berkshire Hathaway staffers with "You Are My Sunshine."

Anyway, Mr. B liked the first DQ Uke so much that he hated to part with it (so did I; he almost didn't get it!) and promptly ordered a second for his personal collection. He likes it so much he even had a custom display case made for it (and Dave was gracious enough to provide all the necessary measurements from his plans so the uke never left Mr. B's office while the case was being made).

I wish I could have gone to the meeting this year. It would have been fun to strum a few bars with Mr. Buffett. But family and Masonic charity obligations kept me in town this weekend. Maybe next year!

Video at the link
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