Saturday, February 28, 2009

...if you're in Hong Kong...

..go get a tattoo at Star Crossed Tattoo. Julia Seizure, the artist there, says this:
"so here ya go, the huge hipped "ukulady". p.s i am now the proud owner of a pink flying V ukulele. it's so awesome! if ya dont believe me, swing by the studio, it's displayed proudly, and if ur unlucky enough, you might walk in on me attemting to practice playing! "

Go get it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Absolutely the best book for beginners

Steven Sproat, that wonderful British ukulele player, has just had published the second book of ukulele playing for beginners.
Absolute Beginners Ukulele Book 2 is now available from Music sales Ltd.
£8.99 ($17.90) with CD.
It has several right hand techniques (Formby style etc) inc split stroke /fan stroke/flamenco/ Thumb roll/ Hawaiian strum/more fingerpicking.
It covers a lot of material done at his recent workshop.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Digital Duet

This is a cover of an Arthur Hamilton song from 1953: "Cry Me A River".

It's a duet with Pia Tedesco from Madrid, (and me, Craig, here in Ukuleletown). We have never met, but that doesn't mean we can't sing together...

Welcome to the new world.

Cry Me A River

Pia's Myspace

Uke's Just What He Needed

Here's a nice piece on Greg Hawkes. The article even mentions some Noir Somethingorother. And check out that sweet pineapple Talsma uke he's playing. Link

Sazerac's Super Sheet Music Competition

Attention designers:
"Sazerac the Clown, Ukulelist Ordinaire and Exterminator of Gloom and Remorse, announces his first ever Sheet Music Design Competition! ... The winner for each song will receive 5 copies of the printed sheet music, a copy of the CD "Without No Pants On: The Genial Orleanians Delineate the Complete Works Of Sazerac the Clown" (scheduled for summer release) and, this being a tough economy, a double-sawbuck."

Party Like It's 1908!

This Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 6:00pm & 8:30pm, Bill Tapia will be in concert to celebrate (sever weeks late) his 101st birthday. At The Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St. San Pedro, CA 90731. If you go, say hi to Tappy for us! Complete info here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Man Who's Making Ukuleles Sexy Again

Oh puh-leeze. LAist interviews Dent May, the Moon Martin of the Ukulele. Link

(I've always wanted to mention Moon Martin in a post...)

Sita Sings the Blues on PBS and Online

Nina Paley's Annette Hanshaw-infused animated feature Sita Sings the Blues will be broadcast (in NYC) on PBS, March 17th at 10:45 pm EST. For everyone else, the video will be streamed on the Reel 13 site beginning February 26th. Congratulations, Nina! Link

Monday, February 23, 2009

Templeton Sheet Music Archive

Julie Shedd from the Mississippi State University Libraries was kind enough to drop us a note to let us know that their web address has changed. I've updated the one link on Ukulelia that I could find that went to the old address, but if you stumble across another, do email me and I'll fix it.

The Mississippi State University Libraries is home to the Templeton Digital Sheet Music Collection, part of the Charles H. Templeton, Sr. Music Museum. It's a wonderful resource for vintage music, particularly ragtime tunes, and a variety of themed collections. What fun awaits? Well, here's Brian Heffernan playing Rubber Plant Rag (A Sketcherette), available via the Templeton Collection. Link

(Thanks, Julie!)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Rutleleles

Lest we get overly serious with all this Beatles business, be it known that the Rutleleles exist, too. Ouch! (Ouch! Ouch Ouch!). Link

Ukulele Shirt World Benefit Bushfire Victims

For the remainder of February, Gavin Smith, the self-proclaimed "mad keen ukulele man" of Melbourne, Australia and proprietor of Ukulele Shirt World will be donating all profits from his store to the Australian Red Cross Appeal to benefit victims of the recent bushfire. And if you use coupon code 3PFBDAY, you'll save an additional 30%. Gavin has some sweet shirts. Check 'em out. Link

Banjo TAB for blind players

The folks behind The Ukulele Project have also developed a methodology to read banjo tabs via braille. If you know any sight-impaired uke players, ping the Costellos and see if they'll adapt their technique for the ukulele. Link

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Faith Ako Premiere Concert Tonight

Faith Ako will premiere her new CD, Papak├╗, Bring It Home at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa, CA tonight. Link

Finance World Tunes in to Uke-Based Recovery Plan

Daily Finance has picked up the lede on Warren Buffett's Ukulele-Based Recovery Plan. Link

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

'Nother Night of Noir

It was a night cold enough to chill a penguin. Ukuleletown after dark always seems colder anyway. At Johnny Ds Nightclub is Davis Square in Somerville, MA, the newest edition of Ukulele Noir cranked up.

Bliss Blood, her sopranino ukulele and her red outfit, started the night. Her voice was, as usual, pure honey and she did a killer set. She ended her performance with the song Mae West made famous "Come Up and See Me Sometime". Not too many performers can pull that one off...but Bliss Made it shine.

Bedroom Community was up next with Steven Swartz, ex-Songs from a Random House. He used a lot of processed sounds, samples and looping...but still managed to sing thougtful and melodic songs.

After that was...uh...Craig Robertson, ably assisted by Alice Caldwell on upright Bass. I meandered through a forest of songs with subjects as diverse as zombie horse and small town pathos.

Ending the night was Greg Hawkes. This was the first time out for his new trio, all ukes, consisting of him, Tim Mann and Greg Allison. In a lovely understated performance they did some Cars tunes and reproduced some of the songs from Greg's CD "Beatles Uke".

Were you there? I don't remember seeing you there? Oh, well, next month...

(photo by Robert Wheeler, Fedora by Tony Brouner, ukulele by Pete Howlett)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Guide to Ukulele Chords for Lefties

Okay, if you're a southpaw, a leftie, sinistral, or simply cack-handed, your ship has come in...portside. Curt Sheller sez:
"I've just released a book for lefties. Yes, lefty uke players. What a market that will be.

As you can see I didn't do it for the money. But I have been asked a few times for lefty versions of my books. So I finally did a lefty version of my A Guide to Ukulele Chords and naturally titled it A Guide to Ukulele Chords for Lefties. It is available as a hard copy books and I have it available as an eBook-PDF file for download."
Small market, perhaps. But if you play your uke upside down, you're in jolly good company. Link

Monday, February 16, 2009

Warren Watch: Ukulele Edition

Buffett Beat Reporter Steve Jordon contacted us last week to get the skinny on Warren Buffett's connection with the uke world and the recent Ukulele Beatles project. We helped fill him in. Here's his report: Link

Sunday, February 15, 2009

We Love You Too, Julia

Jim Christian suggested this, and I didn't see it in time to post it for Valentine's Day. So here's a belated VD Video Card from the one and only Julia Nunes. Link

The Ukulele Project

Here's a great project that's harnessing the power of the online ukulele community to teach ukulele to kids on a First Nations Reserve (aka Indian Reservation) in northern Canada. Patrick Costello has sketched out a preliminary lesson plan. Contributors will upload mini video lessons to the Internet Archive.

What a superb idea. Check it out. Link

After all the Hearts and Chocolates

I certainly hope that this was part of someone's Valentine's Day, back in the day. (Nice boots.) Link

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Throw Me In The River

Don't even say it. Up here in Ukuleletown we appreciate chops.(and I don't mean pork chops). Neal Paisley; this boy's got some.

Nice Favilla soprano, too.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ukulele Picnic in Hawaii 2009

If you're on Oahu for Valentine's Day, here's a local uke festival to check out. It's a Japanese Uke event, this year being held in Hawaii. Pretty much everyone is playing. Plus players from Japan.

"The Ukulele Picnic began in 2000 in Shonan, Japan. Since then, the founders have spread the mission to expand the love of Ukulele through concerts in Japan and throughout the world.

Kazuyuki Sekiguchi passionately introduced the Ukulele among the Japanese people, and Iwao--one of the best Ukulele player in Japan--serves as host for the event along with David Smith of Leiland and the group BEGIN. This event is free and open to the public. In recent years, turnout for this event has been over 10,000 people. Even though the event has grown in attendance, the peaceful nature of the event has been preserved."


Pep or Action?

Michael Simmons asks, "Are the uke players the 'Thrills,' the 'Whoopee,' the 'Pep' or the 'Action?'" From College Love, 1929.

Wishing you all much Whoopee tomorrow.

Amy Crehore's Dreamgirls and Ukes Show Opens Tonight

Amy's show opens tonight in LA. I picked the headstock shot here in honor of the day. Link

Monday, February 09, 2009


Howlin' Hobbit's band Snake Suspenderz has just released a new CD "Serpentine".

Yass. Hobbit's voice is achingly is the band:

Thaddeus Spae: Vocals, trombone, guitar
Howlin' Hobbit: Vocals, ukulele
Andrew "Sketch" Hare: Drums, percussion
salamandir: Tuba

Why haven't you got this CD???

go now.

don't wait, it's robertson-essential-listening.

Notes across the ocean...

From Steven Sproat:
"Forthcoming album by Mark Moraghan (actor Holby City, Harry Enfield Show, etc) and Nicky Campbell.
There will be about 5 uke tracks -this one is only one with banjo uke (they preferred for this song)..hope you like it!"

Steven, I'm assuming, plays quite a bit on this CD. Check out the video, it's a lovely balance...the sweetness of Laurel and Hardy juxtaposed with the evil banjo ukulele...!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Ballad of Blanche Barrow redux

Awhile back, Gary posted a photo of Blanche Barrow with a ukulele. Since she was married to Buck Barrow, Clyde Barrow's brother (of Bonnie and Clyde), I was naturally interested. Gary suggested, half kidding, that this sounded like a good idea for a CR song.
It was.
I wrote one called "The Ballad of Blanche Barrow". and posted a demo of it on this site.

(time passes)

Debbie Moss, who is the cousin of Blanche Barrow, runs a site dedicated to her cousin Blanche. She, while surfing the net, came across my song and wrote me, asking if she could use it on her site.


The ukulele connection makes a full circle. Blanche Barrow's website.

Tiki King Love for Valentine's Day

His Majesty, Tiki King, dropped us a note to say that he and the Idol Pleasures will be on the bill (playing torch songs, no doubt) at Don Quixote's in beautiful downtown Felton, CA as part of the Billy Martini Valentine's Day show. February 14th, 2009, 8pm. Fez recommended. Link

Thursday, February 05, 2009

What's Inside.....

The ever industrious Mickey Maguire has tracked down some fantastic ukulele players to interview and put in Issue No. 3 of Ukulele Player Magazine.
It's Free! Check it out.

Here's what's inside...
p2. Spotlight Bosko & Honey
p7. Special Feature...
Greg Hawkes Beatles Uke
p10. Pohaku Ukulele
p14. CD Review Victoria Vox
p15. CK-50G Ohana Ukulele
p17. Diminished Chords (where would I be without them?)
p20. Kala MA-MT Ukulele
p21. Kala Uke Give-A-Way
p22. Lone Star UkeFest
p23. club listings & events.
p28. Online Resources

Update: The Beatles Complete on Ukulele

Roger and Dave dropped us note with a bit more information about their Beatles project:
"Roger and Dave are pleased to announce that renowned composer, singer, and philanthropist Peter Buffett (That's his smilin' mug at left, ed.) has contributed a new recording of You Never Give Me Your Money to the site "The Beatles Complete On Ukulele".

The Beatles Complete On Ukulele is a web based project by Roger Greenawalt and David Barratt where they will

A) Record & perform on ukulele all 185 original compositions by The Beatles with 185 guest singers/artists.
B) Write essays to coincide with each release.
C) Make available for download one new recording and essay every Tuesday for 185 weeks, beginning January 20, 2009 (Inauguration Day) and climaxing July 24, 2012 (The eve of the London Olympics)."
Buffet's recording is actually song three of 185. The first two are that old ukulele chestnut While My Guitar Gently Weeps, performed by Dandelion Wine, and Oh Darling, sung by Kathena Bryant of The Hippynuts.

What I like perhaps best about this concept is that Roger Greenawalt (the Roger of Roger and Dave) provides the ukulele component each recording. So rather than being a showcase of 185 ukulele players (which would nice, but interesting to only about 185 of us, give or take), this project will unite the ukulele with non-uke artists, those artists' fan bases, and Beatles fans. Which, I am absolutely certain, is something more than 185 people. Again, give or take.

So set your Official Ukulelia Club Alarm Clocks for every Tuesday for the next 3 years or so and rock out to Beatles Ukulele Bliss.

And do be sure to visit Peter Buffett's site. He's involved with all kinds of worthy philanthropic endeavors that are worth checking out and supporting.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

For The Benefit Of Mr Buffett

Every so once in a while, a story comes around that is so mind-bogglingly complex, I get stymied on how to blog it. I'm still wrapping my head around this, but here evidently is the dope.

Performance artists Roger Geenawalt and David Barratt recorded and performed all 185 Beatles songs with 185 guest artists...on ukulele, natch.

The performance was then cast as a benefit for Warren Buffett. (Head about to explode. Must. Keep. Blogging.) And they've now just delivered the cash to him in person. (Following is the BEST interview with Warren Buffett evar.)

They've blogged about it. They've posted all the tunes. Today (head expanding--watch out!), they posted Emmy Award-winning composer Peter Buffett (son of, yup, him) playing You Never Give Me Your Money. (Ka-Blam!)

"On Sunday December 7, 2008, a day that will live in Infamy, Roger Greenawalt, 67 singers, 37 musicians, a Yoko impersonator & his ukulele performed the entire Beatles cataloge (184 songs) over a 14 hour period

We chose to do this show as a benefit, but were unable to decide whom to give the money to.

Then it came to us.

Let's give it to Warren Buffett!

Frankly if we kept the money we'd just spend it on Viagra, records, and cat food.

Otherwise we would just waste it.

Warren will know what to do.

The films directed by David Barratt on this site will tell the story of how the show came about, the music and how Roger and Dave will deliver the money to Warren's home."
Poke around, check out all the tunes and video. I'll post more links as I piece my head back together and sort this all out.

UPDATE: Mr. Buffett is giving the bag full o' money to Girls, Inc. of Omaha to buy ukuleles!


Sweet Hollywaiians at DaSilva's

Hurry on over to Mike DaSilva's on Thursday, February 5 for a last minute, but not-to-be-missed concert by the Sweet Hollywaiians. (Except I have to miss it, so dang!) Tell me how it was! Link
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