Friday, May 29, 2009

Vintage Instrument Catalogs

Looking for a vintage Martin, Gibson, Gretch, or other maker catalog? Check here first! I looked at the 1919 Martin catalog. A Style 1 would have cost you $13.20 back then. About the equivalent of $163 today. Link

Ukulele Spotlight Podcast Tribute to John King

With James Tranquada. Links to mp3

You should really subscribe to Ukulele Spotlight. Consider it required listening!

Confirmation: Obama has Uke

Bette Midler gave it to him, so I'm guessing it's a Flea! Link

This source sez two ukuleles from The Divine Miss M: one each for Sasha and Malia. Link

I wonder if they're Tiki King Models?

And will Thessaly be invited to the White House to give the First Daughters lessons? (Tangle Free, Ladies! Thumbs UP Obamadaughters...!)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Martin Employee Model Soprano

The Fleamarket Music BB was abuzz about this employee-model Martin on Antiques Roadshow. Employees used to be allowed to noodle around and make their own instuments. I guess many opted to make ukes. Toebone recapped the deets:
For anyone who missed it, it was a Style 3 with these appointments:
1) 5 piece skunk stripe
2) Ebony fretboard, bridge, and tuners (pegs)
3) Bowtie at the 7th fret
4) Ivoroid kite on the peg head
5) Ivoroid parend at the heel of the soundboard
6) Spruce top
7) Rosewood back
8) Fancy back join strip a la D-28 guitar
9) 3-piece wbw nut - probably ivoroid/ebony/ivoroid
Anyone else think the appraisal estimate was low? Link

(Here's another uke appraisal from the show, a Martin 5K.)

Janet on the Yellow Brick Road to Oz

La Klein is in Adelaide for the Cabaret Festival. Gettin' Down Under, I think would make a great title for a Janet Klein CD... Link

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rob Bourassa Ukulele Video Contest

You'll have to watch the video to snag all the particulars, but basically the idea is this: post the winning video and you'll receive free uke lessons from Rob via Skype! Rob is one of Gary Zimnicki's pals, and an amazing player. He's playing one of Gary's 5K style sopranos in the video, and looking very Sir Paulesque. Contest ends June 1, so hurry!

Tahoe Area Uke Fest

Okay, so you're bummed that you can't get in to the Portland Uke Fest. No matter. Just head up into the Sierras for the Tahoe Area Uke Fest, June 26 - 28 in Minden, NV. Link

And to get you in the mood, here's Ian with Sierra Sue.

Portland Uke Fest

The 2009 Portland Uke Fest will be June 16 - 21, 2009 in balmy Portland, OR. The fest itself is sold out, but concert tickets are still available. Link

Michelle Kiba Workshop and Concert

Michelle Kiba will conduct a workshop (2:00pm) followed by a concert (4:15pm) this Sunday, May 31 at DaSilva's. Mike sez:
"Do you want to add more Hawaiian songs to your repertoire? Get your ukes and join Michelle Kiba in a special workshop focusing on her deep knowledge on teaching and performing Hawaiian favorites. Then stick around and dance and play along with her in a mini-concert. If you dance the hula or know someone who does, please join us!

Michelle performs a wide assortment of vintage island melodies including; modern, traditional, and Hapa Haole (English/Hawaiian), in addition to jazz/blues, swing standards, and light rock. Her voice is her first instrument which is complimented by her beautiful ukulele strumming."
Check out Michelle's website.

Link to DaSilva Ukulele Co.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New York Uke Fest

Hey, youse guys, the New York Uke Fest is this weekend, May 29 through 31, 2009. Let me just say that if you don't go, you will have missed Nellie McKay and Bill Tapia. (And that's just for starters...) If you do go, please don't rub it in. Link

Happy Birthday to you! - Wigan Today

I used to think that I shared a birthday with this Wigan great. But it turns out I actually share a birthday with another Wigan great, and yet, being our mutual 50th, this still only amounts to a hill of beans.

(Happy Birthday to Mark Occhionero, too!)

Blue Stone Folk School Ukulele Society

About the most poetic announcement of the formation of a ukulele club that I've ever read.
"There comes a time in every ukulele's life when its person feels the need to play it in the company of other ukulele players."


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ukulele Bizarro Festival Tonight...And the Mystery of the Purple Fluke

It's last minute and all, but if you're in Montreal tonight, check out the Ukulele Bizarro Festival. Details are here.

And the Mystery of the Purple Fluke...

In looking for details, we ran across this mysterious story. In a random act of kindness (ukulele style), someone is sending people Purple Flukes. Whoever this is (and it ain't us), I want to nominate him or her for the Nobel Prize. But let's not out whoever it is. S/he might stop! Link

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mighty Uke

The trailer for Tony Coleman and Margaret Meagher's ukulele documentary is now up on their site. View it here.

(I can't believe everyone that's in it. Everyone's in it. Except me. Guess I'll have to wait for a documentary on ukulele bloggers...)

Sad News

This just in from Mary J. Martin:

"It is with great sadness and utter disbelief that we must
accept that John Kavanagh no longer walks among us.
Our hearts go out to his wife, Mary, and his son, Andy,
whose loss is unimaginable. No kinder person could be,
so generous was John with his music and the simplicity of his being."

Here is a clip of John playing a sweet love song

Monday, May 18, 2009

Andrew Sisters Ukin' it Up

Check out this clip from a 1966 Sammy Davis Jr. Show with the Andrew Sisters playing ukes and singing Last Night on the Back Porch. The uke segment begins around 6:00 in. But watch the whole clip. It starts out with the great Jonathan Winters. Link

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tiny Tim by Drew Friedman

This fine art print of Tiny time by Drew Friedman will set you back $175. Link

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bob and Al: On the Air

The Howard Stern of the Fret Set, Michael Simmons, sez:
"I thought you might like to know that Robert Armstrong and Al Dodge are going be on the Fretboard Journal's online radio show Friday, May 15th at 1PM PST.

"We are planning to talk to them about their days growing up together in Pasadena*, (they both learned to play plectrum banjo while everyone else was listening to rock and roll and the early days of the folk revival), the founding of the Cheap Suit Serenaders (I hope I can get them to talk about the time they played at a nudist camp**), the ukes that Al and Robert make together, and the bands they're playing in these days. Knowing them, the conversation is going to go off on some very odd tangents."

* "Beneath the palms, in someone's arms," no doubt.
** There's a skinhead banjo player joke in there somewhere. And tain't no sin, you know.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Maltese Ukulele

The Ukulele Noir aesthetic hits YouTube. Link (Oh, and the name is Bond. Uke Bond.)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Zooey Deschanel Obsession

A little Arthur Godfrey music, maestro: "Stalkin' Zooey, Ukulele Style..." Link

(via Uke Hunt)

The Pierces....

New video from one of my favorite New York duos, The Pierces. Catherine and Allison are sisters who have a killer pop style. Allison also plays ukulele.

They have that wonderful ability to write songs with very infectious hooks.

Check out their new video for "Turn On Billy"

Their site.

oh, yeah, their music is produced by everybody's favorite ukulele playing producer; Roger Greenawalt.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Buffett Makes Good on Promise

You may recall that Warren Buffett pledged to use the money raised by Roger Geenawalt and David Barratt's Benefit for Mr. Buffett Beatles-thon to buy ukes for the North Omaha branch of Girls Inc.

Well Mr. B made good on his promise. He took the paper bag full of money from the benefit (all $344.23 of it) to Dietze Music in Omaha and picked up 17 Hilos. But does a billionaire pay retail? Need you ask?
"After the store clerk quoted a price, Buffett demanded a discount because he was buying in bulk. 'We shot him a deal,' said Dan Sullivan, a manager at Dietze Music. 'It was for a good cause.'"
Warren then personally delivered the ukes and gave the girls their first lesson.
"'He's a rich man, and he doesn't show it,' says Natalia Partridge, also 10. 'I thought he was going to be snobby and kind of mean, but he turned out to be really nice.'"
Here's a really charming article about the encounter. Link

Here's a photo slideshow of Warren's visit. Link

And here's a not to be missed video of Warren and the girls. It's about the most beautiful and touching thing I've seen all year. Link

(Thanks, Patrick!)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Formby Banjolele at Auction

Joe Lima pointed us to this story about a Formby uke up for auction. I checked the auction site (search on "Formby" here) and it looks like a pretty standard Formby-banded model. But some lucky fan might find it a fun addition the the collection. Link

Tickler Uke #2

So I'm sitting here in my Tickler Ukulele T-Shirt checking the electronic mail and behold! a note from Amy Crehore announcing the unveiling of her second art ukulele.
"Tickler Number Two is a pineapple-shaped uke with a special pineapple-shaped headstock. The painting on the front is of a pierrot and a native girl dancing a pineapple dance. The headstock has a painted pineapple pattern with a monkey's head and the "Crehore" name.

"Built from scratch by a luthier (Lou Reimuller, creator of the Teenar!) and designed and painted by Amy Crehore, Tickler Ukulele Number Two has beautiful ivoroid binding around all sides, neck and headstock. The top is spruce, the back and sides are (flame) mahogany. The neck is carved walnut. The wood has been aged to perfection for over 30 years."
And check out that gen-u-wine Mother-of-Toilet-Seat fretboard! Whoever buys this has to send us a video of them playing it and dancing the Pineapple Dance! Link

Monday, May 04, 2009

Dig that craaaazy uke!

Luthier Peter Hurney at Pohaku Ukulele has just finished a couple of ukuleles with retro colors and pearloid fingerboards. Sassy and classy at the same time, and with the usual Pohaku quality.

Take a closer look at the Seafoam Concert...

Milwaukee Ukulele Festival

Li'l Rev sez:

The Milwaukee Ukulele Festival 9-26-09 in Milwaukee, WI

Featuring: Workshops, Jamming, Vendors, Open Stage, Silent Auction, Snacks, Evening Concert and Ukulele Madness…sponsored by the Milwaukee Ukulele Club

Here is our myspace link:

Top 50 Ukulele Sites