Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Time To Get Laid

Wow. The ribald hits of Ukulele Cutie Kate Micucci just keep...arriving. This time she's joined by William H. Macy on a little ditty from the film Bart Got a Room. Link

San Jose's Ukulele Source

This article originally ran in the San Jose Mercury News on July 17. And popped up on the front page of the Business Section of my local paper today. The Business Section? Is this a trend? (The headline and article was bigger than a story about Apple's alleged new iTablet!) If so, it might be an indication that the Third Wave is about to go tidal.

What do you think might drive it into a full-blown mania? President Obama strumming in the Oval Office? Leave your thoughts at the teeny little comment link, below. Link

Mr. Bernard and Mr. Harrison

Charming article about how George Harrison came to join the George Formby Society.

Most interesting fact: Ray Bernard (shown here with Mr. H.) sold George the ukulele that Paul McCartney now plays in tribute during his concerts.

Greatest lesson: be like George; keep a ukulele in every room and always travel with two, just in case someone else fancies playing. Link

Monday, July 27, 2009

Still Room in August 1 & 2 Bob Brozman Workshop

My friend Jim Bradbury and I took Bob Brozman's workshop last Saturday. It was my second workshop with Bob, and between the complimentary organic French Roast coffee and Bob's inspiring teaching, I hardly slept Saturday night.

If I had to sum up what Bob taught me, it's how powerful and versatile the uke is. The only way I can describe it is that my uke now feels like a Sawzall in my hands. And I'm out looking for stuff to rip!

There's still room in the August 1 and 2 workshops. Don't miss it! More info here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Aldrine Guerrero at DaSilva's

Mike DaSilva also reminded me that Ukulele Underground's Aldrine Guerrero will be in concert next month at his Berkeley space:
Aldrine Guerrero (and friends) in Concert
Saturday - August 8, 2009
DaSilva Ukulele Co.
Concert 6pm $20

Ukuleles Gone Viral?

Bumped into Michael DaSilva at the workshop at Bob Brozman's yesterday and he gave the word about this article from yesterday's LA Times on the impact that the internet has had on the ukulele's popularity.

Only two quibbles, first no mention of Ukulelia. (C'mon, we're "The World's Greatest Ukulele Weblog." Sez so, right up there on top of the page.) Secondly, the article states that "Internet has been stoking the craze for nearly two years." Well, check out the Archives Links at the bottom of the page. That'd be more like 8 years! (Thank you very much.)

What is cool is that the article ran in the Business Section. Which you could take as a sign of a slow news year, or the legitimacy and value of the ukulele economy. Link

(Thanks, Mike!)

Friday, July 24, 2009

James Hill at Kennedy Center

That's right. f**king James Hill at the Kennedy f**ing Center. Woot!


UPDATE: You can now watch James's performance (in The World's Longest Room) online at the link!

Don Blair's Neil Armstrong Photo in RTU

In commemoration of the USS Hornet's recovery of the Apollo 11 astronauts 40 years ago today, this from Don Blair on his capture of this remarkable image:
"The recovery of the Apollo 11 astronauts had been successful. All three were now safely inside the MQF (Manned Quarantine Facility) aboard the great USS Hornet. It was well into the evening when, after too much coffee in the officer's ward room, I decided to head back down to the hangar bay where the two MQF's (NASA always has a back-up or three) were sitting. The one in use was attached by a translucent plastic sheet tunnel to the command module, so that the crew and the two NASA technicians spending the three-week quarantine period in the trailer with them could transit back and forth and de-activate the space craft without exposing all those terrible moon germs to the rest of us. (Of course, there were no germs and the process was dropped after just three moon missions, including the abortive Apollo 13. By Apollo 14 the trailers were history.)

"With my Canon F1 around my neck and loaded with Kodak hi-speed Tri-X black-and-white film, I walked up to the occupied MQF. The only other human being on that deck was a young Marine guard alongside the end window on the trailer. A braided rope ringed the trailer on brass pipe stands...just like in theaters, restaurants, etc. The message was clear: approach no closer.

"So I moved up and pushed my zoom lens to a point where the picture window at the living room end of the AirStream was obliterated, leaving only its occupant standing there....with that ukulele in his hand. How many people can even spell ukulele much less play one? I never could find out what he might have been playing, and I'm sure even Neil wouldn't remember.

"I fired off three quick shots, turned, and walked away. I looked back seconds later and Neil was no longer there. Photo came and went and I had the only picture of that incident--and without flash. The ceiling lights diffused, and I still think they look like halos over the head of a man who had just come as close to a heaven as any man or woman ever might."
Don Blair's Neil Armstrong Photo on the Rock That Uke site.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

3rd Annual Ukulele Cruise

My wife has always wanted to go on a cruise. I wonder if I booked us on this if she'd catch on to my ulterior motive before we left port?

The Ukulele Cruise 2010 sails for Mexico January 24-31, 2010. Fares were just reduced, too!

Sounds like a wonderful time. (If you see me on deck, act like you don't know me...) Home

Kentucky Slack Key

Jon Prown has a YouTube channel that is worth checking out. What caught my attention is this Stephen Foster medley, played on a tenor uke tuned re-entrant FCEA. It's an alternative tuning that really makes My Old Kentucky Home and Oh, Susannah sing. I guess you could consider this a kind of slack key. Kentucky Slack Key, even. Link

The Big I Am

The Big I Am, a Liverpudlian trio (last post I got to use "paean"; this post I get to say "Liverpudlian"--it's a good day!) has a really interesting contemporary folk sound. Cuatro, piano, and ukulele. Sweet. Link

D'News from D'Ville

Lots of stuff coming through the Internet Tubes of late from Portland, Oregon uker, Jim D'Ville.

First off, Jim has just released Play Ukulele By Ear, the DVD. It's a 52-minute condensation of Jim's workshop of the same title. Topics covered include Tuning By Ear, The C Scale, Chord Progressions, Intervals, and more. Sez Jim, "this DVD doesn't just teach you a few songs, it teaches you how every song works and how to train your ears to hear what the music is doing."

Cost is $20 plus shipping payable by check or PayPal. Contact Jim by email for ordering information.

He was recently featured in a nice little piece on Oregon Art Beat, which you can watch here.

Lastly, Jim and his bandmates in Caravan Gogh have written a paean to me. Well, bloggers, anyway. Thanks guys...I guess...

Tiki Cowboys

Check out the tiki-twang stylings of the Tiki Cowboys. And for more tiki band goodness, visit Tiki Bands, a directory site maintained by Tiki Cowboy Baron Behrenfeld. Link

It's Happening in Monterey...

A new ukulele club is starting up in Monterey, CA. Their next meeting is on July 26th from 5-8 at Gianni's Pizza, 725 Lighthouse Ave. For more info, and to sign up for their mailing list email Steve Brooks or call him at (831) 624-7022.

The Flea That Made Milwaukee Famous

Lil' Rev gave us the word that the Milwaukee Ukulele Festival will be held this September 26.
Time: 10am to 10pm
631 N. 19th Street (in the Redeemer Luthern Church) Just off of Wisconsin Ave
Cost: $20 for the evening concert (7pm)
Workshop and Concert (Full Day Pass) $60.00"

Complete info here.

Newport Beach Man Wins OC Fair Competition

Newport Beach retiree Mike Lombardi just won the Orange County Fair's ukulele building competition. For the third year in a row.

Wait. The OC Fair has a uke building competition?


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Colton Manley Wins Scholarship

Congratulations to Moloka'i High School student Colton Manley who won the college scholarship prize at last weekend's Ukulele Festival on Oahu. Link

Monday, July 20, 2009

Squid Ukulele!

If you're a sucker for Cephalopods, you'll adore this gorgeous custom banjo uke. It was created by the Xylocopa, the same folks who did the amazing Mustaches of the World uke we posted awhile back. There's a complete set of images at this link.

The perfect instrument for accompanying Octopus's Garden. Check out this version, if only for what happens in the lower left hand corner of the video about :20 in.

Posterboy for Ukulele Abuse?

Ozfan22's father, apparently destroying Ozfan22's hopes of ever inheriting a priceless heirloom. Unless he got this one. Link

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ukulele Hooley 2009 - Dublin's First International Ukulele festival

"Ukuhooley, The Irish Ukulele Club, is proud to present the first Irish International Ukulele Festival. The main event will take place in the Meeting House Square in Dublin's Temple Bar area on the Sunday 16th of August."

Zooey Deschanel in Esquire

"A little bit of ukulele..." and more of Zooey. Link

Mitsubachi Namida

This young lady comes to Ukuleletown by way of Japan. This song is "Koushindouri" from her 1st album, Kanoesaru.

Her MySpace

Narciso Lobo...

This songwriter comes to Ukuleletown by way of the American heartland; Chicago. His YouTube handle is "Seeso" and, besides all the wonderful originals, he does duets and covers for days. The above song, "Thank You For Leaving Me" is a brain worm...if you watch it, you will be humming it all day.

Check him out!

Seeso's YouTube Channel

Friday, July 17, 2009

An Enchanting Offer...

A free song from Enchanted, the newest CD by the Moonlighters. It's out now and available
from Amazon, iTunes, and our website.

Moonlighter's Website

free song

What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


This just in from Arch Larizza in Melbourne, Australia:
"My old grade school pal, Rocco Fazzari is a cartoonist for The Sydney Morning Herald. He's been doing this for years but recently, has started doing clay animation and he asked me if I would like to contribute some music.

I did a little noodling on uke and bass which Rocco used for his 'Settling Old Scores' animation, here:

See Obama suck at bowling while playing the ukulele!

We'll be doing more stuff together - I'll stick to using ukulele and bass as they seem to be a good fit for these little clips - and will let you know as they're done."

Go there!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Equal Time for SoCal

NorCal isn't the only place for uke fun this summer. We hear that this event should be the bee's knees. Check out Ticket to the Twenties at the Homestead Museum on Saturday July 18th and Sunday July 19th. Janet "Whoopee" Klein and her Parlor Boys on Saturday. Ian "Yowzah" Whitcomb and his Dance Band on Sunday. Uke lessons with Susan and Karl McCormick on Saturday, too. Link

Uke Chicks (and Some Guys): NorCal Invasion

Tikimeister Otto Von Stroheim gave us the tip on these upcoming NoCal events, featuring Tippy Canoe, Madame Pamita, Mikie Lee Prasad, and Tiki King. Link

Like Louie said; "from all over the world".

Meet Zee Avi from Exotic (to me) Borneo. She has a new CD out and on a few of the tracks she plays ukulele.

Check out "Just You and Me" on her MySpace page.
(thanks, Peter Hurney!)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Rush Hour in Ukuleletown

It's 2am and I'm camped out on a barstool in Louie's Bar and Grill. I'm drinkin' Rye Whiskey neat tonight. No chaser, no ice. Louie is behind the bar and tellin' me how crowded the place is during the day; why, he's had to hire an extra cook and waitress to keep up.

Great, I say.

Yeah, Louie continues, and a lot of the new people are from far away -- France, England, Germany, Australia -- you know: far away. They play all kinds of ukuleles, all kinds of styles. The "scene" is exploding. This is truly the "Third Wave".

Great, I say.

Louie asks me what was the "Second Wave"?

Arthur Godfrey, I say.

Louie asks me what was the "First Wave"?

Roy Smeck, I say.

So who's the "Third Wave"? Louie asks.

Jake and Iz, I say.

Louie laughs. Sounds like a kid's cartoon show. Then he goes back to polishing glasses behind the bar. Everybody's movin' into Ukuleletown from all over, he says. Everybody has a ukulele and a webcam.

He tells me to drink up, he's gotta close soon. Gotta get up and bake croissants for the lunch crowd.

Great, I say.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Jacob Borshard

One of my mystical magical searches turned up the cartoon that I blogged below, and given the number of times that the uke turned up in the cartoonist's panels, I figured he'd also be an enthusiast. So having some vague recollection of having seen his stuff before, I clicked on over to his site,

Meet Jacob Borshard, cartoonist, and uker. His music is really wonderful. Sweet. Geeky. Here's the song that goes along with the cartoon panel I blogged: it's called There Was a Moon, from his CD A Glow in the Dark.

And it turns out that Mark blogged about him a while ago. I hadn't made the connection. I do now. Be sure to check out his MySpace and YouTube pages, too.

Moon June, Song...Thong?

Everyone: "There was a moon, glowing..." Link

Update: Holy cow, this is a real song. Hang on...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

James Hill Workshop at DaSilva

James will be conducting a workshop at Mike DaSilva's on Sunday, July 19th, 2009 from 2-4. Link

Monday, July 06, 2009

Liverpool Mayor Invites Sir Paul for Fish and Chips, Uke Jam

Wonder if uke finishes react badly to malt vinegar. Best wash your hands before strumming, Sir Paul. Link

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Nude Safety Video Features Ukulele


Air New Zealand shot an in-flight safety video and a TV commercial featuring crew members wearing nothing but body. The background track is Under My Skin by Gin Wigmore, and features John Butler on ukulele. Link

(Here's their YouTube Channel, too. With bloopers.)

Friday, July 03, 2009

Do Ya Think I'm Boxy?

From a set of pix taken at the London Uke Festival. Anyone know the owner or the story behind this bad boy? Link

Sexy on the Beach?

Okay, here's what I don't get. You're Amanda Palmer. You're a professional musician, actually have name recognition, a following, etc. And you play a Red Hilo....

What the uke?

And don't get me started on the fact that she apparently doesn't know how to tune it. And plays it with a pick...




Bill's waited 101 years to visit Japan. Safe home! Link

Ukulele Noir in Chicago, June 27th, 2009

Here are some pics of the recent Ukulele Noir in Chicago. (June 27th, 2009) with Craig Robertson, Fred Fallin, Neil E. Murphy and Shiny & the Spoon (Amber Nash and Jordan Neff).

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Stars & Stripes Forever

There's still one day left to learn this. Yeah right. But Dom has the tab if you're feeling up to it! Link

Cigar Box Uke Plans

I had blogged this earlier, but it was pretty buried in the post. So much so that avid Ukulelia reader Joe Lima just reminded me of it. So here it is again, the perfect summer project. And you can build it for only 30 cents! (That's about $5 in today's dollars.) From Popular Mechanics, June, 1917. Link

(Thanks, Joe!)

Peter Sellers

I knew that Peter Sellers played, but I hadn't heard him. Here he is! Link

Goodbye Recorders

"...Less dribble...", "...more 'street cred'...." Link

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Bob Brozman Ukulele Workshop

The last workshop was amazing. I plan on attending at least one of these, if only to have Bob sign my diploma, attesting that I'm now a certified practitioner of the elusive two-finger triplet stroke.

Sez Bob:
"I learned a lot about uke-teaching during the last session, and also after teaching uke for a week (!) at George Kahumoku’s camp on Maui.

I intend to make these classes mostly covering new material, and not a repeat of the last session. We are going to narrow the musical focus and spend more time on particular concepts. There will, of course, be some review of strums, and chord shapes. We will focus more on a handful of particular songs, including blues in a few keys, and simple swing era tunes. We will also examine very closely all the possibilities found in the first seven frets in the keys of C and G. I plan to have people playing songs and using these ideas by the end of the sessions. At this point, all four sessions will be in this new format, unless there is a large demand for something else, like Hawaiian and/or calypso..."
Four dates to choose from: Saturday, July 25, Sunday, July 26, Saturday, August 1, 2009, and Sunday, August 2, 2009. Link

Jens Lekman Quarantined For Swine Flu

(Former) uker Jens Lekman apparently has contracted the H1N1 virus. We wish him a speedy and safe recovery, and remind him that the ukulele is a great diversion when you're stuck in bed. Link

Ian Whitcomb at the Cicada Club

Ian and the Bungalow Boys will be at Maxwell DeMille's Cicada Club on Sunday, July 5th, 2009. Dinner and a show! And for those who can't scrape up the Yellow Cab fare or enough jack to tip the hat check girl, the show will be broadcast live through the miracle of Electronic Television! 8pm EDT. Link
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