Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 103, Uncle Bill!

We wish Bill Tapia a very happy 103rd birthday, tomorrow, January 1st, 2011. Link

Roger Ebert Tweets Uke

A new year's resolution from Roger Ebert, via twitter:
"Resolve to learn the ukulele in 2011."

And since Roger is into tweeting, here's the perfect tune to add to his repertoire. Link

(Thanks, Amy!)

Saturday, December 25, 2010


More cocoanut ukuleles than you can shake a monkey at. In French. Link

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Better late than never: here's our list of links to all the Christmas music for ukulele you could possibly need. The Ukulelia Holiday Songbook.

The Everly Pregnant Brothers

Meet the Everly Pregnant Brothers. They seem to be the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain's scruffy northern relatives. I love their cheeky style, from their logo (why didn't anyone think of that before?) to their homage to Madness to their mod portraits (by illustrator Steven Millington aka Lord Dunsby). Link

Jake Brings His Adz

Here's a track from Jake Shimabukuro's upcoming new release Peace Love Ukulele. It's entitled "Bring Your Adz". Link

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pre-Christmas Monsoon

My old pal (and the guy who taught me my first tune on the uke) Tuba Heatherton's tribute to sunny California. Maybe he should have stayed in Islands where he was born. Rhode Island, that is.

Ukulele Lou

An old chestnut performed by Vernon Dalhart, Frank Kamplain and Anthony Franchini on an Edison cylinder recording. Link

Monday, December 20, 2010

December, 1955

No, I don't think you're flat. But I think your G-string may be slipping. Link

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Livin' in the Sunlight-Lovin' in the Moonlight

Okay, okay, it's Tiny Tim. But Herbert was nothing if not a walking Tin Pan Alley encyclopedia. Here's his version of the Al Lewis/Al Sherman classic Livin' in the Sunlight-Lovin' in the Moonlight. It's a fun tune, and features a chord I don't think I've ever run across: an F74♮3 (4310). You'll find a Paul Whiteman recording here and the sheet music here. (And a real swell version here.)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Michael Powers: Urban Ukulele Project

Check out Seattle jazz guitarist Michael Powers' foray into ukeland on his CD Urban Ukulele. Some really cool jazzy and funky stuff here. Link

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mighty Uke Holiday Special

I saw three ukes come sailing in,
On Christmas Day,
On Christmas Day...

From Mighty Uke's Facebook page:
"The holiday season is once again upon us, the perfect time to share some ukulele cheer. And what better way to get your friends and family to pick up a uke and join the global strum-along than to give them the uplifting and inspiring story of the MIGHTY UKE.
From now until Christmas Eve, if you buy any two items from you will receive a MIGHTY UKE DVD free. But wait! That’s not all! Every purchaser of any DVD, Blu-ray, t-shirt or poster from our website will be automatically entered in a raffle to win one of three MIGHTY UKE Kala Concert Ukuleles to be given away on Christmas Day."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Utterly Butterly Ukulele Project - Home

The Utterly Butterly Ukulele project (TUBUP) runs around Great Britain helping people make their own ukulele from recyclable materials--in this case, margarine tubs. TUBUP puts on workshops in which the ukes are constructed and attendees learn how to play it and take part in a live performance.

The ukuleles are constructed from an Utterly Butterly spread tub, fishing line strings, a piece of wood with screw eyes for tuning pegs.

Here's a great photo gallery from a recent fundraising event in Cardiff, Wales in support of the BBC Children in Need program.

The folks behind the Utterly Butterly brand seem to be pretty cool. For several years, they even had their own formation wing-walking team!

Here's TUBUP's site.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

LoPrinzi Ukuleles on the Air

Donna LoPrinzi has taken the helm of the family business. Here's a nice video from News 13 in Florida profiling LoPrinzi Ukuleles. Link

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kate Micucci on Raising Hope Tonight

Kate Micucci will be on Raising Hope tonight, November 23, 2010. Shown here with Kate (uke, l) is Shannon Woodward (uke, r). Link

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Kathy Sparling CD Party Tonight

Kathy Sparling has a new CD out called As You Believed. She was kind enough to send us a copy to review and it's truly wonderful.

Tonight at Mike DaSilva's in Berkeley, CA, there will be a release party. Sez Kathy:

I'm extra excited to be playing with a full band, including John Hanes on drums and Patrick Main on piano, along with the always wonderful Steven Strauss and Kurt Stevenson.

Saturday, November 20th, 8:00pm-10:00pm
DaSilva Ukulele Co.
2547 8th Street, Suite 28
Berkeley, CA 94710
510 649-1548

$20 at the door includes music, drinks and other festive refreshments

Steven Strauss and Kurt Stevenson will kick things off with selections from their songbook of diverse popular melodies of bygone days.

I hope to see you there!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tomás Kubínek

The superb clown Tomás Kubínek balances a glass of wine on his forehead, plays the ukulele, performs a backwards somersault and then drinks the wine without using his hands. See it here.

But can he do a split stroke? Link

Bill Tapia: Stars and Stripes/Sweehearts on Parade

Hadn't seen this video of Bill Tapia before. Here he's playing (after a brief bit of I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby) his classic arrangement of Stars and Stripes Forever / Sweethearts on Parade. You can hear a wire recording of Tappy ripping this up in 1936 (!) on his debut CD Tropical Swing. Link

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bruar Falls Songwriter Showcase

Dig it...If you're in New York (or Brooklyn) tomorrow evening, come out for a lovely evening of new music.

8pm: Craig Robertson
9pm: Marni Rice
10pm: Al Duvall
11pm: Evanescent with Bliss Blood & Al Street

Location:245 Grand Avenue between Driggs & Roebling, Williamsburg
Time:8:00PM Sunday, November 14th

Monday, November 08, 2010

Ukulele Crumb

Nice little piece on Robert Crumb on Ukulele Boudoir. Perhaps someone will explain the gag to me. I do not pigez le truc. But I do get super chanson! Link

Dobro Ukulele Replica

Mike Lewis of Fine Resophonics in Paris is building replicas of the elusive Dobro ukulele. Pics here. Link


Ukulele Boudoir

French ukers have had a great local blog to follow for some time:, formerly King David Ukulele Station. Here's a new one (for us at least). It's called Ukulele Boudoir.

I particularly like their idea of publishing a monthly ukulele "pin up" computer desktop calendar. This month it's Craig Robertson's dream girl, the Le Domino.

Tons of great stuff. Poke around. Link

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Flower of Gower Gulch

My friend Paula Wirth recently did the cover art for Megan Lynch's debut album, Songs the Brothers Warner Taught Me, a collection of tunes featured in vintage Warner Brothers cartoons. Today, Paula alerted me to Megan's ukulele rendition of the song Porky Pig plunks out at the beginning of the Daffy Duck classic "Drip-Along Daffy." Which finally gives me an excuse to give a plug for Megan's CD, which features Cheap Suit Serenaders Robert Armstrong and Tony Marcus. You can buy it here, and on several other sites listed here. And don't miss Paula's cover art.


Friday, November 05, 2010

Our Kind of Town

What's happening in the Windy City? Ukewise, The A.V. Club has a nice overview of ukulele culture in Chicago these days. Link

Vampires and Ukuleles

Uke Jackson returns from the dead.

Not really, but it has been a while since we've heard from the Ukulele Bard of Delaware. Uke has a new book out, and is taking it on the road to see if he can get any bites from the public.
"Broadway Vampire tells the story of a vampire named Gus who produces Broadway musicals. Jackson drew on his own experience seeing his work produced for the stage in Manhattan and beyond. Sex! Drugs! and Ukuleles! — a musical for which he wrote both book and lyrics — was produced in 2008. His other plays include Monster Time, The Secret Warhol Rituals and Avenue Z Afternoon, which was produced for network TV, starring Anne Meara and Lou Diamond Phillips."
At his readings, Jackson will perform songs from the novel--on the uke, natch.


Thursday, November 04, 2010

UOGB in the Grey Lady

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain got a very nice review in The New York Times yesterday. Link

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Hula Dreams Triennial

Hula Dreams is a triennial exhibition of hand painted ukuleles at Gallery East, 21 Burnie Street, Clovelly, Sydney, Australia. The exhibition features hand painted ukuleles by over fifty artists who are invited by curator, 
Carol Ruff (aka Coral Reef), to paint or make a ukulele in any way that moves their creative spirit.
"Curator and Gallery East owner Carol Ruff said inventiveness and humour were key features of the Hula Dreams exhibition.

“There is a clock uke where time goes backwards, desert scenes, birds, The Beatles and a Leonard Cohen uke,” Ruff said."
The current show runs November 5th to the 21st. Link to images from earlier shows here. Interview with Ruff here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mad Tea Party on Public Radio

Jason and Ami on public radio! Link

Rock 'n' Roll Ghoul

Happy Halloween, y'all.

Ashville, NC's resident ukulele goddess Ami Worthen was kind enough to send us a copy of Mad Tea Party's latest 7" vinyl and second Halloween-y tune, Rock 'n' Roll Ghoul. (It's a follow-up to last year's fab Zombie Boogie.) You can buy your copy here. The $10 price includes a digital download (so you can have it today for your party this weekend!).

"The EP offers up 4 spooky selections for your rockin’ Halloween party. “Possessed,” a 60s-tinged psychedelic number, features Worthen’s wicked vocals and a demonic guitar solo from Mr. Cartwright. The furious screamer “Rock ‘n’ Roll Ghoul” expounds upon the theme of flesh-eating music critics while drivin’ rocker “Dr. Phibes” is an ode to the popular Vincent Price villain. The duo close with the Hollywood Flames’ song “Frankenstein’s Den” with Cartwright on drum kit and Caroline Pond (Snake Oil Medicine Show) joining Worthen on doo-wop vocals."
Here's an interview with Amy and Jason: Link

And here's the video of the title track.

Poke around the Mad Tea Party site. Lots of ghoul, er, cool stuff to check out.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The 'Strange Powers' of the Magnetic Fields

There's a new documentary out about Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields.
"I just like the ukulele for its lack of rock associations. And I love the fact that you can bring it on a plane.
Here's an interview with John Hockenberry. Link

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Slightly Different Jake Interview

Just about every day that Jake Shimabukuro is out on tour there is an article and interview in the local press. They're pretty much all carbon copies, but this article is of particular interest, especially to you budding professional recording artists out there. In it, Jake talks quite a bit about the business side of things. Link

Jake Shimabukuro - Star Spangled Banner

Won't MLB please ask Jake to play this for the World Series? Link

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cyndi Lauper, Uker?

Call me a pessamist, but this doesn't seem like it's going to turn out well:
"'I found a really sick ukulele in a novelty shop with a metal top,' she says, in her almost comically caustic Bronx-Sicilian drawl. 'I tuned it to a chord and played it with a knife like the old guys did. I'm not fantastic – but I'm not fantastic at anything, except singing. And I don't really give a damn. I just love doing it. It's like the trombone. I make the dog jump when I play that.'"
Played it with a knife? Link

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Over the Rainbow on Bari

Want to be the hero to millions of baritone uke players? Tab this one out for us. As Lightnin' Wells sez, "Have a nice day, everyone."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kala Clip On Tuner

Picked up one of these little gems this weekend. I'd been using an audio-based tuner for years, but when I recently started teaching workshops, I quickly learned how hard it is to tune in a roomful of ukers.

There is something wonderfully satisfying about seeing the tuner screen turn green when you're in tune. I regret not having gotten one sooner. Monkey simple to use, and works for both C- and D-tuning. Highly recommended! Link

Mistletoe Mazel Tov!

"Light the candles, spike the eggnog and trim the tree... spin the dreidel and send out for Chinese."

It's Mistletoe Mazel Tov, a new CD of ukulele holiday favorites from Ukulelia pal, Gerald Ross.

Gerald calls this a "collection of holiday instrumental classics arranged for ukulele and steel guitar." He was kind enough to send us a reviewer's copy and we've been rockin' around the Christmas tree here for several days. My favorite so far is his arrangement of the achingly bittersweet Christmas Time is Here from "A Charlie Brown Christmas".

You can order the CD from Gerald's site for only $18.95 and he'll also send you any disk in the Gerald Ross Catalog as a bonus - free of charge. (If you don't have Ukulele Stomp -- and you should -- now's your chance.) Plus free shipping anywhere in the USA. Such a deal!

But wait, there's more. At our humble, but brilliant suggestion, Gerald has posted the chords for his arrangement of Go Tell it on the Mountain online here.

Here's the link to Gerald's online store. Get your copy today and give it a sov.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Popcast: Nellie McKay

Nellie McKay was interviewed on the NYTimes Popcast last week. Link

Bad Company Feels Like Makin' Uke

Add Bad Company to you list of rock n' rollers picking up ukes. Former Heart guitarist Howard Leese has been rocking out on Feel Like Makin' Love in recent concerts. Link

UPDATE: Woodshed located a video. Looks like it was an Ovation mandolin. Woodshed = Killjoy. (Kidding. Thanks, Al.)

The Daily Ukulele

Jim and Liz Beloff's latest book, a 365 tune tome The Daily Ukulele is out. The first 200 copies are signed. Order yours on the Fleamarket Music site.

Here's a nice profile on the First Family of Ukuleledom and the new book. Link

Train Edges Ingrid Michaelson Out of Our Brains

The Soul Sister earworm crawls on:
Ingrid Michaelson has been known, at least for the past few years, as pop music’s primary ukulele practitioner.

But, she laments, the group Train’s recent hit “Hey, Soul Sister” has quietly co-opted her status.

“Yeah, I heard that song and I was like, ‘Oh well, there goes that,’” Michaelson, 30, says with a laugh. “What I did is ... now stamped on that song forever, that very, very catchy song that will never go out of our brains.”

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Danny Ferrington Uke Update

Leslie was kind enough to add a comment on our earlier post about the Danny Ferrington ukes featured in this years Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalog.

Turns out that Leslie commissioned Danny to make one of his gourd ukes for her husband (lucky man, he). She blogged about it today, and her post includes more info and photos of their construction.

Danny Ferrington is scheduled to appear on The Today Show on Tuesday, October 19th (we presume to showcase his ukes). If so, we'll try and post a clip. We're anxious to hear how they sound.

And just to be clear, we believe that a luthier has a right to obtain whatever price they can for their work. By all accounts, Danny is an amazing luthier. (Our beef was primarily with Needless Markup's hack copywriting job.) But I do hope in this case that Danny gets the lion's share of the $6,000 price tag. Link

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Eugene Uketoberfest 2010

Okay, all you Ducks and Beavers and such. Head over to Eugene, OR for Uketoberfest, Friday and Saturday, October 15 - 16. All kine workshops. Hang with Gerald Ross, James Hill, Jim D'Ville, Del Ray, and more! More info here.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Ukulele Thai

Add Thailand to your list of uke-crazy countries. Here is, the equivalent of Ukulelia for the local community, created and hosted by Pasapum Naonan. He already has over 3000 readers. Link

News of the Jake World

Jake Shimabukuro will release a new CD in January, 2011. "Peace Love Ukulele" will feature Jake's original songs 143 (the numeric pager code for "I love you") and his tribute to World War II veterans, Go For Broke. The album's only two solo ukulele arrangements are Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Here is Jake performing the latter in a clip from a upcoming documentary film scheduled for release sometime in 2011. Link

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Danny Ferrington Neiman Marcus Ukulele

For only $6,000 you can now get a ukulele made out of a gourd. Okay, it's made by the legendary and mysterious luthier Danny Ferrington, but do gourds "open up" over time? Or just become seedy? I kid.

But mainly this uke is $6,000 because it's in Needless Markup's Christmas Catalog.

The accompanying catalog blub sez that Ferrington "purposefully stays low-tech (no computers or Internet)". Apparently, so does Neiman Marcus's copywriter, who blithely asserts that the ukulele was "created in the Hawaiian islands by Micronesian immigrants in the 1870s".

Maybe "Madeiran" isn't in his/er spellcheck. Or maybe fact-checking is just so...déclassé. Link

Sutherland and Eleuke Split

Divorce, ukulele style. Link

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Yes, the Ukulele is Just That Much Fun

What's he playing? Glad you asked, buckaroo. It's a Carnival plastic banjo uke. You'll find on on this page.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ukulelia T-Shirts

As seen in Mighty Uke. Available here.

Ukulele World Record Quest Comes Up Short

We missed it by about 300, but damn, you should see (and hear!) what an entire theater of ukulele players sounds like. What a marvelous event, and an even better film. I bought a copy of Mighty Uke and can't wait to share it with friends and family. A Ukulelia T-Shirt even makes a cameo appearance!

NPR again picked up the story this morning. Link

Friday, September 24, 2010

SF: Let's Break the Record!

This Sunday, September 26th, 2010, head to The Castro Theatre in San Francisco for The Mighty Uke Roadshow. See Mighty Uke the film, plus enjoy a concert by Uni and Ukulele Dick and an attempt to establish a Guinness record-breaking giant ukulele strum-along. See you there! Tickets Here

UPDATE: Here's a story from KQED's California Report today. Link

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Leonard Maltin, Mighty Uke Fan

Film critic Leonard Maltin gives a fine recommendation for The Mighty Uke,
"...a charming new documentary called Mighty Uke, directed by Tony Coleman and produced by Margaret Meagher. It’s a cheerful chronicle of the ukulele’s history and remarkable comeback that spans the globe."


Monday, September 20, 2010

Milwaukee Ukulele Fest Returns

Escape to Wisconsin and swing by the Milwaukee Ukulele Festival next Saturday, September 25th, 2010. Great line-up of players and workshops! Link

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Megamind Ukulele Sighting

Brad Pitt's animated character plays our favorite instrument in the upcoming Megamind. Watch Trailer 3. Link

Friday, September 03, 2010

Lonesome Mama Blues

Here's a little Labor Day Weekend treat. Lonesome Mama Blues, arranged by May Singhi Breen. And a swell banjo solo version by Fred Van Epps.

The Drab Years

Things must have been pretty dull around the University of Kentucky in the late 50s and early 60s. The first photo is from a Lambda Chi Alpha mixer in 1957. Of course, this photo could have been staged for parents and alumni. And as soon as the photographer left they broke out the bourbon and Elvis records.

The second is from 1962, and shows a group of young Kentucky gentlemen ignoring a lone uke player. If my suspicion about these shots being staged is correct, this was snapped just before the strippers from Covington arrived.

Shygals' Serenade Print

It seems to be Art Appreciation Day here at Ukulelia. Here's a new letterpress print from Amy Crehore. Ukuleles make a frequent appearance in Amy's work. You can own your own hand-crafted print of Shygals' Serenade for $60. Link

Ta, Chips!

Much to love about this art news item. First there's the art piece in question: a prize-winning print of a woman playing the ukulele at a party in Darwin in the 1950s. Then there's the fact that the artist, Chips Mackinolty, is giving the prize money away:
"I figured that because it (the print) was about a period of time when people made their own music as a matter of course, I gave it to a number of live music venues in the Northern Territory," he said.
Then, of course, there's Chips's shirt. Link

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Roy Smeck Specialty Tapping

Here's a shortie of Roy Smeck imitating Bill "Bojangles" Robinson's famous stair routine on the uke. Notice how his fingers never leave his hand, and also how they never hit the strings!

(via Fretboard Journal)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Brett Domino: Justin Timberlake Medley

Here's Brett Domino and Steven Peavis performing a super-geeky Justin Timberlake medley. It's kind of Kraftwerk meets Sid Laverents. (Brett and Steven also have an equally mod version of Lady Gaga's Bad Romance. But the uke only plays a supporting role--literally.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wicked Ukulele Stand

Kala just announced that they have these wickedly cool ukulele stands available. They're made of African mahogany and are laced with leather cording to provide cushioning for your uke. Simply beautiful! Link

Martin Mull's Slide Ukulele Blues

So the other day Dr. Nelson mentions that he has a vivid memory of Martin Mull playing the blues on a slide ukulele with a baby bottle back in the '70s. Here, then, is the happy by-product of Dr. Nelson's not having destroyed too many brain cells at Santa Cruz and the series of tubes that is the internets. Woot!

Aloha, Travis

Ukulele legend Travis Harrelson has died at 80. Mahalo for your music, Travis. Link

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ukuleles at the Crossroads

The Crossroads Ukulele Festival will be held October 30th, 2010 at Parkers Crossroads, TN. The festival website just went live. Link

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Tiki Oasis 10

Ukulelia pal and Tikimeister Otto von Stroheim reminded us that Tiki Oasis, the largest Tiki gathering in the world takes place this month:
Tiki Oasis 10
Aug 19 - 22, 2010
San Diego

Otto sez that although the Friday and Saturday event is sold out, Sunday August 22nd is free and open to the public. Best of all is the uke jam in the Tiki atrium near the waterfalls at 1pm Sunday! Plus 70 vendors of tiki-licious merch, including His Fezztastic Majesty, Tiki King. More info on the Tiki Oasis site.

(Photo of Tana the Tatattoed Lady from Tiki Oasis 9)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ukulele Festival 2010 Photos

coleeninhawaii has a wonderful set of photos she shot at this year's festival in Waikiki. Link

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gratis Uke Versus Libre Uke

Jeff Yang has a nice piece today in the San Francisco Chronicle on the intersection of the ukulele and digital culture. Link

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ukulele Festival on PRI's The World

Nice little radio interview on performers and organizers of last weekend's Ukulele Festival in Waikiki. Link


Jen Kwok and some James Franco dude playing Jen's uke at 0:39. (Yea, Jen!) Link

Monday, July 19, 2010

Zooey's K-Wave

Zooey Deschanel rocks her K-Wave during the She & Him concert on Governor's Island NYC on July 4th.


(Photo by ChrisGoldNY under Creative Commons license)

Beware the Cthulkhelele!

Lovely and weird H.P. Lovecraft-inspired ukulele. (Here's the back.) Link

(via Boing Boing)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ukulele Class in Lamorinda

(My neighborhood is called Lamorinda. And the local music store is called Lamorinda Music. Not as noir as Ukuleletown, but as readers of this blog know, I'm yin to Craig's yang. Anyhoo...)

I've arranged with the good folks at Lamorinda music to lead an informal ukulele class this Saturday at their store. If you'll be in the East Bay area this Saturday, call the store and reserve a slot. I hear that at least 13 people have signed up so far. Hope to see you there!
"Interested in learning the ukulele while playing some popular songs? Come join us Saturday, July 17th at 3PM for a great ukulele class for beginners or those wishing to brush up their skills. We will be learning together while getting introduced to some of the most popular music out there featuring the ukulele: Hey, Soul Sister by Train, I'm Yours by Jason Mraz, and even Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's rendition of Over the Rainbow.

No experience required. Just come join us and have fun making music. How much? The class is free (though donations are accepted.) Don't have a ukulele? No problem! For a $5 deposit/rental fee we can loan you one for the duration of the lesson. If you like it, we'll even apply the $5 toward the purchase of the ukulele. Call the store or drop by to sign up."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wine Country 'Ukulele Festival Friday Night Concert

This September's Wine Country Ukulele Festival will kick off with a Friday night concert at the Napa Valley Opera House featuring James Hill, Ralph Shaw, Del Ray, Kimo Hussey and Victoria Vox! Tickets go on sale Monday. Link

Chord Master!

Antoine Carolus has set up a site dedicated entirely to plastic ukuleles, with a special nod to Mario Maccaferri and his Chord Master automatic chording dingus:
"As a one-buck option to the Islander®, the Visual Chord Master® is a beautifully modern designed automatic chording device, allowing the beginner to charm his dulcinea in a button click. Fixed on the neck with two rubber bands, the Chord Master® is able to perform six chords : C, C7, F, G7, A7 and B7 with a standard C tuning. It seems however that the Islander® was supposed to be tuned in ADF#B, since the Chord Master® buttons are named D7, B7, G on the first row, and D, A7, E7 on the second."
Antoine's site features a Chord Master Simulator which you can use to plunk out a whole raft of specially arranged tabs.

Loads of trivia, historical info and reference images. Go Styro!


Thursday, July 08, 2010

40th Annual Hawaii Ukulele Festival

The Grand-uncle of dem all. Legendary ukulele boosters Roy and Kathy Sakuma present the 40th (wow!) Ukulele Festival Hawaii Sunday, July 18, 2010 at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand in Waikiki.

One of these days I'm going to make it to this festival. If you're from the Bay Area and you're going, pick me up a festival T-shirt (size large) and I'll reimburse you plus treat you to the caffeinated beverage of your choice. Link

Reston Ukulele Festival

Revolutionary Ukulele Armies nearing nation's capital. Bivouac in Reston, Virginia this Saturday, July 10, 2010. Patriots urged to bear ukes. Link

Looking for Love on All the Wrong Websites

Change the instrument in question to accordion and this story would be hella funny. Link

Monday, July 05, 2010

Down In Ukuleletown...

Down in Ukuleletown
Some nights
You can’t see no sights
There’s just dim lights
And the bright sounds
Swirling round and round
Down in Ukuleletown

An’ you can learn to dance
To the Re-entrants
So cool you freeze
To the Bobby McGees
But I’m just walkin’ around
Listening to the sound
Of Ukuleletown.

Some lost owl hoots
And the music of the Toots
Bounces off the buildings
In Ukuleletown

An’ the night is still
‘cept when James Hill
Bounces notes off my head
In Ukuleletown.

Don’t need no money
Bosco and Honey
Are playin’ for free
In Ukuleletown.

Telephone poles march
In a line down the street
While Patsy and Arch
Keep a steady back beat
They’re slappin’ their strings
And tappin’ their feet
Down in Ukuleletown.

Some cosmic wind
Blows across the moon
Again and again
You can hear a tune
Tumblin’ in
From Shiny and the Spoon
Down in Ukuleletown.

The time is wrong
Cause all the clocks
Keep beat to the song
From the Uke Box
Down in Ukuleletown

An’ nobody knows
Where the music comes from
Or where it goes
Down in Ukuleletown.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Kate Mickazoocci?

Picture this: Nazereth, PA. Home of the C.F. Martin & Co., makers of some of the finest ukuleles ever made. A world-renowned company arguably built on the back of the humble uke. 4th of July parade. The grand marshal is local girl made good and ukulele player Kate Micucci. And she leads a column of more than 400 instrumentalists all playing... Kazoos?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Smashing Pumpkins Triumph Over Ukulele Hecklers

Add Billy Corgan to your list of uke rockers. And uke heros. Corgan planned to play a solo ukulele version of Love is the Sweetest Thing, but it was cut short when hecklers interrupted him. So he cut the set short. Their loss. Link

Free Mp3 from Better Liar featuring Shiny and the Spoon...

..and, as the moon shines down on the tranquil waters of Boston Bay, I bid a fond farewell heart.
This is track number 6 on my newest CD "Better Liar". It features the swirling and ethereal harmonies of Amber and Jordan, otherwise known as Shiny and the Spoon. It's called "Narcissa".

CD available at Psychic Hamster Records

oh, yeah...PARENTAL WARNING (don't let your parents listen to this)


Check out the collections on display on UkuZoo, a kind of online menagerie of ukuleles. A number of collectors have posted multiple detail images of their instruments. As of today, there are almost 2,200 photos of 358 ukuleles, representing 105 brands. An amazing find! Link

Fashion, Passion and Ukuleles

I’m halfway through my second cup of coffee at Lil’s Diner and Louie walks in.

“You’re up awfully early.” I comment as he sits down on the chrome-and-red-leather barstool next to me.
He just grunts as Lil pours him a cup of coffee. I don’t say nothin’, cause Louie generally will talk when he talks, and won’t when he won’t.

Finally, after a couple of sips of the black coffee, Louie says, “How come you always dress nice when you perform? Dames?”
“Naw” I say, “ I guess it’s part of the persona. Every performer, sooner or later, inhabits a stage persona.”
“But,” Louie points out, nodding at my attire, “You seem to dress that way all the time…?”

My turn to grunt. “Yeah, well, my stage persona isn’t too far removed from my real persona.” I grin and continue, “…so who’s playin’ at the Bar an’ Grill tonight?”

Louie leans in and says, “The Anything Goes Orchestra from across the Big Puddle.”

“Never heard of them” I say.“Well, you should have, they cover one of your songs on their new CD ‘Don’t Wait’” He sips, “cool band, you should come and hear them…”

“…don’t wait.”

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tin Can Concert Ukulele

Aaron Keim is building ukes with tin cans for resonators. Above is a video of his first, a soprano. He currently has a concert-scale up for bid on ebay. It sounds pretty sweet, but you have to consider that it's Aaron playing it, too! Link

Friday, June 25, 2010

Kiwi Kids Konvene

Sounds like it would be a great time to be a ukulele merchant in New Zealand. Link

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

YouTube collaborative ukulele jam with Sophie Madeleine - Boing Boing

Over on big-sister site, BoingBoing... Link

top of the world...

The ever lovely Bliss Blood doing a Carpenter's song (!). I probably won't be doing this song anytime soon, but it works when Bliss does it...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Every Day is Father's Day With Baby

With Cliff Edwards, Jimmy Durante, and Rudy Vallee (and ethnic stereotyping).


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Morning in Ukuleletown

So I went out this morning. I generally don't like mornings. The light is too harsh and, y'know, bright? I'm headin' down the alley towards Carol's Coffee and I run into Louie walkin' his dog. The dog is a Boston Terrier named Asta. Louie tells me that I should make a point to stop down the Bar and Grill tonight because this guy named Sebi and some redhead from Scotland named Kelly are gonna be playin'. Louie says he heard them do the Script song "Man Who Can't Be Moved" and tears rolled down his face.
This means a lot 'cuz Louie usually only cries when the horse he bets on stumbles.

So I'm gonna go. Y'know.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another Theory about the Ukulele

It's a musical instrument, it's not a metaphor for stunted creativity or dissociated social consciousness, a proletariat plunk of defiance, a universalist auditory embrace, a simplistic but humble nod to the musical historical discourse, an unpretentious prop for thesbians, an inroad into the lair of the youtubey universe or, even, a metamusical emblem.

It's a musical instrument. make music on it. if you're not going to make music on it, go do something else.
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