Thursday, December 29, 2011

What Are You Doing New Years Eve?

This is a great song that deserves more strum time. Anyone catching what make uke Zooey is playing?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

William H. Macy's Christmas Carol from Shameless

We don't get Showtime, so I missed this, but the sentiment works for our run up to New Year's Eve. Here's William H. Macy and the cast of Shameless singing a Christmas Carol that, yes, even Craig Robertson would like.

Joe Brown Inteview

Nice video interview with Joe Brown by the BBC here at the link. A new ukulele CD is in the works.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kala Ukulele Stand

My favorite Xmas gift from my family this year was one of Kala's Stand Out ukulele stands. I have a violin stand that I've used for several years, and it simply doesn't compare with these.

If you don't have a uke stand, get one. (And if you have a different make that you like, post it in the Comments.) You'll find that you'll play your instrument a lot more when it's within easy reach. Link

Monday, December 26, 2011

Chord Master Update

We first posted about, a site dedicated to Maccaferri and other vintage plastic ukes back in 2010. Just checked out the site again and WOW!...

The site now includes scanned product booklets and ads, a huge gallery of vintage photos (some NSFW), and detailed repair tips. Just go now. It's amazing. Link

Did You Get a Ukulele For Christmas?

Welcome to the club! When we originally started publishing Ukulelia, finding ukulele resources on the Web was a real chore. Nowadays you can trip over all the information out there. Here, therefore, is some sage advice. If you just got a uke, head over to Ukulele Hunt, where Al Wood has put together a free booklet offering sound guidance to the newbie. So You've Just Got Your First Ukulele includes:

  • Five Things to Know.
  • Five Chords to Learn.
  • Five Songs to Play.
  • Five Websites to Visit.
  • Five Things to Get Free.
  • Five Things to Buy.
  • Five Videos to Watch.
  • Five YouTube Channels to Subscribe to.

The only glaring error we've found in Al's book is that Ukulelia is not included in his Five Websites to Visit. But we forgive him. Link

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ukulelia Holiday Songbook

Here for a return engagement is the Ukulelia Holiday Songbook: a compendium of all the tunes you're likely to need for the next couple of weeks. Enjoy! Link

Monday, December 19, 2011

Newt Gingrich is Running for Pres

This just in: Loudon Wainwright III with a seasonal, satirical, political ditty.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Ukulele Hero!

My friend Patrick Spargur pointed me to this. Get your game on. Link

West Coast 'Ukulele Retreat

Registration is now open for what appears to be the uke community's answer to TED. The West Coast 'Ukulele Retreat will be held at Asilomar, May 16-20, 2012. Spendy, but I want to go. Link

(Okina courtesy of Ron Hale)

Jingle Bells - Rob Bourassa

Only a smattering of ukulele in this video from Rob Bourassa, but plenty of things to love nonetheless. Rob is playing several instruments made by Gary Zimnicki. My first New Year's resolution is to officially hate Rob. Just kidding. What an amazing instrumentalist. He hails from Wyandotte, Michigan, so I attribute his talent entirely to having been weaned on Muskrat Dinners.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Silent Night

A wonderfully bluesy version of Silent Night performed by Friends of Old Puppy, featuring Steven Strauss on soprano and Billy Wilson on bari.

(Via Humble Baritonics.)

Amanda Palmer Uke

Finally, a Red Mahalo cool enough for Amanda Palmer. Check out this bad gal, painted by Kayla Oberlin. The uke is actually one several that Kayla painted for La Palmer in connection with her Ukulelehead CD release. Kayla is also a musician; here's her Bandcamp page.  Link

(Photo by Tara Malpass)

Danielle Ate the Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

Here's Danielle Ate the Sandwich with a lovely version of The Christmas Song. I love her effortless singing. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Monday, December 05, 2011

Bill Tapia's Advice

Lil Rev was kind enough to give us permission to publish his poem and tribute to Bill Tapia.

Bill Tapia’s Advice
© Lil Rev/Patchwork Poems 2011

When out on the road, or flying the friendly skies
A man needs a standard that he can live by

There’s 10,000 Maniacs banging away
Playing louder and faster than Jake ever played

Now speed is a wonderful and curious thing
Likewise, the notes, that one can make ring!

But, then there is taste, some call it soul
Listen to Lyle Ritz, perhaps then you’ll know

It was at the New York Uke Fest, Bill Tapia said to me
Sitting so cool, at 103!

He said “Rev can you tell me, cause I don’t understand
Everything sounds like a scale! What’s going on man?”

He said “first there’s the melody, you gotta play it once or twice
Then play around it, as that’s always nice!”

“Then it’s back to the melody in a few different ways
Then go on and take it to some other place!”

“Now it’s back to the melody so people can hear
No matter where you go, it’s always near!”

I’m not talking about this Steve Vai sort of thing
I’m talking about taste if you’re gonna make it swing

Now the great James Hill is one who would know
Sometimes you gotta say…Go Cat Go!

But after a while even James would agree
Ten million notes, makes you a one trick pony!

With all due respect that’s why I say…
…Thank you Mr. Tapia for showing us the way!

Interview: Ukulele Legend Bill Tapia (1908-2011)

The Fretboard Journal has posted a 2002 interview with Tappy. It originally appeared in The Ukulele Occasional. Link

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Dave Talsma's License Plate Uke

Talk about suffering for your art! Dave Talsma, builder of the legendary Dairy Queen Uke (and dozens of likewise legendary instruments), has sacrificed his ability to drive in order to produce his latest creation, this tenor uke.

Next will no doubt be a petition to the Michigan Senate to change the state nickname to "Great Ukes State", and the motto to Si quaeris ukulele amoenam circumspice. Rock on, Dave! Link

Friday, December 02, 2011

Tappy is Strumming With the Angels

Very sad to announce that Bill Tapia passed away in his sleep last night. One month shy of his 104th birthday. Lucky to have known him, and to have heard him talk story. Mahalo for everything, Tappy! Link

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