Friday, July 31, 2015

Lil Rev's Wife Carol: Please Kokua

Dear Readers,

The wife of our good friend Marc Revenson, aka Lil Rev, is battling cancer. We understand that Rev has had to cancel his tour and workshops to attend to her.

A GoFundMe account has been established to help the family defray their expenses while Carol is receiving treatment.

We've contributed, as a small way of expressing gratitude for all the Rev has done for the ukulele community. Every week his books help my students discover the sweet mysteries of the uke. We hope you'll consider chipping in.

Carol's Cancer Recovery Fund by Marc Revenson - GoFundMe

Monday, July 13, 2015

Farewell, Founder

This, courtesy of Bill Robertson:
"For those who knew him, the great Robert Wheeler passed away this morning.
"Anyone who was part of what in the 90's and early 2000's was a pretty intimate ukulele scene on the mainland knows of Robert Wheeler. In the pre-YouTube era, when there was only one festival around (the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum's Uke Expo), only one website forum (Jim Beloff's and only a few luthiers, Robert Wheeler loomed large. People knew him as a profane, funny, irascibly eccentric ointment fly, ukulele collector, and instrument historian. He owned some 300-plus ukuleles, each one of which had a story behind it that was either academically historic or personal. And he was the "founder" of a "religion" called Ukulele Consciousness.
"Robert's contribution to my documentary Rock That Uke (2003) made it the successful study in ukulele eccentricity it is, and his comments consistently got the biggest laugh in every screening I witnessed, a fact that gave him no amount of pleasure. We remained good friends through the years, visiting each other from time to time wherever we were living in the country, and his friendship is something I treasure deeply. I will miss him more than I can say.
"If you want to read some of Robert's musings on life, sex and all things ukulele, he wrote a column called "Ukulele Consciousness" on the old Rock That Uke website, which I haven't updated in many years. But the direct link to his column's archive is here."
Here's a nice tribute, courtesy of Mark Occhionero:

Yes, boys and girls, back in the wild a wooly days, back when there were only about three uke books in print and your trusty editor was souring the corners of the World Wide Web looking for anything about the ukulele (the same search results kept coming back for the same 6 ukulele websites back then, and I developed a novel search hack that uncovered all kinds of treasures: it's now a real live search engine, Bananaslug), back when we used to have to hard code our posts on Blogger, back before Jake released his first solo CD and I used to catch him at his regular gig at Chai's Island Bistro in Honolulu, back, as Bill Robertson said, before there was YouTube, there was the Founder. One of about 142 other crazed enthusiasts scattered around the country, in whose company I found myself. Only bumped into him once, at the West Coast Uke Fest (and if you were there, you know that was decades ago, Internet Time).

It was kinda fun back then, knowing pretty much everyone on The Scene. And the new people we "discovered" became friends. Now, hardly anyone with a uke needs discovering. But back then, there was a known universe. And at the center of that universe there was a consciousness. Ukulele Consciousness. And it's high priest was the Founder.

Enjoy the ride, Robert. Say hi to Herbert Khaury for me.


If you want to know just how much cred the Founder had, this is from 1987. That's back when Danielle Ate the Sandwich was Danielle Drank the Bottle.


If you want to know how un-mainstream the uke was until just a few years ago, buy Rock That Uke. (Thanks, Bill!)

Kahulanui (The Big Dance) at Freight & Salvage

Just got a note that this Hawaiian swing band will be playing at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley this Friday night. Sounds fun!
"Kahulanui (The Big Dance) is an inspiration passed down three generations from Grandfather Robert Kahulanui Naipo, to Dad Rodgers L.L. Naipo Sr., to Grandson and Kahulanui band leader, Lolena Naipo, Jr. Lolena remembers stories of his Grandfather who was a member of the Royal Hawaiian Band during an era when horns and drums were a part of Hawaiian music. 
"Throughout Hawai‘i in the 1920s and 1930s, one could find orchestras playing Hawaiian Swing and the house would be jumping. Kahulanui borrowed from these influences and performs classic Hawaiian songs in a syncopated style making Hawaiian Swing vibrant and alive in Hawai‘i today." 
Ukulele player, Duke Tatom, reminds me of Troy Fernandez and his playing really swings. Link

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Rachel Manke on Prairie Home Companion

Let's see if we can get more ukulele players on Prairie Home Companion by making a ukulele tune the #1 video from from this week's show. Check out Rachel Manke and Garrison on "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie", then please share with all your uke pals. Does PHC need to do an all-ukulele show? Indeed it does.

Oh, and while you're at it, check out Rachel's Kickstarter campaign for her first CD. T'aint no sin, to pitch right in! Link

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