New and Exciting Stuff

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					                                                                                                        issue 2

                                                                           with ukulele manufacturers to
       New and Exciting Stuff                                              bring you reviews of ukuleles
                                                                           from the student models to
                                                                           high-end instruments. We are
This is the second issue of           It's really exciting to hear that
                                                                           also working to bring you
ukulele player. We are excited        people are sharing the
                                                                           information about new models
about all the cool things that        magazine with other ukulele
                                                                           that will be coming soon.
are happening behind the              players and some have even
scenes.                               printed copies and passed
                                                                           In the way of vintage ukulele
                                      them around at their club
                                                                           reviews, this issue features a
This issue is ushering in some        meetings. I initially decided to
                                                                           review of a very fine Martin "0",
new features. We have some of use a PDF file as the means of
                                                                           and she is really loud and clear.
what you will come to expect          distribution to give each issue of
from ukulele player, ukulele          ukulele player a print magazine
                                                                           The third issue will bring lots of
reviews, artist profiles and          or newspaper look, but, it was
                                                                           great reviews. That issue will
interviews, luthier profiles, but we also planned with high enough
                                                                           have a review of a Pohaku
are introducing new features. In resolution that it would printable
                                                                           concert ukulele custom-made
this issue, check out the CD          with high enough quality to
                                                                           by Peter Hurney.
review of Craig Robertson's new share it with other players.
release, "DeChirico Street",
                                                                           We are planning each issue well
which just became available           I want to encourage everyone
                                                                           in advance to keep things fresh
December 7th.                         to submit information about
                                                                           and interesting.
                                      your ukulele clubs, meets,
Last issue, I had the honor of        festivals, and other events. Even
interviewing Alli Bee of Cosmos       if you don't want to provide a
and this time around I have the telephone number or e-mail                  what's inside...
honor of interviewing Jumpin'         address. A website URL or street
Jim Beloff, the founder of "Flea      address and meeting times will        p2. The Re-entrants
                                                                            p7. Interview: Jumpin' JIm Beloff
Market Music" and one of the          be added to our listings as soon
                                                                            p10. Vintage Martin "0"
catalysts in the rising popularity    after submission as possible.         p11. Review: CD Dechirico Street
of the ukulele (in the language       That way, downloading another         p12. Luthier's Corner, Pete Howlett
of Hawaii, the jumping flea).         copy of the magazine the next         p15. Recording: microphones
                                      day, for example, you will find       p16. Ohana's new SK-50WG uke
                                                                            p18. Interview: The Barnkickers
We are happy to say that we           your posting in the current issue.
                                                                            p21. shop spotlight UkeLadyMusic
have received lots of praise and We won't wait for the "next                p22. Review Kala KA-KC-TCE uke
enthusiastic cheers from ukulele issue", we'll add your listing right       p23. Ukulele in Ireland
players around the globe and,         away and upload the file to our       p25. Ukulele Give-A-Way contest
personally, I find it exhilarating to servers, almost instant updates.      p26. Club Listings
                                                                            p26. Ukulele Events
be able to write about music
                                                                            p27. Online Ukulele Resources
and ukulele.                          We are building relationships
                                                                     I met Phil and Ian on the
                                                                     internet, along with a lot of other
                                                                     talented players and
                                                                     entertainers. I have known of
                                                                     them for quite a while, so
                                                                     naturally, when I started
                                                                     planning to create ukulele
                                                                     player, I wanted to interview Phil

          the Re-entrants...                                         and Ian for a story on their act.

                                                                     Q: Phil Doleman and Ian Em-
They have been called the         from the tuning style of a         merson, So, tell me how you
hottest cover-band in England,    "standard" ukulele (the soprano,   met.
extraordinary entertainers, and   concert, and tenor all use this
a lot more. Phil Doleman and      type of tuning).                    A: Phil: We actually met on the
Ian Emerson are the Re-entrants                                       Ukulele Cosmos forum
and they bring you a unique       Phil and Ian will rock your socks   (, and
mix of good-time rock and roll    off playing songs you'll            discovered we only lived a few
tunes from an assortment of       recognize in a whole new way. miles away from each other. I
great bands of the past and       My personal favorite is Soft Cell's already had the idea of forming
present.                          "Tainted Love" and I have to        a uke band of some kind, and
                                  laugh every time I hear their       told Ian via e-mail before we
The Re-entrants get their name    version of it or see their video.   had even met. As one of the
                                                                      few uke players in the area, he
                                                                      didn’t want to miss out!
                                                                      Originally I wanted to form a
                                                                      quartet, with maybe an
                                                                      acoustic bass in there, but when
                                                                      we got together for a jam we
                                                                      thought it would be fun to see
                                                                      just how much we could
                                                                      accomplish with just the two
                                                                      ukes. We did our first gig a
                                                                      couple on months after we first
                                                                      got together and haven’t

                                                                     Ian: I was relieved when the
                                                                     bigger band didn't pan out - in
                                                                     my experience bigger bands
                                                                     tend to split into smaller factions
                                                                     of two anyway - musicians
                                                                     naturally pair-bond!

                                                                     Q: How long did it take the two
                                                                     of you to figure out that you
                                                                     wanted to play together?

                                                                     Phil: We clicked almost
                                                                     immediately. We both brought
a list of songs we wanted to do
to our first meeting and found
that a lot of the songs were the
same. We're both roughly the
same age and even have
matching bald heads! As for
playing, we both have different
approaches to playing and
therefore tend to almost
instinctively go for different
chord inversions. Rhythmically
we click, too, which I think is
extremely important to our
sound. The band was formed at
that first meeting.

Ian: We don't always agree on
material or arrangements, but      saying, which is a little self-   really work if the song is not
have different strategies for      deprecating and usually gets a recognised by the majority of
killing off songs we don't like: I laugh from the ladies!            the audience. We also try and
moan and moan until I wear                                           avoid song we think would work
Phil down; if he doesn't like      Ian: I didn't originally like the on the uke, perverse though it
something, his enthusiasm          name, but have massively          sounds. If we hear a song and
never actually wanes, but he       warmed to it, so much so that I think "how on earth could we
becomes conveniently forgetful     frequently answer to 'Ian Re-     pull that off on uke" then we
at rehearsals until they die of    entrant' nowadays. I've always    usually give it a go. The
neglect.                           loved that tagline though!        arrangement is very important
                                                                     to us. We don't want to just
Q: You guys are billed as "the     Q: You guys play a bit of         strum the chords, we want to
Re-entrants" with the slogan,      everything, but, mostly           get as many of the little parts
"because size isn't important" in contemporary and classic rock, that make up the original in
the brand, so to speak. Tell me how long was it before you           there as possible.
about how you arrived at the       decided on the style of music     (note: they do that very well)
name.                              you guys play?
                                                                     Ian: I have a background which
Phil: I already had the name,      Phil: Because our lists were so   takes in those types of covers in
logo and slogan before we          similar, and were all big hits    more traditional guitar bands,
even met up. I wanted a name from the 60s to the present, we so it wasn't much of a leap to
that said "ukulele" without        sort of stuck with that. We have  me. When one of us has an
actually saying the word           a rule of only doing one song     idea, we rough it out from
ukulele, so, I put a picture of a by each artist, and it has to be   memory first, without listening to
uke in the logo (it could, of      a huge hit. We aren't just a uke  the original; it's amazing how
course, be a guitar if it weren't band for uke audiences most of different aspects of a song are
for the four tuning pegs) and      our gigs are played to non uke- prevalent in each of our
the reference to re-entrant        aware audiences so we can't       memories. It ends up like a
tuning is a clue and a reward      be playing obscure stuff. Also    composite sketch - the sort a
for the uke aware. The size        the juxtaposition of ukulele and police artist might do. Then we
reference is a joke, you know      song not supposed to be           listen to the original together,
the size isn't important it's what played on a ukulele doesn't       and iron out the inconsistencies.
you do with it that counts
Q: I know that you released a      practical way to do it is by          Phil: The camera is usually
CD last year, have you thought plugging in.                              wedged on a window ledge
about recording an album and                                             somewhere!
playing guitar as well as ukulele? Ian: I carry two ukes too. I'm
                                   insistent that my spare uke           Ian: The audience is such a
Phil: No, we're definitely a       should look, sound and react as       huge part of what we do,
ukulele duo. It's sad to talk      closely to my main uke as             videos never really capture that,
about marketing, but I do          possible, so any necessary            and the 'spare room' vids
spend a lot of time selling The    change is as seamless as              particularly are really missing
Re-entrants to promoters,          possible, so I carry two identical    that dynamic. They were only
venues, festivals etc. We are      black Applause UAE20s. They           intended as rehearsal aids, and
very easily identifiable in what   are great all-rounders and            I was mortified when they initially
we do and I think adding other practically indestructible. On the        went online. I'm far less self-
instruments would make that        odd occasion I know we'll be          assured about submitting vids
not so clear to those who might playing through a mic or totally         and recordings as I am with live
want to book us. If we were to     acoustically, I'll pack my Kiwaya     stuff, where the feedback is
do it, it would have to be under KTS-7. I see the Applause ukes          instantaneous. I wouldn't be
a different band name.             as stage equipment, but the           surprised if we didn't put out any
                                   Kiwaya is usually my 'leisure uke.'   more of the 'two blokes on a
Ian: Uke all the way. I love the                                         sofa' vids. I far prefer the ones
portability and versatility of the Q: How about recording?               with a crowd.
uke; there's nothing better than
watching another band              Phil: We've been through a lot        Q: You both have years of
struggling with a drum kit or      of ukes in the last 18 months,        musical experience. What other
huge amps! We'd fight horribly if but I think I played the Pono          instruments do you play and
one of us had to draw the short, concert on most of the CD,              how long have you played
six-stringed straw.                and occasionally my Bruko             them?
                                   number 5.
Q: When you play a gig, how                                              Phil: I started on Bass guitar 22
many instruments do you bring Ian: Now I think I would use the           years ago, then added guitar a
along? Is there a favourite        Kiwaya. For the last CD, I            year later. I picked up
gigging uke?                       primarily used an Ohana SK-35         mandolin, harmonica, penny
                                   (which I no longer have). On          whistle and ocarina a couple of
Phil: I take two ukuleles, just in one track (I won't tell you which!)   years after that. I started to toy
case I break a string! My main     where 'dusty end' precision and       with 5 string banjo in 2003 and
gigging uke is the prototype       clarity was paramount, I              fist picked up a uke in 2005.
Pete Howlett Uklectic              cheated a little and used a
(, a semi-        Mahalo Baritone, tuned GCEA. I        Ian: I played guitar in bands
solid body concert uke with an     don't own that now either.            from about 18, and only got
undersaddle pickup, and I have                                           into other instruments once I'd
a Pono concert, also equipped Recently I made the decision to            got my first uke, mistaking the
with a pickup. We do               commit to 100% soprano; I've          uke-phoria for just learning
occasionally play into             always played soprano on              another instrument. I bought,
instrument mics (for which I       stage, so it seemed like the          learned (and sold) loads of
would use the Pono or my Ken       sensible way of keeping some          instruments, including banjo,
Timms soprano), but as most of consistency in my playing.                bass, violin, autoharp,
our gigs are noisy pubs or large                                         mandolin. I now have a piano
(300+ capacity) venues with        Q: You have some perfor-              (mostly because it's too ungainly
huge PA systems the only           mance videos. Do you bring            to move), one guitar (which lives
                                   someone along to shoot those?         in my son's room) and my ukes.
Q: Phil, you had a number two         Q: Most of the people you              have? How about a favourite of
hit on the charts in the UK, what     entertain are not ukulele              your fans? Is there one that the
was the name of the band at           enthusiasts, how does the              audience seems to like the
the time and what did you             crowd react to your shows? Do          most?
play? How old were you at the         you get a chance to talk with
time?                                 the crowd much between sets         Phil: I really like the video of AB-
                                      or after the show? If so, what      BA's "Money, Money, Money"
Phil: I was latecomer to chart        sorts of questions do they ask, I'llrecorded at Ian's house, as we
success! It was 2004 and I was        bet they are curious.               inadvertently make each other
thirty-four. I had just received a                                        laugh, and we do laugh a lot at
five-string banjo as a leaving gift   Phil: Crowds either get what we rehearsals. It really captures
from work and a month later           do or they don't, in which case     what we do. The most popular
was asked by a friend who ran a       we just function as an acoustic video is another rehearsal one,
music website if I knew any           covers band. When they do get Tainted Love, which was picked
banjo players for a project. I lied   it (and most do), it works really   up by a US radio station and put
and said I could play, and            well. The usual reaction is initial on their website, and as a result
found myself in the band 4-4-2,       disbelief (as in "You can't be      has had almost 40,000 views. At
recording a version of Dexy's         serious") quickly followed by       gigs we get a lot of comments
Midnight Runners "Come on             laughter when we actually pull it after gigs about Motorhead's
Eileen" re-written as "Come on        off! We find the drunker and        "Ace of Spades".
England" for the 2004 European        rowdier the crowd, the more we
Football (soccer) Cup. We got         like it! We need that interaction Ian: My three favourites are less-
signed to a big label and             with the crowd. The audience        viewed ones: in third, Space
promoted by a national                sometimes have no idea what         Oddity live at the Doghouse in
newspaper. I got to play at           a uke is, or even that we are       Loughborough, which is nice
being a pop star for 4 weeks,         playing ukes. We get questions      and understated; in second,
appearing on TV and signing           about small guitars and             Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out",
records. It was fun!                  mandolins! Those who are            which took ages to get right, but
                                      aware of the ukulele often ask      which I just really like how it
Q: Ian, you play solo                 about how it is tuned, and tell us turned out; my favourite is a
performances and have played          they or their child has just got    one-off we did for Eurovision
with other people in the past,        one.                                day, a version of Gina G's 'Ooh
anything note-worthy?                                                     Ah, Just a Little Bit,' which goes
                                      Ian: We get the odd Formby          horribly wrong at the end, to
Ian: In old bands I supported         dig, of course, and probably as much hilarity. There are other
people like Bad Manners, Big          many Ukulele Orchestra of           live vids of us which aren't on
Country, Transvision Vamp,            Great Britain comments they         our YouTube channel as others
some unknowns called The Blurs        are the new Formby for              have posted them my favourite
or something, Fish from               colouring people's                  "Ace of Spades" is from a gig
Marillion. I was also roped in        expectations. My favourite          called "Lumb Farm Ashes".
somehow to sing Nessun Dorma          reaction, however, is the one
behind Russell 'The Voice'            where an audience member            Q: So, you guys are full-time
Watson, both on the Des               says: 'When we saw those little     musicians. Have you ever
O'Connor Christmas show, and          guitar-thingies we thought you      thought about shopping
on Michael Barrymore's My Kind        were going to be rubbish            originals to a label? Now that
of Music (though we don't             (cleaned-up version), but you       ukulele is becoming a hot item,
mention that!). Don't ask me          were brilliant!'                    it might now be too abstract a
how that happened, because                                                notion. Any thoughts?
it's a mystery.                       Q: I've seen a lot of your videos.
                                      Is there a "favourite" that you
Phil: We've both been down          to get noticed and generate a        Q: Are you going to play any
that road before. Both of us        following. We started gigging        ukulele festivals in the coming
have solo albums of originals on    halfway through 2007 and by          year?
iTunes (both of which feature       the end of 2008 we had played
uke) and I spent years trying to    64 gigs (not including the open      Phil: We're playing several big
get my original material            mics we did in the early days). It   music festivals, but at the
accepted by record                  works out that, on average, we       moment only one ukulele
companies.                          have done a gig every week           festival, and as the line-up
                                    since we started.                    hasn't been announced yet
Record companies are also                                                you'll just have to wait and see!
struggling even with big acts, so   Ian: "Hottest cover band"? We
it's much harder to get any kind    do sweat a lot, but we are           Ian: It's a different experience
of deal nowadays. What we           thinking of buying a desk fan!       playing to uke-savvy audiences,
don't want to do is get too big                                          great, but also quite nerve-
for our boots and let our egos      Q: When will we hear a fully         wracking. You can't help feeling
take over, and think we are "too    produced studio album from           they're thinking: 'Hang on we do
good for covers". We are            the Re-entrants?                     that!'
earning more of a living now
than either of us ever did        Phil: I think the first CD is as       Oh, and it'd be cool if you
playing originals. I always       produced as we want to get. It         could mention the web address
remind myself that the London     was recorded live into one   
Philharmonic Orchestra            microphone as we wanted it to
probably don't say, "Stuff        be an accurate reproduction of         Editor's Note: This is a long
Beethoven, lets write our own     how we sound live. The idea            interview, but it covers a lot of
stuff!"                           was that it would sound like we        material and both Phil and Ian
                                  were there in the corner of your       have shared a lot of
Ian: One of the first things we   living room. We did try recording      information. If you want to begin
said when we got together was separate tracks of each                    gigging and working an
that it was about fun, and not to instrument, but we lost the            audience, you can learn a lot
entertain artistic pretensions. I interaction we have when               from both of these guys.
do write original ukulele songs,  playing, which is an important
but they would have no place      part of our sound. Also, if we
in the Re-entrants.               added more tracks than we
                                  could feasibly play live it would
Q: You guys have been called      take away the idea of us trying
"England's Hottest Cover Band"    to get as much of the original
in a clipping I saw. Do you get a song onto 8 strings. We are
lot of press locally?             talking about doing a second
                                  CD, and we may change the
Phil: We get some, but oddly      way we record a little, but it will
most of our gigs are not in our   still be the natural sound of two
home town! Much of our press is ukes and two vocals. Maybe
in out of town papers (when we we'll do a live album.
are playing somewhere I always
contact their local press) and    Ian: We are a live thing, videos
on the web. I'm pretty good at    and recordings never quite
coming up with press releases     capture that experience. I think
and ideas to get us into the      the only thing I would add when
public eye, and we also gig a     we do another one is an
lot, which makes it much easier audience.
                                                                          blanket and bought it on a

                                                                          Q: How long did it take you to
                                                                          get up to speed playing
                                                                          ukulele? Did it just come

     Making beautiful music is your passion, helping you do it is ours.A: It came fairly quickly. I was a
                                                                       pretty good guitarist very
                                                                       influenced by James Taylor and

        Jumpin' Jim Beloff                                             Kenny Rankin and was struck
                                                                       immediately by the warmth of
                                                                       the tenor (I instinctively tuned it
         Leading a Ukulele Revival                                     DGBE\high D). Also it had a size
                                                                       advantage over the guitar. At
                                                                       the time I traveled a good deal
Not all that long ago, if you       ukulele music and he set the       for Billboard and often wished I
mentioned the word ukulele          stage for today's performers, like had my guitar with me. Due to
most people thought of Tiny Tim Jake Shimabukuro, to catch             the inconvenience, though, I
singing "Tip Toe Through the        audiences world-wide.              never thought to take it. On the
Tulips" or maybe Don Ho singing                                        other hand here was this much
"Tiny Bubbles", but most people I asked Jim if we could interview smaller instrument that I could
thought of the ukulele as a toy. him for this issue of ukulele         carry on the plane.
                                    player and he agreed to talk
In the Roaring Twenties, the        with us and share his story.       There were two other
ukulele was considered a                                               advantages I noticed right off.
serious instrument and famous       Q: Jumpin' Jim Beloff, I heard     One was that the ukulele sound
players performed on                that you came upon your love (dgbe re-entrant) seemed to
Vaudeville stages, in movies,       of the ukulele quite by            support the kinds of songs I liked
and later even played on            accident. Tell our readers how     to write. I was a musical theater
television. But interest in ukulele you first discovered the ukulele composition major in college
has always been cyclical. The       and how your passion for the       with big admiration for the great
first wave of popularity came in instrument began.                     American songbook, Tin-Pan
1915 when the ukulele was                                              Alley writing and, of course,
introduced to mainland USA in       A: In 1991, my wife Liz and I      musical theater scores and
an exhibition in San Francisco,     moved to Los Angeles from          many of these kinds of tunes
California.                         New York City. At the time I was seemed to feel very right on the
                                    working for Billboard magazine uke. My other observation was
Subsequent waves of popularity and Liz was a film graphics             that while on the guitar I
came in the USA and between designer specializing in movie             sometimes would play four, five
them, the ukulele left the radar    trailers and corporate logos.      or six strings depending on the
scope almost entirely.              We were also major flea market chord, with the uke I was playing
                                    fans having spent many             all four strings all the time. The
I'd like to introduce one of the    Sundays at the old 26th Street     uke seemed to be like a
modern-day evangelists of           flea market in New York City.      portable barbershop quartet
ukulele, Jumpin' Jim Beloff.        Within our first month in LA we    with four independent voices
                                    visited the Rose Bowl Flea         you could work with to achieve
Jumpin' Jim was a trend-setter      Market in Pasadena, found a        all kinds of sophisticated chords
in this most recent revival of      Martin tenor uke lying on a        and sounds.
                                                                        worldwide. Our most recent
Q: Do you still have that first    A: In 1999 there weren't many        Blues Ukulele songbook is the
ukulele?                           luthiers making quality ukes         twentieth Jumpin' Jim's title. My
                                   under $200. Liz and I were           book, The Ukulele: A Visual
A: Yes!                            fascinated by the Maccaferri         History is in its second edition
                                   plastic ukes and wondered if we      and our DVDs have been
Q: Your enthusiasm has brought could find a high-end plastic            consistent sellers. Lyle Ritz, the
a lot of people to the ukulele.    manufacturer to make a               ukulele jazz master, has
How long after you began           contemporary version. We were        recorded two CDs for us (one
playing did you start "Flea        also inspired by the design and      with Herb Ohta) and both have
Market Music"?                     color of the Apple iMacs at the      sold very well. The new Jukebox
                                   time and wondered about a            section on our site where you
A: Very soon after we found the plastic ukulele that could be as        can hear audio samples has
Martin tenor we visited an old     colorful. My brother-in-law, Dale    helped to increase the visibility
east LA music store where we       Webb, an engineer with               of all our releases as well as the
found a treasure trove of old      molding and woodworking in his       CDs by others we sell in the
unsold 40s and 50s uke song-       background, had been                 online store.
books from the last waves of       following our interest and began
interest. Of course none of        to design what eventually            Q: Did you ever think that you'd
these were in print anymore and became the Fluke. We                    see the day when the ukulele
the ukulele racks in music stores introduced the first Flukes at the    would become as popular as it
at the time were empty or non- 1999 NAMM music trade show               now has? In the beginning, you
existent. After playing through    and were blown away by the           must have felt as though you
some of the surprisingly sophisti- response. Dale and my sister,        were the only ukulele player in
cated arrangements from the        Phyllis, jumped into the uke         the world. How long did it take
three Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards manufacturing business as The         you to start meeting and
songbooks we found, I thought Magic Fluke Co. The Flea uke              playing with other people?
there might be some interest in was born a few years later to
a new songbook that included       satisfy the need for a smaller,      A: As a result of publishing the
the best arrangements from         soprano-sized uke that could         early Jumpin Jim's songbooks
those three books. That be-        accommodate kids and smaller         other players began to find us.
came our first "Jumpin' Jim's"     fingers.                             Their letters (this was just before
songbook known as Ukulele Fa-                                           the internet boom) were usually
vorites. We were able to attract Q: I now see Flukes and Fleas in       filled with the frustration of
the Hal Leonard Corp. (the well- Sam Ash stores. Have retail sales      feeling like they were the only
known print music company) as taken off well?                           player around. Later we
a distributor simply because                                            discovered very active, long
they didn't have anything for      A: There are now well over           established uke groups,
ukulele at the time. In the        30,000 Flukes and Fleas in the       especially in Southern California,
course of producing this book,     world with dealers in many           that had been hiding in plain
Liz came up with the "Jumpin'      countries. We also sell all of our   sight. One very important
Jim's" brand name and "Flea        products including Flukes and        person I met early on was
Market Music" based on where       Fleas all over the world via the     Chuck Fayne (at the Rose Bowl
we found the first uke.            online store on                      Flea Market --- probably eyeing
                                          the same uke). At the time
Q: In 1999 you brought the                                              Chuck had one of the most
"Fluke" onto the scene, followed Q: How many books, CDs and             extensive collections of vintage
by the "Flea", how did that        DVDs have you sold, thus far?        ukes anywhere and eventually
come about? Tell us about the      A: We've sold over 300,000           many of them ended up
"The Magic Fluke Company."         Jumpin' Jim's songbooks              pictured in my Visual History
book. Even though he moved           Can Change The World." All of         thinking about new CDs. There
to Australia years ago Chuck still   our songbooks and CDs feature         are a lot of songs I've written
oversees the Uke Yak column on       her graphic design on the             with both Herb Ohta and Lyle
our site.                            covers and the inside art. She        Ritz that I'd like to record.
                                     started strumming with the
Q: FMM (bulletin board) has          introduction of the Flea, which  Q: You have been given a lot of
introduced a lot of newcomers        was the perfect size for her.    credit in the rise of ukulele
to ukulele clubs and other           Mostly, though, she has a great  popularity. At this point, most
players the world over. Did you      singing voice and we have a lot  people agree that your name
envision this sort of success        of fun performing together.      will long be remembered in the
when you first started the site?                                      history of the ukulele and this
                                    Q: I hear so many nice things     wave of popularity. When did
A: That was our hope from the       about you and Liz from people that hit you, or did it? Have you
beginning. If you look at the       that have met you at the shows. even thought about it?
opening paragraph on the            Do you get to travel and visit
home page of the site, it's all     clubs much, or is your activity   A: That's a nice thing to say. I
about building a community.         pretty much confined to the big consider myself somewhat of a
That was the thinking behind the trade-shows and festivals?           contrarian and early on I
BB and the Player Directory. The                                      relished being a cheerleader for
Player Directory was really born    A: In the early days we went to   something that had fallen so far
out of the desire for players to    every uke event we could, both off the pop culture radar.
strum with other players in their   large and small. Now that we      Fortunately, we received a lot of
area. It turns out that the ukulele are living in Connecticut it's    positive encouragement along
is a very social instrument.        harder but we do try to attend    the way. Probably the biggest
                                    major events on the east coast. boost came from spending an
Q: Do you ever visit Ukulele                                          afternoon with George Harrison
Cosmos or other sites just to       Q: What comes next? Any new       at our home in LA. We spent the
check what other people are         album plans, DVDs, books or       entire afternoon singing and
doing?                              shows? How about the future for strumming songs with George
                                    Flukes, Fleas, or other ukuleles, and his friend/luthier Danny
A: Not as much as I probably        perhaps?                          Ferrington. After that experience
should. I do keep an eye on our                                       I knew we were onto something.
own BB although I haven't           A: In 2009 we will be releasing a If the lead guitarist for the
contributed to it more than         Lyle Ritz instructional DVD. This Beatles was so into the uke, I
twice. Once after 9/11 and          has been in the works for a while knew we were headed in the
once before we shut the BB          and Lyle gives up a lot of his    right direction. Now seeing how
down prior to bringing on Paul      techniques in the instructional   far this wave of interest has
Cundari as moderator.               portion. I also interviewed him   come, I do feel a certain
                                    for the DVD on his amazing        satisfaction in knowing our
Q: How long was it before your      career in music. Also, Liz and I  instincts were right.
lovely wife, Liz, got involved with have been working on a very            ------------------------------------
your ukulele playing?               ambitious songbook and hope Thank You, Jumpin' Jim Beloff.
                                    to have it out in 2009.           Thanks for taking the time to talk
A: Liz has been an equal                                              with us. I hope our readers enjoy
partner, although less visible,     The Magic Fluke Company will      this interview as much as I did. I
since day one. She named            be introducing new Fluke and      look forward to seeing what you
everything including Jumpin'        Flea designs coming out of the have in store for us.
Jim, Flea Market Music, Fluke,      January NAMM trade show.
Flea, The Magic Fluke Co. and       Because songwriting is so
came up with our motto "Uke         important to me, I'm always
  60s Vintage Martin "0"
One of the great things about       mahogany Martin ukuleles, like
being involved in a ukulele club    Martin solid mahogany guitars,
is getting your hands on other      just keep getting better with
people's instruments. You get to    age.
test-drive lots of ukuleles that
you would otherwise not have a     Jeff put fluorocarbon strings on
chance to play.                    his "0" and they really give this
                                   tiny ukulele amazing volume. I
JukeJeff, one of the founding      noticed that the tone is brighter
members of COUP, Columbus          than with Nylguts. There is little     conditioned instrument and the
Ohio Ukulele Peeps, has a pretty bass tone coming from the uke            type you'd want to find. It is a
nice collection of ukes old and with these strings. My old                solid performer.
new. Since I no longer have a      vintage Martin had Nylguts on it
vintage Martin lying around, he before I sold it and it had a             The original owner kept it in
was kind enough to loan me his fatter sound, but less volume.             great shape, but, it was played.
sixties vintage Martin "0" soprano The S-0 I had was fitted with          There are lots of very fine
ukulele for this review. In fact,  Martin clear strings and it had a      surface scratches in the finish,
Jeff suggested it.                 balanced tone, but, it could           but, no damage to the
                                   never match the volume of this         mahogany top.
I reviewed the Martin S-0 in the   vintage uke.
last issue. The S-0 is built from                                         There are lots of Martin vintage
the same blueprint as the          Like most vintage ukuleles, there      ukuleles out there. For many
vintage "0" models. Like the S-0, is a little wear on the surface,        years, every serious player
the Martin "0" body is solid       but, there are no cracks. There        wanted one. Most you find in
mahogany from tip of the           is one small dent at the bottom        flea markets or up for sale have
headstock to the very bottom of of the lower bout, so, the ukes           repaired cracks in them. Finding
the lower bout. There is no        structural integrity is perfect. Had   one in this fine condition is very
binding, no inlay other than the there ever been a crack and              rare.
dots in the neck. The fret board repair in the top, for example,
is rosewood. This specimen has the ukulele would not be as                Playing this ukulele, what really
the original friction tuners.      loud and clear as it is. This is a     strikes me is just how loud it is.
                                   perfect specimen to use for a          This is the loudest soprano
If you compare the sound this      review because you can hear            ukulele I have ever played. I am
little "0" produces with that of   what a well-made and well-kept         not sure how much credit goes
the S-0, well, really, there is a  ukulele can be.                        to the strings, but, I can tell you
huge difference. That's not to                                            this, if I had one of these in this
say that the S-0 is substandard, If you were in the market for a          condition in my collection, I
but a vintage "0" has had plenty Martin vintage "0" soprano               would never part with it. Jeff,
of tune to "open up" and solid     ukulele, this is a prime               you have a winner.
                                                                       the Enola Gay crew that
                                                                       dropped the "bomb" on
                                                                       Hiroshima, Japan. It is a
                                                                       profound song, and will give
                                                                       you something to think about
                                                                       long after the music stops.

                                                                     "Nicotine" is another song that
               DeChirico Street                                      belongs in another era. I picture
                                                                     Mae West and gin joints.
       Craig Robertson's Latest CD                                   Followed by "Hard", Craig
                                                                     seems to take you into vintage
DeChirico Street is the latest CD your second verse is my            Hollywood once again. "You'll
from tunesmith Craig Robertson. favorite.                            always be second" if he's a
This album has thirteen songs to                                     musician. I have seen this so
stir your soul and give you       You Can't Stay Here... This scene many times.
something to ponder.              plays out nightly in every city in
                                  the world. Perhaps, it is a social "The Gate" and "The Sparrow
Here's the song lineup:           commentary. The intro is sweet. Caught in the Thorns" are about
                                  It starts with slide guitar and    fate and circumstance. The
1. The Leopard                    goes into Craig's trademark        roles are interchangeable. The
2. Frontporch                     growl. You can picture a smoke "Dark Derby" reminds me of a
3. You Can't Stay Here            filled bar like something from an Stephen King novel. The Big
4. Bea-fucking-utiful             old classic Bogart film. Play IT   Nowhere is a song I have heard
5. Even Stephen                   Again Sam.                         live. Craig seems to sum up all
6. Higher Heels                                                      of the tunes from Nicotine to
7. Goodbye Paul Tibbets           The fourth track should have       Dark Derby in this last track. The
8. Nicotine                       come third, before the last        Japanese Zen Master would say
9. Hard                           track, because I'd bet that        it is bowing to the inevitable, but
10. The Gate                      scenario more than likely plays    life goes on.
11. Sparrow caught in the Thorns out in reverse order more times
12. The Dark Derby                than not.                          You'll want to listen to this album
13. The Big Nowhere                                                  more than once to soak it all in.
                                  "Even Stephen" sounds like an      Musically, it is dynamic, lyrically,
There is a "warning" about adult old folk song. It is as though      it is powerful.
language and situations on the Craig waltzes back in time to
back cover.                       the mid nineteenth century. This
                                  is a unique song in that it is
T"he Leopard" is a song about     nothing like anything I've heard
superficial changes, perhaps      Craig play before.
outward appearances, but, in
the end, it's the same old thing. "Higher Heels" reminds me of
                                  "Bell Book and Candle", the
"Frontporch" had me laughing      movie starring Jack Lemmon,
at least a couple of times. I can Jimmy Stewart, and beautiful
relate to kicking back and        Kim Novak. I picture the beatnik
watching the world go on its      club scene.
way. You can hear Craig on
slide guitar in this tune. Craig, "Goodbye Paul Tibbets", from
                                                                       A: I’ve built about 400 ukulele
                                                                       but as I don’t number them I
                                                                       can’t be too sure. It’s not
                                                                       important. I haven’t reached
                                                                       perfection yet so I just gotta
                                                                       keep going!

                                                                       Q: I know that you have had a
                 Pete Howlett                                          bit of a backlog, how long will
                                                                       someone have to currently wait
                         UK-UKES                                       to receive a ukulele once

Pete Howlett is a luthier based in   Q: What inspired you to begun    A: Since I’ve gone full time
England. He has built traditional    making ukuleles in the           again the waiting list is currently
soprano, concert, and tenor          beginning?                       three to six months although
ukes and solid-bodied electrics                                       circumstances change very
as well.                           A: I won a bursary to attend and quickly. I have had three orders
                                   market guitars at the Arlington    come in this month that require
Several members of the Ukulele guitar show. Opposite me on            a six-week turn round so I have
Orchestra of Great Britain have    the first date was Collier Thelen, to re-work the due dates of
invested in Pete's ukuleles giving owner of Music Exchange in         others. The great thing is that
him lots of notoriety among UK     Hilo. I had a Terz guitar which    existing clients are very patient
ukulele enthusiasts.               Breezy Ridge later marketed for with me.
                                   me that Collier liked and he
One somewhat unique body-          asked if I could build ukulele. I  Q: Do you keep stock on hand?
style that Pete produces is a      agreed to meet 4 months later
"dreadnaught" body (pictured       for the next show and he           A: I have a huge stock of wood
below). This is an acoustic guitar presented me with a Kamaka 8 and parts but rarely keep
shape known for booming bass string and 6 string to measure           instruments in stock. If I do have
and fullness of tone in the guitar and make. He sent me 24 sets       any spare capacity I offer it
world. In a ukulele, the larger    of curly koa and the rest is       through Cosmos or my website
dreadnaught style produces a       history with me making about 8 (sorry folks, no cheap deals
fuller sound without the "depth"   ukulele a month for the next 30 through eBay but you can
of a guitar. It is a great body    months…                            always phone to see what I
style for singer-songwriters.                                         have). For the very first time ever
                                   Q: How many ukuleles have you I have had cancellations this
I wanted to interview Pete for     built to date?                     year so you never know.
this issue of ukulele player for
several reasons but first and
foremost is the fact that he
produces some of the finest
ukuleles available anywhere.

Q: UK Ukes Pete Howlett: How
long have you been making

A: I started building ukulele in
Q: What woods, binding, and        and go beyond… what can I            Anderson. Steven Sproat will
other features are available?      say? If you want a 5k treatment      shortly be getting a Cherrylele –
What sizes?                        then we are looking at $3000         goodness knows who has my
                                   and more.                            ‘Hawaiian’ ukes. I’m not star
A: Most people want a ukulele                                           struck. In truth, this side of the
in koa or mahogany so I have        [Note: The 5k treatment refers to business isn’t important to me.
about 500 sets of this stuff. I     the inlay and extra cosmetic        Making a pair of ukes for a
bought the koa a couple of          work that Martin pours into their   husband and wife team who
years ago before it became          5k ukulele]                         love playing music together, as
really expensive and all the                                            I am currently doing, is as
mahogany is pre CITES. Most of Q: I have heard wonderful                rewarding as having a celebrity
the wide boards for my one          things about your ukuleles and I playing one of my instruments.
piece fronts and backs are re-      have watched your videos.
sawn by a lovely guy in             Have your videos increased          Q: With koa becoming scarce, I
California, David Borson. His       sales?                              know that you and other luthiers
setup provides a high yield and                                         are beginning to offer "locally
the odd stick I buy off eBay        A: I’m not sure. I started the      available" tone-woods in place
goes right to him and when he       videos because I wanted to          of the exotics. How has that
has a box load, he ships them       dispel some of the myth making been received?
back to me.                         that goes on by well meaning
                                    enthusiasts. It’s been a bit like   A: I was thrilled when I saw the
I use fibre purflin and plastic     Topsy and I’m now up to sixty       light and started building in
binding. I know this sounds an      videos. I think I have made six     local woods. I found local wood
odd combination but I think that sales or so from them this year        yard and bought some UK
plastic has a great resilience. I   so a big thanks to all my           timbers off eBay. Mike King
like the look of wood binding       subscribers and fans who have traded some laburnum so I
and used to use it on my guitars made that leap and bought              have been able to build my first
but for ukulele I just love plastic from me. Best experience this       all indigenous uke. Called the
especially faux tortoise and        year was Sam Bowen’s extreme Cherrylele for obvious reasons it
ivoroid!                            build. I now know it is possible to is as good a koa – a huge
                                    build a ukulele from a kit with a surprise. It had the approval of
I make everything from              student in my workshop in 15        Rufus so I suppose we are good
sopranos to baritones and use       hours!                              to go with this wood for
the standard sizes found in Mike                                        sopranos. I have a commission
Longworth’s Martin History book. Q: You have built instruments for for a concert in Cherry and a
I am however currently refining     some members of the Ukulele         tenor in English yew. These
body depths, reducing them          Orchestra of Great Britain. Have instruments should confirm this
slightly.                           you sold any ukuleles to            timber’s place in my palette of
                                    "celebrity players" and if so,      woods.
I’d love to be able to supply       who?
good quality cases but can’t                                            Q: You made a video with your
find any. I understand the          A: When I went to live in           "sharp guitar" and posted it on
problems in this area since         America, Andy Fairweatherlow, Cosmos. Have you made many
there is not much money to be Clapton’s guitarist acted as a            guitars? If so, did you build them
made in cases…                      referee for me so he has one.       with truss rods?
                                    Craig Robertson has one
Q: What price range are your        specially made and badged           A: Big question. I started out
instruments?                        with his label design called Le     building guitars and made
                                    Noir and I am building a            about one-hundred, with fifty of
A: My instruments start at $895     concert harp uke for Muriel         those going to Shiro Arai in
Japan. I used conventional          yet at full capacity. I will always     perfection in using the most
building techniques, bolt on        accept commissions – it’s a             wonderful natural material on
necks and truss rods but            great opportunity to indulge            this earth. Who would want to
experimented with harp guitars,     yourself and your clients. And          retire from the best job ever?
ladder braced instruments and       yes, I will build limited editions,
reproduction instruments like       not numbers. The reason for this            ------------------------------------
Stella twelve- strings. There are   is I have matched sets of koa
also about twenty-five              and since the Helsinki limited          We hope to see Pete making
Weissenborn guitars with my         edition was such a success,             ukuleles for many years to
name on them out there…             thought I would develop the             come. Thanks for the interview
                                    idea of ukes made from one              Pete.
Q: Have you offered ukuleles        board as it were.
with electronics? If so, what type
of electronics, passive or active, Q: You're an excellent player.
brand, etc...                      Have you made an album or
                                   thought about making one?
A: I do the passive pickup thing
for acoustic ukulele but really do A: I have never considered
not like adding active             myself a ukulele player so it is
electronics and stuff. I like the  very kind of you to say so. It’s
acoustic look and sound.           stressful enough making
However, I have a range of         ukuleles, making an album? I’ll
electric ukulele based around      leave that to others far more
my acoustic shapes called          talented than me to do so.       
Uklectic™. These are great
instruments fitted with passive or Q: If you did do an album,
active electronics. I’m also at    would it be blues? jazz? what
the end stage of developing a genre?
cool Uklectic™ called Uklectic
Firefly™ which will have active    A: Definitely blues – I’ve been
circuitry.                         fooling with this genre for forty
                                   years now and don’t know how
[We knew about the Uklectic        to play anything else!
ukes and they are loved by
those lucky folks who have         Q: Do you plan, at some point,
managed to get one]                to retire from building?

Q: Rumors circulated recently      A: No I don’t. It is one way I can
that due to health issues, you     glorify God and seek his            
might be cutting back on
building or not taking "orders" on
custom-made ukes. Is that true?
If so, are you still planning to
build ukes in limited numbers?

A: 2008 was a tough year for
me and I thought I’d be cutting
back. However things got a lot
better in the Fall and now I am
building full time again but not          Making beautiful music is your passion, helping you do it is ours.
                                                                         There might be times when the
                                                                         CAD-M177 is too hot (recording
                                                                         an amplifier, for example, or a
                                                                         very strong winded vocalist). It's
                                                                         those times when an alternative
                                                                         is good. For the most part,
                                                                         though, ukulele players will do
                                                                         well with any CAD condenser
This issue: Microphones                                                  mic as long as they are multi-
                                                                         tracking, they can record using
When it comes to recording, a     I wanted to feature a couple of        this one mic.
lot of people ignore the          mics in this article to give you a
obvious. I refer to the humble    general direction if you'd like to     If you want to fatten your ukulele
microphone.                       start recording or simply              sound, an additional mic
                                  upgrade the equipment you              pointed at the bridge would
Multi-track recorders get most of are now using.                         give you more sound without
the attention these days. People                                         multiple ukulele tracks. A great
spend top dollar on a digital     The CAD-M177 is an excellent           little trick, then, is to use the
record or a DAW (digital audio    microphone for home studio             condenser placed where you
workstation) and then they use    recording. You can buy one             would normally put a vocal mic,
poor quality mics. When they      from Musician's Friend for $169        then place a Shure SM57
listen to their work, they are    at the time of this writing.           pointed at the saddle on your
disappointed with the results.                                           ukulele. The condenser will
                                  The CAD-M177 is a large                catch the vocals and some of
Right now, it is a buyer's market membrane condenser mic that            the ukulele while the SM57 will
when it comes to microphones. has great dynamic range and                catch most of the ukulele with a
There are lots of great mics      fantastic clarity. It is also highly   tiny bit of vocals in the mix.
available at very low prices      directional, so it is easy to avoid
compared to just a few short      capturing all sorts of                 Computers make lots of noise.
years ago.                        background noise when you              Between cooling fans on CPUs,
                                  record, just face the mic away         in the cases, and in power
                                  from the source of noise.              supplies, they generate a lot of
                                                                         background buzz that you don't
                                     The CAD-M177 is a great vocal notice until you hear the final
                                     mic, but it is also a fantastic mic mix of your recordings. For that
                                     for recording ukulele tracks. It    reason, I prefer digital recorders
                                     has been optimized for "natural over recording on computers.
                                     voice" and that makes it perfect Multi-track recording requires
                                     for acoustic instrument             FULL-DUPLEX hardware
                                     recording, too. Be aware,           supported sound cards. Most
                                     though, that the microphone         computers use software
                                     uses "phantom power" to work,       emulation and that wont cut it.
                                     thus, you will need either a        Even Sound Blaster cards, as
                                     mixing board that supplies          popular as they are, make poor
                                     phantom power (like last issue's recording equipment when it
                                     Behringer UB1202) or you will       comes to simultaneous
                                     need a microphone pre-amp           recording and playback.
                                     that has phantom power, like
                                     the little Art Amp.                 Recording is much easier with a
  Left: CAD-M177 Right: Shure SM57                                       dedicated multi-track unit.
          Ohana SK-50WG
           What a beautiful Ukulele
Ask most experienced ukulele          Shipped from Ohana with
players the difference between        Aquila Nyl-Guts, I tuned the uke
solid wood and laminated ukes         and started playing it a bit to
and they will usually tell you that   break-in the strings. It was not
if you want performance, all          long before it stayed in tune for
solid wood ukuleles would win         extended periods of time.
every time.
                                    I really like Aquila strings anyway,
It was not all that long ago that but having a ukulele that stays
solid wood instruments were         in tune in a few short minutes is
very expensive and hard to find. a pleasure. With these strings,
Ohana Ukuleles, a family-run        not only did the uke stay in tune
ukulele manufacturer has been in a short amount of play time,
working hard to change that by but it sounded fantastic.
bringing great-playing, high
quality ukes to the market at       This instrument's voice is sweet. It
prices that will not put you in the is loud, but not harsh. The tone
poor house.                         is soft when strummed lightly
                                    and boisterous when you really
One such ukulele is Ohana's         want to liven things up a bit. The
new SK-50WG, a solid-cedar          dynamic range is great.
topped ukulele with "willow
wood" back and sides. This          Finger-picking with this ukulele is
soprano features elegant inlay      a pleasure. I found its tone was
that looks classy and goes          very warm, but it was balanced
beautifully with the finely         well from the highest notes to         nice. You get the impression
grained cedar. The high-gloss       the lowest, and the intonation         that this ukulele was built to last,
finish is very evenly applied and was excellent. The neck felt             but it is not over-built. It is solid,
doesn't make the ukulele            comfortable all the way to the         yet light weight. A lot of design
appear as if it were dipped in a body and did not feel                     experience went into this little
vat of polyurethane like some       cramped.                               gem. From the choice of tone-
competing manufacturers ukes.                                              woods to the inlay, the friction
                                    The bridge on this uke is unique       tuners to the choice of strings,
Everything about this ukulele       in that I have not seen other          this ukulele is a players dream.
from the tip of its headstock to    Ohana ukes with this same
the bottom of its lower bout just design. It is interesting and well       If you want a beautiful ukulele
says "class".                       made. It is very sturdy and looks      with warm wonderful tone, look
no further.                                 Making beautiful music is your passion, helping you do it is ours.

Cedar tops are sweet sounding
and just get better with age. In
this case, the woodgrain is
flawless and trimmed with a
binding that is both flattering
and subtle. As I said before,
everything about this instrument
says "class".
                                       This is a new model and is not         in a while. While you are at the
The willow wood is "curly" and         yet available, but I did find it on    Ohana booth at NAMM, check
book-matched. It has a rich            Elderly Instrument's website. They     out the new SK-50MG soprano
almost koa tone to it, but the         did not post an arrival date.          with its flamed mahogany back
texture is one of the most                                                    and sides.
interesting I have seen in any         You can expect to see this
musical instrument. The ukulele's      sweet little player at NAMM, so        The way that cedar ages, I can't
high-gloss finish is smooth as         make your way to Ohana's               wait to hear these ukuleles as
glass, but there doesn't appear        booth and give this baby a test        they mature.
to be any filler in the grain. I can   drive. You will be glad that you
only attribute that to the choice      did and if you have the chance         Ohana has a winner here. Get
of wood, and if that is the case,      to buy one on the spot... don't        yours while you can. I'd bet they
I'd expect other companies to          pass up the opportunity. This is       will be in big demand very
start using willow to compete.         the nicest new uke I have seen         soon.
                                                                       maybe ten or eleven years.

                                                                       Q: When did you decide to
                                                                       actually become an "act"?

                                                                          A: It was in December of 2007
                                                                          that we entered the Bushman
                                                                          Ukulele Video Contest that we
            the Barnkickers                                               actually became known as "The
                                                                          Barnkickers". We decided to use
                                                                          a ukulele and wear vintage style
There are a lot of "family" music musically. I can't wait to hear
                                                                          clothing for the video and it
acts out there. Most of them          the new CD and I expect to see
                                                                          caught on. Since Amanda and
seem to come from the world           a lot more of them in the future.
                                                                          I both write original music and
of "bluegrass", gospel, or
                                                                          play other instruments we
traditional Irish folk players.       Q: The Barnkickers is a father
                                                                          added those elements to come
                                      and daughter act. How long
                                                                          up with a sound to fit the image
When an act comes along that have you been playing music
                                                                          we had created.
plays a lot of original tunes and together? I know "Steve" is your
has real stage presence, I take name, and what is your                    Q: Why the "Barnkickers"?
notice. One act that caught my daughter's name?
eye a while ago is the                                                    A: Amanda listed "barn kicker"
"Barnkickers", a father and           A: Her first name is Amanda         as her occupation on her
daughter team with great              and her middle name is Lynn (a MySpace page because she
performance skills, excellent         mandolin) so I guess she was        actually toppled a neighbor's
musicianship, and charm.              destined to become a                dilapidated barn when she
                                      musician. We have been              kicked it. I found this amusing
Craig Robertson encouraged            playing music together and          and suggested that we use it for
them to contact me and talk           making homemade music               a band name. I later
about a feature in the                videos since she was a little girl, discovered that "barn kicker" is
magazine and I was really glad
he did. I had already known of
the Barnkickers, but it might
have been quite a while before
I contacted them if not for
Craig. The timing couldn't be
better, however, because it just
so happens that the duo is just
getting ready to release a new
CD of original tunes and I can't
wait to hear it. I'll be reviewing it

Thanks to Craig's recommend-
ation, I had a chance to
interview Steve Boisen, one half
of this father and daugher team
and I come away feeling
excited for them and looking
forward to watching them grow
an actual term. President           my brother was a successful           the reason we started this
Clinton used it in a speech         composer and record producer          project. I see it as an extension
once.                               when he lived in Taiwan. He           of what we've always done:
                                    plays piano and he I usually          singing and playing music
Q: I see you both playing           perform together when he is in        together. It is rewarding to know
multiple instruments. Which         town.                                 that other people derive
instruments do you play?                                                  pleasure from our music and I
                                    Q: You interact extremely well        think it's a nice confidence
A: We both play ukulele and         together and it's obvious that        booster for Amanda. She's
guitar. I also play upright bass    you are having a lot of fun with      become something of a local
and Amanda plays clarinet. I        the videos you have posted            celebrity at her school. It's
made my living as a                 online. Is this something that will   strange when her teachers tell
professional bassist at one time    be part of your "act" in live         her that they love watching her
and Amanda is the president of      performances? Will you                sing on YouTube!
her schools marching band           continue to put that sort of
where she is the leader of the      energy into subsequent videos?        Q: What are your ages?
clarinet section. We both got
bitten by the ukulele bug so        A: While we do plan on making         A: Amanda is seventeen. I won't
that's an indispensable part of     more videos, live performances        divulge my age, but I turned
our sound too. I wish I had         are infrequent because of             twenty-four the week she was
discovered its charms when I        Amanda's schedule. She is in          born.
was her age.                        her senior year of high school
                                    and making plans for college so       Q: Do you envision always
Q: You are about to release an      I don't think that will change        being an "act" together or do
album, was it recorded in a         anytime soon. I know people           you see the day that your
studio or at home? If a studio,     like seeing the father-daughter       daughter gets a record deal
which one? If home, what            relationship and the humor in         and pursues it on her own?
equipment did you use?              our videos so we will continue to     Would you become manager if
                                    feature this aspect, even in the      that happens?
A: It was recorded at home          CD artwork and some of the
using a pretty low-tech set up. I   lyrics to our songs.                  A: I know that Amanda's voice
recorded everything using a                                               and charisma are a big part of
Tascam DP-01 digital portas-        Q: Is what we are seeing here         the Barnkickers appeal and she
tudio and a Rode NT1-A              the start of a career in music, or    has musical interests and
condenser microphone. I then        just a hobby that you are             aspirations outside of what we
mixed the tracks on my home         hoping pays for itself? I ask this    do together. If she became
computer using Audacity which       because I see your act as             successful on her own that
is a freeware audio editor. I am    having a charm about it that I        would be wonderful.
having the tracks professionally    just love. I can see you both
mastered.                           enjoying future success.              While I would hope she would
                                                                          seek my advice, I would
Q: Coming from a musical            A: Thank you. I actually did play     imagine it would be hard to
family myself, I know how much      music for a living at one time,       have one of her parents also
fun it is to make music with your   but now it's a hobby and part-        serve as her manager. You hear
own family members. Was this        time job for me. Amanda plans         so many negative stories about
something you did at family         on pursuing a career in music         that sort of thing. Maybe she'd
events?                             which will be her major in            record one of my songs or hire
                                    college. If the Barnkickers leads     me to play bass in her road
A: Occasionally. My father and      to other opportunities for us that    band. That's one way to get a
uncle were also musicians and       would be great but that's not         gig. - excitement, music, lively discussion, and a whole lot more...

The Barnkickers continued...
Q: Are you "signed" with a
record label?

A: No, we've been doing
everything on our own. Our song
"One Less Tear" was included on
a compilation CD and this led
to Amanda being invited to
appear on a radio show here in
Florida. On March 17 at 6 pm
she will be the musical guest on
WSLR 96.5 FM in Sarasota and
they will be playing some tracks
from our CD.

You can listen at this URL:
                                                                      ukulele player is created using                                                   Serif PagePlus page layout and
                                                                      graphic design software.
Q: What are you hoping the
future brings?                                              
A: While it's fun to imagine this
leading to further recognition or
success we really don't have big
aspirations beyond producing
our CD and sharing some music
with our family, friends and the
supportive ukulele community
that we seem to have tapped
into. The Barnkickers came
about very naturally and I think
that accounts for some of the
attention we've gotten so far. It's
not something we hang our
hopes, but if other opportunities
arise we'd be open to them.


Thanks for the interview, Steve.
Many first-time ukulele buyers        ukulele club that meets on a
will go to a music superstore like    regular basis. They play all sorts
Sam Ash or Guitar Center for          of classic tunes and Hawaiian          ukuleles in any price-range
their first ukulele. LIttle do they   favorites as well.                     imaginable.
know that a ukulele is not a
baby guitar. Sure they look like      Noel even entertains various           The shop carries the full-line of
pint-sized guitars and baritone       groups in Texas when she is not        Kala ukes which include
ukes are even tuned like guitars,     helping people in her shop. She        inexpensive laminated models
but ukuleles and guitars are          even played at a benefit for the       and an assortment of solid
vastly different in many ways.        victims of Hurricane Katrina.          wood instruments for the
                                                                             discriminating player. Available
That is why at ukulele player we      When you talk with Noel Tardy          in all sizes, Ohana ukes are
support the small shopkeepers         about buying a ukulele, you            made from classic tone woods
and recommend them. In this           don't feel as though you are           like mahogany, willow, koa,
issue, we are introducing a new       being given the old "hard-sell"        cedar, and spruce.
feature, a retailer spotlight. If     routine. In fact, it is evident that
you have not already guessed          you are speaking with someone          KoAloha ukes are made in
it, we are featuring Noel Tardy,      who lives her passion every day.       Hawaii and really sound great!
and UkeLadyMusic, her shop.           Noel loves the ukulele and is          You'll get that genuine Koa
                                      eager to show you why. She'll          sound of Hawaiian ukuleles. You
Noel is passionate about              go the extra mile to help you          can choose from soprano,
ukulele. She has been running         pick the right instrument for your     concert, or long-necked
her little store for five years. A    needs. She'll even teach you           models and pineapple ukes.
first-time ukulele buyer will find    how to play it in one of her
that she is eager to share a          many classes or workshops.    There are ukuleles at
wealth of information about her                            for every
favorite subject, ukulele.       The shop features KoAloha          budget, but, the best thing is
                                 ukuleles along with Fleas, Flukes, that Noel Tardy is eager to help
UkeLadyMusic is owned and        Johnson ukes, the full line of     you pick the right ukulele for you
operated with the "Spirit of     Kala, Ohana, and Kanile'a          whatever you can afford. Again,
Aloha" and Noel sees all ukulele (including the "Sound Monster"). there's no hard-sell here, just the
enthusiasts as family, ohana in                                     UkeLady spreading that uke
the language of Hawaii.          What is really wonderful about     love around.
                                 UkeLadyMusic is that you will find
To help new-comers to the        everything from the modestly       Check out UkeLadyMusic online:
ukulele scene, Noel offers       priced Johnson ukes to the
classes and workshops, some of custom-built Kanile'a models
which have celebrity players.    available to you. You can          You can shop online, see the
She is a founding member of a choose from a huge supply of          advertisement in this magazine.
        Kala KA-KC-TCE
As part of the retailer spotlight,    have played.
we arranged for a shipment
from UkeLadyMusic. Noel Tardy         The "Shadow" pickup is an
sent us this wonderful new Kala       active electronic model and
ukulele to review.                    has a battery conceiled in a
                                      small compartment that is very
The Kala KA-KC-TCE is a tenor         cleverly designed. It features
ukulele with a solid cedar top,       tone and volume controls.
laminated koa back and sides,
maple binding, and sporting           These are relatively inactive
geared tuners.                        active electronics. In my mind,
                                      that is a good thing. Too much
First off, this is a beautiful        shift in tone control would ruin
instrument and Noel had it            an otherwise great sounding
lovingly packed in a sturdy           instrument. In this case, what
carton stuffed with foam              change in tone occurs from
peanuts. The ukulele itself was       one end of the dial to the other
covered in heavy bubble-wrap.         is very subtle. The volume
It arrived in perfect condition.      control has much broader
                                      range, but if you use this ukulele
This ukulele has great balance.       for recording, just remember
The geared tuners do not make         that a little volume increase
it top-heavy. The neck is             goes a long way.
rounded and comfortable in
my hand and the frets are             Listening to the sound I get from
dressed perfectly. Intonation is      this ukulele in my recording
great all the way up the neck.        studio, I am impressed. This uke
                                      sounds great plugged-in. It             If you are looking for a ukulele
This particular model has a cut-      sounds sweet played tenderly            for live performances and
away to give the player access        and really has some bite when           recording, this is one to
to the top frets on the neck.         you strum it hard. This is one          consider. It looks beautiful,
String tension is higher on a         punchy ukulele.                         sounds great, and is a fantastic
tenor than it is on concert of                                                value for the street price.
soprano ukuleles. It takes a little   The Kala KA-KC-TCE is a nice
more finger pressure to play          ukulele at a downright afforable        Call Noel Tardy for the latest
tenors. This particular specimen      price. It is a little quieter than an   prices and availability.
has a perfect neck and is easy        all solid-wood uke, but, it has
to play, even though it is            great tone both plugged and             UkeLadyMusic (214) 924-0408
narrower than other tenors I          unplugged.                              email:
              Ukulele in Ireland
                         by Charlie Connelly

         hen you think of Ireland,     symbols on it instead. Tell
         what’s the first thing that   someone in Ireland you played
         comes to mind? Well,          the ukulele and they’d look at
ok, apart from Guinness. And           you as if you’d just mooted the
whiskey. Yes, and apart from           flooding of O’Connell Street in
red-haired colleens throwing           order to breed dugongs. There          Around a dozen folk from across
smouldering, coquettish "come          were no clubs, no gatherings,          the country emerged nervously
hither" glances over their             and, as far as I could tell, no        into the room, wide-eyed and
shoulders, too. Oh come on,            ukulele players at all in the entire   open-mouthed at the newly-
music must be up there                 country. For once, uniquely,           acquired knowledge that they
somewhere, mustn’t it?                 Ireland was musically backward.        weren’t ploughing a lonely
                                                                              furrow after all. The day was
Music is an important and              Thank heavens, then, for Tony          hosted by Cool Hand Uke, Dan
popular part of Irish culture. The     Boland. A former television            Scanlan, and it was he who
place is riddled with the stuff.       producer and recently                  coined the term ‘Ukuhooley’ for
When last summer I moved               converted ukevangelist, Tony           our monthly gatherings, making
here from the UK, where there is       spent the first part of 2008           us individually ’ukuhooligans’ .
already a burgeoning ukulele           tirelessly scouring the country for
scene, I expected to find similar      fellow converts, trawling              Only a few months on our
if not more in Ireland. To my          message boards and standing            numbers have grown
surprise, there was practically no     atop the Wicklow mountains             considerably. Curiously for a
uke action to speak of. Music          hollering through cupped               nation traditionally associated
shops would look at you                hands, until, in August of last        with emigration we’re a
askance if you asked for one           year, the first gathering took         cosmopolitan bunch. We’ve
and try to sell you a cheap            place in a large Georgian              regular attendees hailing
bodhran with fake celtic               building in the south of Dublin.       originally from Korea, the
                                                                              Netherlands, the Basque
                                                                              Country, Newfoundland and
                                                                              Scotland as well as folk travelling
                                                                              great distances from some
                                                                              remote parts of Ireland. We’ve
                                                                              also branched out into an
                                                                              additional monthly pub session
                                                                              at a Dublin city centre hostelry.

                                                                              The UK’s Stephen Sproat came
                                                                              over and gave a hugely
                                                                              popular and well-received
                                                                              workshop and there is even
                                                                              hushed and furtive talk of a
                                                                              possible Dublin Ukulele Festival
                                                                              later this year.

                                                                              Ireland was a little slow to join
               Ireland's Own Ukehooleys                                       the ukulele revolution, but we’ve
caught up fast. Music shops           thanks to the tireless work of          Charlie Connelly is a best-selling
here are now stocking a range         Tony Boland, the surge in its           author currently living in Ireland.
of ukes and a number of               popularity appears to be                He has been playing ukulele
excellent performers are              relentless.                             passionately for some time and
emerging into the limelight,                                                  is a frequent contributor on
such as Peter Delaney from            There are many dogs in Ireland,         Ukulele Cosmos and the
Limerick and Angie McLaughlan         but only the best of them have          Ukulele-Ireland Blog.
of the popular Dublin band The        fleas,’ as the old Irish proverb
Sick And Indigent Song Club.          goes. Actually, I just made that        Charlie's latest book, In Search
The ukulele has not yet               up, but it sounds quite good.           of Elvis: A Journey to Find the
supplanted the fiddle, guitar                                                 Man Beneath the Jumpsuit is
and whistle in the Irish                   --------------------------------   available at
subconscious, but, largely                                           and
                                                                              you can read more
Ukulele Ireland Blog:                     about this and his
Peter Delaney:                            other books, including
Sick & Indigent Song club:     his best-seller,
                                                                              Attention All Shipping:
                                                                              A Journey Round the Shipping
                                                                              Forecast at his website:



                                                                              Publisher's note: Ukulele is a
                                                                              great instrument for playing
                                                                              traditional Irish pub songs. If you
                                                                              listen to the Clancy Brothers or
                                                                              other Irish bands of the past,
                                                                              you will find an endless supply of
                                                                              tunes to enjoy with family and

                                                                              Irish pub songs are lyrical in
                                                                              nature and many times are
                                                                              written about an Irishman's two
                                                                              favorite subjects, Irish Women
                                                                              and Irish Whiskey. Oh, but there
                                                                              are plenty of songs about a
                                                                              good mug of ale, too.

                                                                              I recommend "Jug of Punch" for
                                                                              your ukulele club sing-a-long.
                                                                              The last song of the night, of
                                                                              course, is "The Parting Glass"
                                                                              and no pub night is the same
Above: Sainte! Drink to your health, and here's a                             without it.
fine tune from the lad himself, Charlie Connelly, in
the spirit of Erin's Green Aisle.                    Sainte!
            ukulele player presents...
               the great kala ukulele give-a-way

ukulele player, UkeLadyMusic, and Kala Ukuleles came
together to bring you this exciting opportunity. One lucky
reader will win this ukulele.

All you have to do is submit your name, an e-mail
address, and a shipping address so that if you are the
winner, we will be able to ship it to you. You only need to
submit your information one time and you will be in the
running for all of the Kala Ukulele give-a-ways.

You read about UkeLadyMusic. You read about this
actual ukulele in this issue of ukulele player, now, here is
your chance to win. Follow the instructions below...

note: if you have trouble with the form, e-mail your entry

Go to this website and fill in the form and click the submit
button for your CHANCE to win. There is no purchase
necessary. One submission per person will be counted. The
lucky winner will be drawn from a hat on the 24th of January
and the winner will be announced on Ukulele-Cosmos,
Ukulele Underground, and Flea Market Music.

 Thanks for reading ukulele player. Thank You UkeLadyMusic
        and thanks to Kala Ukuleles for their support.
Ukulele Club Listings...
If you would like to list your club here, submit contact information
at this website:
or e-mail me at this address:
We will add you to our list.


Nuked Ukes
We are in Auburn California. Welcoming players from all levels.
contact: Loyce Smallwood'sblog


The Ukulele Club of Southern Connecticut and the
KookeeUkie Ukulele Band.

We welcome players of all skill levels and offer classes
for those new to the ukulele. Check our web site at
Pete Johnson


Tampa Bay Ukulele Society

Each meeting will start with a group lesson followed by an informal jam session
for players of all levels. Everyone gets a chance to call a few tunes.

Kansas (and Western Missouri)

Kansas City Ukesters

New Mexico                                                               
       Ukulele Clubs continued
The High Desert Sand Fleas

Meet the 2nd & 4th Thursday of each month at the
Albuquerque Press Club [6pm - 9pm]
2101 Highland Park Circle
Albuquerque, New Mexico - USA
contact: Stephen Hunt

COUP (Central Ohio Ukulele Peeps)


Robert S. Sparkman

Lone Star Ukulele Club (in North Dallas)

The Dallas Ukulele Headquarters
Go to and search The
Dallas Ukulele Headquarters to join the group. Lots of fun events and jams!

CHUG - Coffee House Ukulele Gang
Fort Worth, Texas

Brief: This wild west group of uke enthusiasts meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of
every month.

Contact Steve for more info. (


Vermont Ukulele Society
Meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month.


Seattle Ukulele Players Association (SUPA)



Ukulele Society of Great Britain
      Ukulele Clubs continued
43 Finstock Road, London W10 6LU
Tel: 020 8960 0459

Cambridge Ukulele Co-operative [Cuckoo]
Meet alternate Sundays 2pm-6pm
The Portland ArmsCambridge CB4 3BAIf
you're cuckoo about ukes come and join us.
Ukulele Philharmonic Orchestra of Sudbury
Tuesdays evenings from 7.00pm
The Institute, Station Road, Sudbury Suffolk CO10 2SP
Beginners Welcome

Uke Wednesday Jam
Every Wednesday 7 till closing
Downstairs @ The Royal George
Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0EA, U.K.
contact: Quinc

SCUPA - Second City Ukulele Players Association

Venue: The Camp Inn, 1 Camp Lane, Kings Norton, Birmingham
West Midlands B38 8SP

Details: We aim to accommodate beginners as well as more
experienced players, playing popular songs both old and new on
figure-of-eight ukuleles. We meet weekly on Tuesdays at 7:30pm in the upstairs
room at The Camp Inn.

Call or text Jon 0787 353 1161 or email: for more information.

Whickham & District Social Club
Simonside View, Whickham, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE16 4AQ.
We meet every 2nd Wednesday 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM.

UkeGlos Ukulele Club

Meets on first & third Mondays every month, 8.00pm at The
Strand Wine Bar,
40 High St, Cheltenham, Glos.

Wooden & banjo ukes welcome. All levels of playing ability
& song styles. For full details visit:
      Ukulele Clubs continued

Irish ukulele club meets on the second saturday of
each month.Players from all over Ireland. Ukeplayers of all levelswelcome. If
you are a visiting uke player please feel free to come along. The meetups are
held at 2, eden park, Dunlaoire, Co. Dublin

South Wales

Ukulele Nights
meet on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month at 8.30pm.
The Albion, Glebe Street, Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales

Contact: Sarah Thomas:
(for songbooks, directions and more. Beginners very welcome)


Ukulele Club of Germany (home page) (message board)


Ukulele Jamboree in Rotterdam - hosted by 'The Uke Box'
The night is comprised of a workshop, performances & open mic.

To Join the Mailing List send an e-mail to:

To read more about this and our other ukulele projects go to: (Dutch)
Visit my personal blog spot and click on 'Ukulele' under "Contents" (English) http:/

Note: Shelley has an Etsy store where you can find ukulele related items for
sale, check it out:
Lone Star Ukulele Festival
dates are 4/30-5/2 in Dallas
UkeLadyMusic and The Dallas Ukulele Headquarters are organizing the event.
more information coming soon.

UK Ukefest

July 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th 2009
Run Cottage
Suffolk IP12 3RQ
more information available soon on
 Essential Links from the World-Wide-Web
UkeTalk -
"Ukulele Spoken Here" is one phrase that comes to mind. It you want to talk
ukulele or catch all the news that is news, this is a can't miss website.

Brudda Bu's Ukulele Heaven
If you'd like to learn the history of some of ukulele's greatest players, this site is
absolutely essential.

Ukulelia -
The World's Greatest Ukulele WebLog" Need I say more?

Ukulele Cosmos -
One of the hottest ukulele forums on the web. Don't Miss It!

Ukulele Underground
Another really popular ukulele forum, lots of Hawaiian players and folks from the
West Coast of the Mainland USA.

Flea Market Music -
This is Jumpin' Jim Beloff's website. He has lots of great resources and an
excellent forum as well. You can buy Flukes and Fleas there, too. Jim also has
lots of songbooks, DVDs, and other great stuff there.

UkeLadyMusic -
Auntie Noel runs a really great shop. Her passion is ukulele and it shows.
Contact Us: phone 214-924-0408
or email

Kiwi Ukulele
New Zealand's Ukulele Companion

Bounty Music

Bounty Music Maui
111 Hana Hwy. #105
Kahului, Maui, HI 96732
open 9 :00 to 6:00 Monday thru Saturday * Sunday 10:00 to 4:00

Phone: (808) 871-1141
Fax: (808) 871-1138

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