VIEWS: 267 PAGES: 23 POSTED ON: 1/21/2011
issue 1 help you find a club in your New Magazine for Ukulele area. Players and Enthusiasts We'll list venues that bring in entertainment from the ukulele world. We'll also provide you with If you are reading this, you have probably already discovered the information on ukulele festivals joy and entertainment value of the ukulele. and other events world-wide. In the past several years there have been a growing number of You can visit a simple website people buying their first ukulele with the intent of learning to play. that will list all the issues we Many of them played other instruments previously. Many were publish in a downloadable PDF guitarists first and took up the uke for a host of reasons. file that will look just like a printed magazine. That means Some ukulele enthusiasts were music lovers that always wanted to no invasive advertisements, no play an instrument but found the guitar was difficult and a piano popups, no spam, just ukulele was just too big and heavy to move. A soprano ukulele is so small news, reviews, and information and lightweight that you can carry one anywhere. With just four you can use. strings, the uke is easy to play and is surprisingly versatile. www.tricornpublications.com / ukulele player is dedicated to you, the ukulele player. You don't ukulele_player.htm have to be a pro. You don't have to be a recording artist. You don't have to belong to a club, but if you hope to learn and play -- Mickey Maguire, publisher music with other people, then this magazine is for you. Within ukulele player we will feature news and information about what's inside... the ukulele world. We will bring you articles about celebrities in the cover - introduction community of ukulele players, up and coming individuals with star potential, and collectors or just ukulele afficiendos that have p2. Artist Spotlight Craig Robertson become known in chat boards and ukulele blogs on the Internet. p5. Luthier's Corner... an interview with Dave Gjessing, Waverly Street ukulele player will also feature product reviews and we'll provide you with news and information from the industry. We'll interview p8. Applause UAE20e review some of the shakers and movers in the world of luthiers and do profiles of some hobbiest turned pro. We'll also provide how-to p9. Martin S-0 review articles on recording songs and even songwriting. p10. Amber Nash, On the Rise In the way of useful information, we plan to publish lists of clubs p13. Ukulele Cosmos Interview around the globe and provide you with contact information to At the show I attended, Craig played ukulele. He plays a bunch of instruments and I'd love to see him perform with all of them on a single night, but I don't know if he ever does that sort of performance. On a ukulele, though, Craig exhibits presenting... Craig Robertson superb technique as he sings and plays one of his stable of finely crafted instruments. An artist spotlight would not be There are some people that banter with the audience. complete without an interview. were born to be performers and musicians. They seem to be in The "live" experience cannot be I asked Craig if I could interview their element on stage and at captured adequately in video. him for this debut issue of the microphone. This issue's You really have to be there to ukulele player and he agreed artist spotlight features one such appreciate the interaction to the intervew. individual. between the artist and the crowd. That is a very big part of Note: Most of our interviews are I had the pleasure of attending the show and Craig handles the conducted via e-mail. This one of Craig Robertson's shows listening audience as well as means that answers you see in and, indeed, it was a pleasure. anyone I've seen. the magazine are typically what was written in response to our Craig Robertson is not just a On stage, Craig is smooth and questions with little editing. ukulele player. He is a singer, a puts on a polished tune-smith, a lyricist, and an performance. He steps up to Q: I've seen you perform and artist. From the moment he the microphone and briefly you put on a really great show. takes the stage 'til the lights go introduces himself, then into a How long have you been down, Craig is putting on a song he goes. During the performing music on stage? show. course of the night he will talk with the crowd and by the end A: I have a photo of myself There is more to playing music of the show, you are left wanting onstage in a folk club in Los and singing songs than many more. That's a sign of a true Angeles in 1966. EEk! I think I people realize. A successful performing artist. started performing a couple performer is one that is years before that. confident, comfortable, and can work the crowd. A live Q: I know that you play guitar as performance is really a well as ukulele. Which came collaboration between the first? listening audience and the performing artist, and Craig fully A: Guitar, definitely. I've only understands that. been playing ukulele for the last ten years or so. I love guitar, Watching Craig put on a show, I acoustic, electric or slide. It has realized that he was a a great voice. seasoned professional. He even made tuning his ukulele Note: Craig plays a pretty mean entertaining with his jokes and slide guitar, let me tell you. Craig Robertson Interview cont... puts it somewhere between a Q: I think of you not just as Craig soprano and a concert. I prefer Robertson, the performer, you Q: I know you have several uku- the soprano size for its sweet are an artist, sure enough, but leles, what are some of your voice. I have a tenor and a you are also quite a songsmith. favorites and why? Harmony Baritone I play once in When did you first start writing a while. songs? Did you start with a A: That's a tough question to collaboration or just start on your answer, since I have so many Q: You crafted an entire image, own? custom ukuleles right now. My a stage persona, if you will, but favorite ukuleles are the 14 inch it seems to be a part of the real A: I can remember writing songs scale Stewart LeDomino... but Craig Robertson. Was there any when I was 13 or so. I think it was the ones I own have taken quite design behind this or was it a because I was just too lazy to a beating from being played natural progression? learn covers properly. It was so much; so I don't play out with always easier for me to make them any more. A: Persona? What persona? up something and just play it. Oh... THAT one. No, if you want For performing I mostly use to know the REAL reason I Also, I come from a poetry custom made ukuleles, started playing ukulele... it was background. I used to write because they are more stable because the ukulele is a great immense amounts of poetry. on stage and are able to take accessory for my fedoras. Still do sometimes. I was the rigors of performing. Some published in four or five small of the ones I'm playing right now NOTE: Watching Craig perform periodicals about twenty years are: The "Le Noir" soprano from on stage, and jamming with ago. Shit, there's less money Pete Howlett, Two "Josephines" Craig off stage, I really do get being a Poet than even a from Kevin Crossett of Kepasa the feeling that with him, what Musician! Ukuleles, a concert "Devil you see is what you get. Sure, Mermaid" from Peter Hurney of there is an image that he Q; Ukulele Noir, the whole show Pohaku and a Dias reproduction projects, the vintage clothing, has become very widely known from Dave Means of Glyph. I fedora, the ukulele, but that in the ukulele world. How did the also occasionally play a 50s really does seem to be the REAL show begin? Gibson Tenor tuned to Bb on Craig. He is the living stage. embodiment of an entertainer. A: A little over four years ago I was hosting an Open Mic at the Q: How long was it before you Q: You have a lot of musical Sky Bar in Somerville, Mass. I started playing "live" with a talent and you really play the would get up and do a few ukulele? audience. Was that always a songs on the ukulele and then a part of your act or did it take bunch of guys and girls with A: I think I took it on stage about time to acquire that ability? guitars would do their bit. The a year after I started playing it. word got around, I guess, and Usually if I write a song on an A: No way. It took a lot of area ukulele players like jazz uke instrument, I feel more performing before I was even afficiendo Mark Occhionero comfortable doing the song on halfway comfortable on stage. and Greg Hawkes of The Cars that instrument. Everyone gets nervous about fame began showing up and performing and everyone playing. Not too long after that I Q: On stage I have only seen handles it differently. Some suggested we have an "all you play soprano ukuleles. Is drink, some smoke, some re- ukulele" night. Ukulele Noir was that your preference? block their hat... but everyone the name I chose because I like gets nervous. Doing it a lot Film Noir and my songs are A: The LeDomino I prefer is makes you appear more pretty dark. After the first one I actually a 14 inch scale, which comfortable with it! found that a lot of people wanted to see it and I did it A: All 13 songs on this CD are again and again... new. None have ever been recorded before. Q: You mentioned that Greg Ukulele Noir has many regular performers and guest artists from the Hawkes has been a special Q: So, what comes next? uke world. Here are a few of those: guest performing artist on the show, and, of course, Robert A: More recording and a little Wheeler. Who are some of the traveling and touring. other artists that have performed on Ukulele Noir? Q: Ukulele has become so popular these days and A: Cripes...most everyone who performers are getting a lot plays ukulele. From John King to more attention now. Do you see Folk Uke. If you go to the Ukulele that as a disadvantage at Noir website you can see some times? of the guest performers. A: Only when the attention is not Q: Have you ever thought accompanied by money. about doing a live album from Craig Ukulele Noir? Q: Now that gasoline prices are dropping down to what they A: It's been talked about, but, were several years ago, have you know, I really like the "live you thought about touring a performance" aspect of the little farther from home, or is show. If you're there, you'll see Ukulele Noir keeping you busy something you will never see enough in Boston area? again. You will hear it in a more conducive atmosphere. And A: I will be doing some traveling, you can drink. and, if I have a Ukulele Noir, it will be with local players. Q: You have a new CD, tell me about it. What instruments are Mark you playing on this one? Occhionero A: The new CD is called Fred Fallin "DeChirico Street" and it comes out Dec. 7th 2008. thirteen songs, all mine. I actually played all the instruments on this one. Ukuleles, Bass guitar, acoustic guitar, slide guitar, lap steel, accordion and Robert Wheeler tambourine (can't forget that!) Q: I've heard some of the songs Ukulele Man performed "live" in Columbus, Ohio, how many songs are on Tom Harker Craig always puts on a great show. If the new CD and have any you get the opportunity to see a live been on previous collections? performance, don't pass it up. I had a chance to sit down and talk with Dave about his ukuleles and how long he'd been building musical instruments, where he is headed with this and what we can expect to see down the road. Waverly Street Ukes Q: How long have you been making ukuleles? A: Since March of 2007. I had the good fortune of That makes it physically meeting Dave Gjessing of impossible for the bridge to pop Q: So why ukuleles? Waverly Street Ukes at the very off a Waverly Street Uke. first meeting of the Columbus A: I used to make Appalachian Ohio Ukulele Peeps (COUP) that I Another innovation is the way dulcimers, seventeen of them, attended. that Dave mounts the neck on actually. I got away from it for a his ukuleles. The body and neck time and hadn't made anything Jeff Fink, known on Ukulele appear to be seamlessly since the Mid Seventies. I made Cosmos forum as "Juke Jeff" bonded and a hardwood fret- a couple of "box fiddles" too. I told me that Dave would be at board sits above the neck. tried to play violin a little bit, not the coming COUP gathering There is no binding on the neck well enough for anyone to listen and have some of his ukuleles or body. The headstock sports to. In the winter of 2006 I was there. I was looking forward to Dave's logo down by the nut. sitting around and thought, it meeting Dave and seeing his would be fun to have an ukuleles first hand. At the nut, I found another instrument to play. I went over to innovation. Dave cuts a "V" Sam Ash Music and I saw Dave has been a wood-crafter shaped slot for each string to ukuleles and I thought they were for a long time. He has a shop prevent buzzing so common in "cool looking" and I bought a at home and spends a lot of factory-made ukuleles. "cheap" uke. The intonation was time working at the bench when off and the frets were in the he is not running his computer wrong place. Even so, I could software business. One of the go online to "Chordie" or some assets of a computer site like that and type in the programmer is being able to name of a song, download the find creative solutions to chords and just start playing. complex problems. Typically, the simpler the fix, the better it Q: So you started playing works. Dave uses that same ukuleles before you attempted principle when building his building them? ukuleles. He built his own forms and has created new and A: Well, after my experience innovative ways of doing things. with the cheap ukulele from Sam Ash, I thought, "Why don't I Looking at Dave's ukes, I found try to build one." So I started some distinguishing features working on making my own uke. that I had not seen before. For one thing, the strings go through Q: So far, I have seen soprano the bridge from inside out. ukes and long-necked sopranos, a couple of pineapple ukuleles, banjo ukes (banjoleles), and the new "prim" inspired tear-drop shaped ukes, really cool, by the way, do you have any plans to make "concert" ukuleles? A: Well, the "prim" ukes are concert-scale. I am in the process of making forms for standard shaped concert ukuleles. When the forms are ready I'll be able to make prim-inspired ukulele concert ukes in standard size and shape. Q: Will you be making tenor ukuleles in the future as well? A: The equipment I have right now is not large enough to make tenor or baritone ukes. Q: You have been building ukuleles from Appalachian hardwoods, do you plan to build any ukuleles in exotic woods, like rosewood, mahogany, or koa? prim's maple back A: I have thought about it, but, right now, my cost of materials is pretty affordable. If I bought exotic woods for ukuleles, their prices would have to be much higher. If you compare my prices to some of my competitors, you'd see that the real difference is material costs. I would have to sell my ukuleles for a lot more if I wanted to use exotic tone-woods. Right now, though, the price of my ukes compared with other luthiers is about the same for the "labor" involved, the difference is really the cost of materials. banjo-uke a.k.a. "banjolele" Q: How many ukuleles are you A: Well, not really. I buy sets of from that supply of finished making per month? files and I take one that is units. It is easier that way. I do somewhat leaf-blade shaped take requests for special builds, A: If I build four at a time, I can and cut down its sides a bit so too, but selling from stock on complete three or four in a that the tip is triangular. I cut the hand is easier and faster. Buy month, but, I am just doing this string slots in the "nut" and after one today, I'll ship right away. in my spare time at this point. it is in place, I file down the string slots with that triangulated Q: Having built ukuleles, Q: How many instruments have blade file so that the string sits in banjoleles and prim-inspired you built in all? a little "V" shaped notch. That instruments, do you anticipate means it really can't buzz. I trying your hand at guitars in A: About 70 instruments. Well, literally eyeball the strings and I the future? the seventeen dulcimers and finger chords to check string the rest are ukuleles. height. Then, I play test every A: No, guitars are really a lot ukulele to make sure it's perfect. different. You have much more Q: I know that you have your I fine tune it at the end. bracing and lots of other ukulele plans for sale on your differences in overall website. Is there interest in Q: You are experimenting with construction. My equipment is those? Are they selling? different techniques. The neck really made specifically for the on this "prim" ukulele is really size range I need to make A: Yes, actually, they are. I don't beautiful. What is so unique ukuleles. know if this means anything, but about what you are doing here? most of my buyers are from the Q: Do you repair ukuleles and UK. I have been selling oh, A: I have build a lot of ukuleles other instruments? maybe one set of plans every with walnut fret-boards. Most three weeks or so. makers are using rosewood or A: I do minor repairs. I reset a ebony. What I have done here neck on a guitar not long ago. I Q: So what is the hardest part is used tight-grained oak have done a few repairs, but, about making a ukulele? stained to look like ebony. The building new instruments has grain is very similar to ebony, in kept me pretty busy. A: Making the neck. I use a fact. Oak is a very hard wood band saw and cut the basic with a similar grain, but, it is less Q: Have you planned building shape. I trim it down. Then I use expensive, being an an acoustic-electric uke? a rasp to curve the corners and Appalachian hardwood. The shape it. Then I sand it smooth. result is a beautiful fret-board A: I put a little piezo mic I that is very durable, fairly light, bought from Radio Shack in a Q: How much time does it take and every bit as beautiful as ukulele to see what it would be to do all of that work? ebony. like, but people told me that it sounded awful. It was tinny and A: I can make the neck in about Q: Start to finish, how long does sounded really bad. I haven't two hours. it take you to build one ukulele? thought anymore about it. Q: Your set-ups are really great. I A: It takes ten to twelve hours of Q: So, how many years have been very impressed with labor to build one ukulele. The experience do you have every ukulele I've seen. They are time it takes me to ship an order building musical instruments? all very playable and there are on a "commissioned" uke is no buzzing strings. The about three weeks. I'd rather not A: I have thirty-four years intonation is great. Is there some sell that way, if given a choice. I experience building dulcimers, neat little tool that you've like building them and putting box fiddles, and ukulele. created to get it this way? them online for sale and selling With a solid spruce top, this ukulele does put out more sound than some previous models made by Applause. One big change in this model is the use of passive rather than active electronics. The benefit here is that you don't have to Applause UAE20e worry about changing batteries during a performance. Without a screwdriver, the way Kaman Corporation, the guys best suit their own playing style this uke is constructed, you that make Ovation, Takemine, and preferences. would not be able to change and Hamer guitars, produces one anyway. the Applause ukulele UAE20e. I was very impressed with these ukuleles the first time I heard This ukulele was made for the The UAE20e is a soprano uke one played live. Ukulele Man, stage. It has everything a with a small body and a big Tom Harker uses one and I performing musician needs at a sound. watched him perform using this very modest price. You can find same model. His sounded great one online between $170 and The model we review here has and so does this one. $180 dollars (US). I'd a matte black finish, twenty little recommend a hard case to "acoustic holes", crimson This little uke is a tad heavier protect it. Something this sweet colored geared Grover tuners, a than most solid wood deserves a hardshell case. lyrachord rounded back, and instruments, but, it is also passive electronics. rugged and can be taken Our recommendation is that if almost anywhere without worry. you gig, you need one of these. From the factory, the ukulele It holds tune very well, even If you must have a wooden uke, was supplied with clear GHS under adverse conditions. That well, you might be put off by this strings. The first thing we did was may be attributed to the one, but, give it a try, you'll be remove those and install Aquila lyrachord back. glad you did. Nylguts (imitation gutt nylon strings). That gave this little axe a louder voice unplugged, and a nice bright voice through the electronics. The rosewood fretboard is nicely finished and sports pearl-like dots at the fifth, seventh, tenth, and twelth frets. The frets are nicely dressed and there are no sharp edges. Straight from the factory box the action was a little high. That is typical of most mass-produced ukuleles. That way, a player can have the action lowered to http://www.ukulelecosmos.com - excitement, music, lively discussion, and a whole lot more... Martin S-0 Review After abandoning the ukulele for none of them had any issues many years Martin Guitar that I could tell. I even bought Company returned to the scene one and played it for a year or with the tiny S-0, based on the two. I sold it to a musician who original vintage "0" style ukulele. planned to use it on stage every now and then. In the 1920s, Martin ukuleles were so popular that even Martin must have enjoyed some Hawaiian players were all success with the S-0, because grabbing them. It seems that they have since released a everywhere people were either whole series of reproductions of playing a Martin or a knock-off previously designed "classic of one. ukuleles" from the Golden Age of the uke in America. The Martin "0" was brought to life anew in the "S-0", at least it One thing I can say for certain, sans gig bag. I don't know. They would appear. The new S-0 is the specimen that I have don't have gig bags for their essentially built on the same played all had wonderful fit and Ovation Applause ukes, but their plan as the original, but it is finish. They were boisterous little Flukes and Fleas all have gig assembled in Mexico to save instruments, surprisingly so. They bags. manufacturing costs. all had excellent intonation. I really wish that Martin had If you ask many long-time If you are not familiar with it, the something similar to Aquila players and collectors, they S-0 is a soprano ukulele built top Nylgut strings. The S-0 sounded might tell you to buy a vintage to bottom from solid much better after I swapped "0" rather than the S-0, but, give mahogany. The nut is Dupont the Martins that came on it with one a try. You might really love it Corian and the saddle is my choice of strings. and for $299, an all solid Micarta. It sports Gotoh friction mahogany Martin uke is not a tuners. This uke is fully spec'd I bought one of the S-0 ukes bad player and may even with solid mahogany, even in from Sam Ash and they could prove to be a good investment the internal bracing. not find the gig bag that is with the popularity of ukuleles supposed to come with them. increasing. You may have heard rumors They gave me a Martin that this little ukulele had some mandolin gig bag for it. While I have enjoyed every S-0 I've quality issues, if that is the case, thickly padded, it did not fit as played thus far. You can find by the time I got my hands on a well as the one that should have them at Sam Ash, Musician's few of them, those problems been with it. Maybe Sam Ash Friend, Elderly Instruments, and must have been resolved. I worked out some deal to buy other music stores online and in have played several now and these ukuleles from Martin your neighborhood. Q: Amber, I know that you are in Cincinnati and by day, you are a school teacher. After hours, you are Amber Nash, member of UkeBucket, ukulele player, and singer-songwriter. A: Actually, I'm trying to get Amber Nash away from the "of ukebucket" part. ukebucket was more of a project between two long-time singer-songwriter on the rise... friends, Rikk Palmer and Barry Canfield. Right now I'm really just trying to focus on my solo When you grow up surrounded Music is one of my passions. As stuff and meeting and playing by professional musicians and such, I find it a pleasure when I with as many local musicians as singers, like I did, you see and meet someone that justs loves I can. hear a lot. Stories of struggling to sing and play. You know that artists and rags to riches tales sort of person by the smile that Q: How long have you played are everywhere. Occasionally, never seems to leave their face ukulele? you come across someone with whether on stage or jamming. an uncommon voice, someone A: I've been playing for about 4 that has star potential, Amber Before I met Amber face-to- years. Nash is one of those people. face, I saw a few of the videos that she posted on YouTube Q: I know that when we first met, and heard some of her songs you came to Mid Ohio to meet on MySpace. Oh, yes, this is one with "Columbus Ohio Ukulele talented lady. Meeting her was Peeps" a.k.a. COUP. You a treat. Not only did she have a brought a "Fluke" ukulele with great voice, she has lots of you. Do you still play it? energy and an endless supply of enthusiasm. What's even A: I remember that first meeting! better is that she writes and Having so many uke enthusiasts performs original material, too. in one room was awesome! But yes, I'll still play my Fluke from I wanted to interview Amber for time to time. Right now I'm this issue of ukulele player letting a friend borrow it. I am because hers is a fresh young spreading the uke love! I think face emerging on the music Jumpin' Jim would be proud. scene and she is not far from where I live, in Columbus, Ohio. Q: You have a great voice. Amber is based in Cincinnati. When did you first start singing? Cincinnati is a music town. A: Why, thank you! I guess I I met Amber in a very casual started singing in high school setting, just a gathering of There have been acts large and small since the early days of when I auditioned for the show ukulele players that assemble choir. I was very much into from time-to-time and play jazz and swing. What a great place for an up and coming theatre at the time and REALLY music for recreation and wanted to be in the choir. I friendship. So, in walks Amber artist to live and begin her career in the music business. remember I sang "Moon River." with a Fluke and a smile. I think that was my sophomore and my passions and interests with pretty shallow lyrics but year of high school. change pretty frequently. I think amazing music. I try to pull from it's only natural that my music lots of different places. As far as Q: When did you know that you reflects that. an influence regarding my wanted to play solo gigs before ukulele playing... I'm afraid I'm an audience? Q: How many ukuleles do you not good enough for my now own? I know of the Fluke, a influences to really take effect! A: Well, I've loved performing for baritone, is there a concert uke But, I think the two that stand out a long time, pretty much since in your stable? What else? in my mind are Victoria Vox the 7th grade when I started in and Craig Robertson. They write community theatre in A: Right now I have a concert original music, stick to their Shelbyville, Indiana. But I've only Pono, a Fluke, and a Regal guns, and do their own since really gotten into playing baritone. I'd love to have thing. Victoria is an inspiration solo original music. It's very more, but my bank account as a female singer-songwriter strange. It's a much different won't let me. I've been toying and Craig is...well...pretty much feeling than performing with a with the idea of getting a just awesome. cast in a play or even playing custom from Peter Hurney. with others in a band. I like it. I Q: Tell me about ukebucket... hope to do more of it. Q: Let's talk about your songs. I How did it begin? have heard "Canary in a Coal Q: I know that you'd love to Mine" and "No Doz and Booze", A: Ukebucket consists of myself, have a career in music. Is there how many other songs have Rikk Palmer, and Barry Canfield. a particular genre that you you written? I've known Rikk forever. His favor? mom was my kindergarten A: I've probably written over 40 teacher and he was my A: I would definitely love to have or so, what with Project 52, my brother's best friend growing a career in music, although my work with ukebucket, and my up. We started playing music day job does have me spoiled current writing purge. together after we did a show in a bit with that steady paycheck! Rushville, Indiana when we were You know, I've thought about Q: Do you have any influences both in high school. It was Jesus the whole "genre" thing. I'm still vocally? How about as a Christ Superstar; I was Mary not quite sure where I fall. I think songwriter or ukulele player? Magdalene and he played that a label might have to electric guitar in the pit. We come later. Right now I'm just A: I listened to a lot of musical theatre growing up, so I'm sure started writing songs then. writing what comes to me and I'm not really thinking about if it that's had an impact. Julie From then until we met Barry, fits with a particular style. I guess Andrews was my hero when I which was early college, we just I could be put in the "singer- was a kid, as well as Liza Minelli. Some Ella Fitzgerald has tinkered around, recorded (he songwriter" category. majored in audio recording so it probably rubbed off on me along the way as well. I've been was great for both of us!), and Q: I know thus far, you have wrote whatever popped into our recorded a rather ecclectic mix told I sound like Norah Jones, Sara McLachlan or Allison heads. After meeting Barry and of tunes. Can we expect more Krauss. As a songwriter, I think I jamming more often, we of the same? just listen to a LOT of music. I decided to start working toward keep an open ear, and hear an "end product" to our time A: I hope so. I think if I marry what others are doing. together. Gigging was never myself to a certain style of really mentioned... I think we just music I'm going to feel too Sometimes when I feel that my wanted something to show for stifled. My personality is very lyrics are trite, I'll listen to a band all those years of playing ecclectic, or so I've been told, together and making music. So for the past year and a half or Q: Tell me a little about your A: Thanks! It was really hard to two years or so, we've been collaboration work with Jodi keep my cool... hence all the working on the album, Mathews, Dirty LIttle Secret. I ridiculous outtakes. I have had a sometimes steadily and know that you have done a few lot of comments about that sometimes... not steadily. recordings and videos. Is there video. Folks seem to like it when anything else planned? I play it live, as well. Although, We recorded it in Orlando, I'm not able to do the kazoo Florida. As of now we're not A: Jodi's great. She's so fun to part because I don't have a really collaborating. The record with. I hope to do more kazoo holder yet. I think this is distance makes that pretty videos, definitely. I believe I met the main reason why I need a difficult. I wrote the songs, Jodi through the Ukulele roadie. Any takers? except for the last track, and Cosmos (online forum). Rikk and Barry added what they Q: You did a cover of "The Way I felt necessary. It was a really fun Q: You have a video with a toy Am" and it was really great! I project. piano... who came up with that think I was a fan at that point. idea? Have you thought about writing Q: There are not many players some material with similar style? that I have known in Cincinnati, A: Well, I think Jodi just had it in is that changing? her living room when I was there A: That is a really great song. a while back. I remember Ingrid Michaelson is also a A: Sadly, there are not a lot of getting really excited about it. singer-songwriter I respect and ukulele musicians in Cincinnati, I've always wanted a toy piano. admire. I think that vocal style at least not ones that gig. I'm not sure who came up with will come along in my music, There are a few, though, the idea... probably Jodi. She's sometime. although none feature the uke pretty creative. full time (not that I know of). Q: So, what lies ahead? Q: Rumor is that you are I played a show with a group, learning to play guitar. How is A: I'm in the very beginning Sara Songbird and the that coming? Will we hear any stages of a solo album. I'm Moontoons, that played the uke new recordings featuring guitar figuring out my song list, writing on a couple of numbers. A anytime soon? new songs, and figuring out friend of mine is just starting a instrumentation and things like A: I AM learning to play guitar! that. I don't really have a band that uses it in a couple It's coming along nicely, timeline for it, but I'll keep folks numbers as well, actually, they'll although the guitar strings are a posted. I'm going to have my proabably be using my Fluke. I LOT harder on my fingers than own website here in a month or think the word is spreading. the uke ones! I'm learning new so, so I'll hopefully start to Q: So with UkeBucket being on chords bit by bit, though. I think promote things a little more hiatus, have you found another the guitar is going to start through that. I'm really excited group? popping up a lot more, maybe to enter the 2008 Bushman with some ukulele solos as Ukulele World Video Contest. I'm A: Right now I don't have a well. The last two songs I've going to collaborate with a "group". I've met some local written have been on guitar. couple of friends... so look for musicians that I plan to play that. Generally, I think just with, though, and something Q: The kazoo on Canary in a playing out as much as I can might come from that. I've got Coal Mine, you really had me and meeting musicians is my a duet thing going, and also laughing. I watched the out- focus. I think that might open possibly a trio female group with takes and they were really cute. some doors for me, as well as uke, percussion, and cello. Have you had a lot of doing interviews with kind and comments about them? gracious folks like yourself! Special Feature Interview Alli Bee, Founder of Ukulele Cosmos First, I'd like to take a moment to Q: "Alli Bee", you are the founder tired of the ads that regularly introduce Ukulele Cosmos to our of Ukulele Cosmos. Tell me took over every post! In its readers. about how it all began. What current incarnation it has been was the incentive for creating a active since July 2006 Ukulele Cosmos is an Internet- ukulele forum? How old is based forum, a bulletin board, if Cosmos, now? Q: So, why the name "Alli Bee"? you will, that is dedicated to all things ukulele. While other A: It all began when I was very A: Well, my forename name is forums exist on the topic, new to playing the ukulele. I was Allison and my surname starts Ukulele Cosmos is set apart looking around online and with a ‘B’. Like a lot of people from the others in many ways. found a few forums but they using the internet I was cautious were all based in the USA. I of giving my full name so I People can visit the forum and needed to ask questions about opted for ‘Alli Bee’. Some of my become part of the community how to get hold of decent ukes friends in my day to day life call of players from around the in the UK and wanted to make me that anyway so it fits nicely. world. The participants contact with other UK players in Since becoming quite deeply contribute a lot by sharing order to learn. I found Ray involved with the ukulele techniques, video clips, audio Shakeshaft’s website community, and having been recordings and lots of insight (www.ukuke.co.uk) which was lucky enough that quite a few into playing and entertaining really informative and did put players I’ve met online have with ukuleles. me in touch with other UK come to stay at my house here players, but the only thing it in Suffolk, my home is now Thanks to the hard work of Alli, didn’t have was a forum. I felt it referred to by some as “The Cosmos has built relationships would be beneficial for us UK Beehive”. Quite nice I think. It with the manufacturers of players to have somewhere conjures up an image of ukuleles, and local shops online where we could stay in organised chaos, which anyone (based in the UK), and these constant contact. So, what who has visited will tell you is an relationships have enabled Alli started as something for UK uke apt description of my life to conduct special prize players has grown into an generally! drawings and other events that international forum with new keep people coming home to members from every corner of [Editor's Note: A large number of Cosmos for their ukulele fix. the planet signing up every day. Cosmos members are from the The Cosmos will be four years USA and other countries. Ukulele Cosmos is FREE to the old in July 2009. It was originally Cosmos does not show readers and contains a wealth set up on a free site but that favoritism toward members in of information. Donations are only lasted for about a year Great Britain. While it is based in accepted. because we all got sick and the UK, it is totally impartial] Q: Ukulele Cosmos has comes with that, twinned with Room) who is one of the most become "the place to be" the regularity that people pop in helpful vendors out there. The online when it comes to ukulele to catch up on the day’s gossip! only downside is that I can’t put forums. How long after you my name in the hat for these started did that happen? Q: JukeJeff contacted me and give-aways since I’m the one told me to check out Cosmos, pulling the names out! In A: It’s very kind of you to say so! that's how I found it. Do most addition to the promoted give- It started quite quickly. I knew a people find Cosmos by word of aways there are also all kinds of lot of people online already mouth, or do you advertise? swaps going on. I’ve given a from various other forums and banjo-uke to someone that had help from some of them to A: Word of mouth is probably wanted one and I’ve had some set up the Cosmos as it is now, the biggest form of referral, lovely ukes given to me by for which I am eternally grateful. whether that be face to face or generous souls. Of course there So, a lot of people were there links via other websites. Internet is also the exchange of at the start but the membership search engines are next in line. information from professional has risen in line with the general I don’t advertise the Cosmos as uke makers like Pete Howlett, to rise in popularity of the such although I did add it to the Arch Larizza sharing his instrument. I’m not sure that the Wikipedia entry on ukuleles! technical knowledge. Every current interest in the ukulele day is a give-away of some sort would have been quite so Q: I have seen a couple of or another on the Cosmos. It intense if it weren’t for the promotional give-aways at may not always be a ukulele internet though. There are Cosmos. The latest was an -sometimes it will be something several uke forums that have all Ohana ukulele give-away. What as simple as showing someone helped to fuel the interest. I other special raffles and give- how to play an believe there is room for us all aways have you had at "E" chord! but the Cosmos is one of the Cosmos? very few that is not driven by Q: How many members do you commercial interests and has A: Oh yes, the Ohana give- have now... ballpark figure? always been about the people away was great. The Ukulele that play ukuleles rather than Shop (www.ukuleleshop.co.uk) A: 1500 and rising. Can simply an information site about approached me and asked if someone please tell me how to the instrument. Of course, the I’d do that. It helps promote eliminate spammers though? I wealth of knowledge that our businesses such as theirs and must have deleted about members bring with them I’m happy to do that for people 20,000 of them over the years. means there is rarely a question who are helpful, prompt and about the instrument that goes fair, and who go above and [Editor's Note: You won't be unanswered and the Cosmos beyond just selling ukuleles. In plagued with spammers as a goes way beyond the ukulele. return, the Cosmos members reader, Alli painstakingly People may start using it get to have a bit of fun. I don’t removes them from the roster. because they have that tout for freebies - people Noone is able to post until they common bond but it soon approach me. Other give- are officially approved as a changes into something much aways have included several member, thus preventing more sociable for a large Makalas from Almuzo who is a marketing and spam from porn proportion of the users. I think Cosmos member and a sites - which are the vast this is a great part of its wholesaler of ukes - these majority of bogus sign-ups] popularity. So many of its made their way to various members have met up in ‘real winners around the world - and Q: When did you realize that life’, both nationally and a silent Eleuke from you had such a big hit on your internationally, and there is a MusicGuyMic (http:// hands? real feeling of camaraderie that stores.ebay.com/Musicguymics- A: Ooh err.. it still doesn’t really since most people don’t let on quieter. On average we get occur to me that the Cosmos is how old they are. Perhaps I about 70,000 hits per day a ‘big hit’. It is not something should start a poll? according to the stats, but a lot that I control in that respect. Its of those will be spambots. Our popularity is down to the users - Q: How about the median most frequent visitors are from without them it simply wouldn’t number of years playing the USA closely followed by the exist! It is nice, though, when ukulele? UK, France, Australia, Holland, you meet people at various Sweden, Germany, Japan, functions who have used it and A: Again, not everyone Canada, Ireland, Italy and appreciate it. We do have mentions it but I’d say, from others. So, despite being some quite well known public what I’ve seen, most people based in the UK, you can see figures that use it incognito (and have been playing for 5 years how international it really is. sometimes openly) - that’s quite or less. Rufus Yells (aka Uncle a buzz. Rufus and Gibson uke fanatic) is Q: I have seen more than a few probably the member with the times when people really get Q: You started a MySpace site most mileage in this repect! uptight and fights occur. I know for Cosmos, does it get a lot of that you have resisted the traffic? Has it introduced new Q: Has anyone asked what the temptation to filter things, have people to Cosmos itself? ratio is of male to female you any regrets on that? Cosmos members? Do you A: It does get quite a lot of know that ratio? A: No, none whatsoever. I took traffic. I’m sure it would get a lot the decision to be light handed more if I had the time to update A: Well, without getting too in moderation after it more regularly and yes, it has scientific I would say that the considerable thought. There introduced new members to ratio is at least 40 men to 1 are other forums that are quite the Cosmos and has woman (not bad eh girls?). I’m strict with this aspect but I feel introduced me to some players not sure if this is partly based on that moderation is a form of I’d never have otherwise heard the male users being more censorship. Someone said of. I am fairly thinly stretched talkative or if the female players recently that moderating too as it is though and time is a are shy! Not everyone has a much is like telling people that luxury that I don’t have a lot of. I gender specific user name and they can play music but only in didn’t realise that the Cosmos unless they state whether or not the major scale. I agree with would take off the way it has, they are male or female then I this. I also feel that the and at the moment I am the can’t tell. I can feel yet another members of the Cosmos are only person involved in poll happening. adults who are capable of maintaining the sites. I’m having heated debates fortunate enough to have a Q: How many hits a day do you (extremely heated sometimes) ukulele playing partner who is get? but will always work it out in the very patient and supportive of end. This has been proven time everything I do though so he A: It varies and it depends on and time again and to my takes the pressure off a bit. your definition of hits. If we knowledge only a handful of have a give-away or if our people have found this too Q: Do you have any idea what Open Invitational (a monthly much to bear. It is certainly a the median age is at Cosmos? virtual open mic where each very delicate balancing act performer does their own though as people have different A: No. But I’d hazard a guess version of a well known song) is thresholds when it comes to that it’s about 36. The youngest about to be announced then sense of humour etc. At the member that I know of is about the traffic booms. If it’s end of the day, the Cosmos is 18 and the oldest is in their Christmas Day or Thanksgiving not a forum for kids and I make seventies. It’s hard to tell though then it tends to be much this very clear. At the same time, however, it is not a den of Moonlighters", Craig Robertson, coverage of the UK Ukefest and iniquity. If you like it then stick Bosko & Honey and "Hot Time that kind of thing. Finding the around and you will be made Harv’s Rollercoaster of Kicks". So time to do it is another matter. very welcome. If you don’t memorable for so many then you have free choice to reasons! On a more personal level I’d like leave. I am pleased to say that to find the time again to teach very few people choose the I have participated in Ukulele the ukulele to children. That was latter option though and fierce Wednesdays held every week in a very rewarding job but one disagreements are rare when The George pub, Soho, London that I could only do before I you put them in the context of and regularly perform with a went back to full time work. For all the good that comes out of bunch of local musicians who now I am happy to play the the Cosmos. form part of a ukulele club here ukulele and sing with my friends in my hometown. Next year I will while continuing to enjoy it all. Q: How long have you been be organising the UK Ukefest in The day it becomes a chore is playing ukulele? July at Hollesley, Suffolk which is the day to step back but I don’t something that grows and see that happening anytime A: I have been playing the grows each year. Ray soon. ukulele for about four and a half Shakeshaft has organised this years. for the past few years but I think he’d like to sit back and enjoy it I'd like to thank Alli Bee for this Q: What events do you attend next year. We already have interview and also for her in the ukulele world? Do you some fantastic performers lined ongoing effort and upkeep of have a Cosmos booth or official up so make a date in your diary Ukulele Cosmos. presence or is it just a casual and look for more information attendance for you? as it comes up on the Cosmos Alli gives a lot of time to the nearer the time. I never attend Ukulele Cosmos and also to A: I have been lucky enough to these things on anything other cultivating relationships with attend various uke events. At than a casual basis and there is groups in the UK and elsewhere. one end of the spectrum I have no Ukulele Cosmos booth. I Sites like hers are not easy to been to The Ukulele Society of don’t feel the need for one maintain and the more GB’s (www.usgb.co.uk) Digswell since it is a not-for-profit activity. successful they become, the meeting, which has traditionally I just really enjoy spending time harder it is to keep everything been the bastion of George with other players. running nicely. Formby fans (although more recently it has attracted a wider Q: Do you have any future plans Cosmos has helped to build the audience), and tipping the for Cosmos you'd like to share? current popularity of the ukulele scales at the other end was How about Alli, the ukulele by becoming a valuable New York’s Ukulele Cabaret player, any personal goals? resource to players from around which is run by Jason and Ted the globe. of http://ukuleledisco.com, A: Well, there is a Ukulele which couldn’t be further away Cosmos YouTube space in the Thank you, Allison (Alli Bee), for both demographically and in works. It is up but I am trying to all of your hard work and terms of performances! In 2007 decide what direction to go in perserverence with Cosmos. I flew to the New York Ukulele with it. I think that it will be some Festival where I met many kind of video-diary bringing http://www.ukulelecosmos.com wonderful people, including people up to date on all things should be on every ukulele plenty of Cosmos members, uke. Similar to an information player's list of "favorites" (or and was fortunate enough to website, only in video format. bookmarks, if you prefer). be in the audience of I’d like to include visits to my performers such as "The place by fellow uke players, professional and amateur musicians alike. The UB1202 Mixer uses 4580 Op Amps to control amplification and has a 3-band EQ on every channel to give you great tone and very low noise. It features Behringer 1202 Mixer XLR and 1/4 inch jacks to allow professional and dynamic mic use, and it has 48v phantom power. At some point, it seems that of two things, either you have every musician wants to make a bad microphones, or you really This tiny board gives you big recording. That used to mean need better control of your performance. There is 130 db booking recording studio time. incoming signal. In the former dynamic range and 60 db gain With the introduction of case, buying good on the volume controls. This lightweight "home studio" gear, microphones is an investment in mean you get excellent control average musicians can make a your music craft. In the latter, and lots of power behind it. pretty nice demo right in their you can get a pre-amp, but a own living-room. better solution is a mixing You get much better results board. using a project mixer like the If you have tried home UB1202 when you record. Sure, recording equipment and were Behringer, a company based in it is possible to just grab a not impressed with the results, the Germany, makes low-cost portable recording unit, plug chances are good that it is one products to serve the needs of into it and start playing, but with a mixing board you get the same sort of results professional recording engineers can give you. What is nice about the Behringer UB1202 is that you can find it in most popular music store chains and also several big online stores, like Sam Ash or Musician's Friend and it is under $100, a great investment for your performance gain. If you buy a 4-track recorder, a mixing board will allow you to easily record more than one instrument at a time. We highly recommend the UB1202 for your home recording needs, and if you want to use it for gigs, it is great on stage, too. A great value, a great price. Ukulele Club Listings... If you would like to list your club here, submit contact information at this website: http://www.tricornpublications.com/uke_player.htm or e-mail me at this address: email@example.com We will add you to our list. http://www.wsukes.com USA California Nuked Ukes We are in Auburn California. Welcoming players from all levels. contact: Loyce Smallwood firstname.lastname@example.org www.kahi.com/loyce'sblog Kansas (and Western Missouri) Kansas City Ukesters http://www.kcuke.com New Mexico http://www.ukulelenoir.com/ 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 email: email@example.com. http://sites.google.com/site/hdsfgcea/ Ohio COUP (Central Ohio Ukulele Peeps) firstname.lastname@example.org http://psychichamster.com/ Ukulele Clubs continued Texas Robert S. Sparkman email@example.com Lone Star Ukulele Club (in North Dallas) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lonestarukuleles The Dallas Ukulele Headquarters Go to www.meetup.com and search The Dallas Ukulele Headquarters to join the group. Lots of fun events and jams! Vermont Vermont Ukulele Society http://www.wsukes.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org Meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. Washington Seattle Ukulele Players Association (SUPA) www.seattleukulele.org/ UK England Ukulele Society of Great Britain 43 Finstock Road, London W10 6LU Tel: 020 8960 0459 Email: email@example.com Cambridge Ukulele Co-operative [Cuckoo] http://www.ukulelenoir.com/ Meet alternate Sundays 2pm-6pm The Portland ArmsCambridge CB4 3BAIf you're cuckoo about ukes come and join us. http://www.myspace.com/cambridgeukuleleclub 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 email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://ukeweds.intodit.com http://psychichamster.com/ Ukulele Clubs continued SCUPA - Second City Ukulele Players Association Venue: The Camp Inn, 1 Camp Lane, Kings Norton, Birmingham West Midlands B38 8SP Details: We meet weekly on Tuesdays at 7:30pm in the upstairs room. Whickham & District Social Club Simonside View, Whickham, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE16 4AQ. We meet every 2nd Wednesday 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM. http://tunearmy.blogspot.com/ Ireland UKULELE IRELAND email@example.com 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 Germany Ukulele Club of Germany firstname.lastname@example.org www.ukulelenclub.de (home page) www.ukulelenboard.de (message board) Making beautiful music is your passion, helping you do it is ours. USA 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 Hollesley Suffolk IP12 3RQ more information available soon on www.ukulelecosmos.com/phpBB2/index.php http://www.ukulelenoir.com/ Essential Links from the World-Wide-Web UkeTalk - http://uketalk.com/links.html "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 http://www.geocities.com/~ukulele/index.html If you'd like to learn the history of some of ukulele's greatest players, this site is absolutely essential. Ukulelia - http://www.ukulelia.com/ The World's Greatest Ukulele WebLog" Need I say more? Ukulele Cosmos - http://www.ukulelecosmos.com One of the hottest ukulele forums on the web. Don't Miss It! Ukulele Underground http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/index.php Another really popular ukulele forum, lots of Hawaiian players and folks from the West Coast of the Mainland USA. Flea Market Music - http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/default.asp 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 for all of you ukulele enthusiasts. UkeLadyMusic - http://www.ukeladymusic.com/ Auntie Noel runs a really great shop. Her passion is ukulele and it shows. ontact Us: phone 214-924-0408 or email email@example.com Making beautiful music is your passion, helping you do it is ours. Online Resources Continued... Kiwi Ukulele New Zealand's Ukulele Companion http://www.kiwiukulele.co.nz/ Bounty Music http://www.ukes.com/ Brick & Mortar location in the Hawaiian Islands serving you: open 9 :00 to 6:00 Monday thru Saturday * Sunday 10:00 to 4:00 Bounty Music Maui 111 Hana Hwy. #105 Kahului, Maui, HI 96732 Phone: (808) 871-1141 Fax: (808) 871-1138 Making beautiful music is your passion, helping you do it is ours.
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