Friday Links

New Releases
the Spark & the Fire by Leftover Cuties.
Keston Cobblers’ Club hop on a bus with Bob Harris to launch their new EP: A Scene of Plenty.
Calamitous Liaisons by Tricity Vogue.
– R&B singer and jazz trumpeter has a new EP for free: Sam Trump Plays The Uke (download is at the bottom of the page).
Answer Sheet – Chapter I : Istas Promenade.

Uke Talk
Amanda Palmer talking a lot about ukuleles.
– In case you were wondering about the source The Independent‘s claim that, “a Frank Skinner-inspired ukulele craze has actually led to an unwanted surplus of the instruments being sold for as little £1.12 on eBay.” It’s the parody news site The Daily Mash.
Former teacher, 104, remembers Johnny Cash’s school days: “He had a sweet smile and he played the ukulele. He brought it to school.”

Now that’s commitment to making a ukulele video.
Glenn Haworth is going to attempt to play the ukulele for 24 hours.
Ian Whitcomb talks to Google about ukulele heroes.

Blood analysis of a UAS sufferer. Are we closer to a cure?

View Comments


  1. Ron Hale July 26th, 2013 8:12 pm

    Glenn’s efforts are in a good cause, Al, so on
    that level, good luck. But let’s hope, for his listeners’ sake that he has a decent sized repertoire.

    24 hours of “Hey, Soul Sister” should disqualify any
    such record attempt. 24 hours over the rainbow is just too darned much. It’s not that wonderful a world.

    24 hours of what passes for a uke anthem is just cause for the removal of the offender’s vocal cords. Or red Hilo. I say both.

    And 24 hours of Peace Love & ‘Ukulele consigns one’s soul to the ring of fire (I fell in to a burning ring of fire) in the pit of the Netherworld.

    Not to mention a future of uke-zac misery taking requests from tourists in cheap Waikiki hotel lounges.

    Remember me? Somebody made a video of me playing in Central Park. I played for the Queen of England.

    My partner T and I will now perform our ‘ukulele arrangement of the themes from “The Bachelorette” and “Dancing With The Stars.” Rock on…

    (Now, 24 hours of our George will stir the hearts of all true Brits.)

    But what truly frightens is the possibility of Glenn starting up a fad for setting records with the ukulele as a prop.

    Number of players and time spent playing seem innocuous enough if silly. But once that slippery slope has been slipped on it’s watch out below.

    How about… let us see… the most body-painted ukulele players doing, well, whatever (let the imagination run wild). Do not scoff. Do…Not…Scoff.

    Ian is a ukulele hero. Especially now as he fights to regain his uke skills after his stroke.
    Thanks for including him here. Very nice.

    Let fools follow their folly and eventually (sometimes) they attain wisdom. UAS sufferers cannot be talked out of the mania. Cannot be reasoned out of the silliness.

    Let them acquire all of the instruments they crave. Sooner or later most realize they can play only one at a time.

    They develop favorites. Bond to some and not to others. End up with closets bulging with little-played instruments.

    If they become embarrassed by the affliction they’re on the road to recovery.

    UAS is not something to brag about. It should induce shame. Nothing says uke-jerk!!! like carrying on about your UAS. With pride, no less.

    Do not make light of the notion of a surplus of unwanted instruments. Each time you hear/read about the ukulele being the hot instrument of the moment another nail is being driven into its eventual coffin.

    I don’t see anything new driving the wave to ever higher heights. I see it as reaching a high point and just stabilizing. And it’s been stuck there for a while.

    Something new is needed to breath life and vitality into a scene that has plateaued. The “Gently Weeps” video did that six (or whatever) years ago.

    Well, that was then. This is now. We’re at a point now like the music scene right before the Beatles hit. We could use a new British invasion.

    Or a new punk revolution. Something to jump-start a scene that is just sitting there.
    Doing the same old same old same old all the bloody time.

    The uke is no more hip or cool to those who really know these things now than the flute
    or the viola da gamba.

    You’re not a rebel playing the ukulele now. You’re not a non-conformist. Not showcasing you individuality.

    Artists are moving away from it. Watched a video the other day. Interview. Young Brit female former uker. Videos on Ukulele Hunt and Humble Uker. Nice future ahead. But…

    Says she played the ukulele because one was given to her. Never had the desire to play it and actually go out and get one.

    Used it only to write songs. Moved to guitar quickly. Such a ringing endorsement of the Mighty Uke.

    Young artists must be driven to the instrument not away from it. Haven’t seen a uke in Dent May’s hands in ages.

    Things are stagnant now. If nothing new happens, no one new and exciting comes along – say a new Jake (the old one played his part already) – then this wave will just dither on and eventually die of sheer boredom.

    Or worse, it will just dither on and on and on and on…

    Hence that surplus of unwanted ukes, as people, bored, put them away. Do not get smug about the world’s hottest instrument.

    There’s always something younger, newer, and hotter coming along.

  2. cardboardfrog July 29th, 2013 2:38 pm

    Ron just as mandolin bands, banjo minstrels and the first wave of uke hysteria all passed this trend will too but in that time a great many people will be introduced to the charms of this instrument and play it for years and years to come. Trends in music and musical instruments can appear tiresome when you’ve become jaded or if you were there before it erupted but think of all the fun people have had, all the people who will of been employed making and teaching the instrument. It may get on your tits but its probably not hurting anyone but if it’s all too much for you may I suggest learning to play the five string banjo, I hear its the next big thing :p

  3. MadMike August 15th, 2013 2:25 am

    Wow, Mr. Hale, one would almost suspect you have a somewhat jaded, nay jaundiced opinion. Could it be that constant novelty is not necessary for the success or popularity of any given instrument? Good music played well will continue to appeal to people. Then it may simply maintain momentum based on the pros and cons that it comes with.

    I play several instrument to varying degrees of incompetence. I have taken up the ukulele not because of it’s perceived popularity or “cool” factor, but ’cause I really like the sound. Weird, huh?

    It will likely fade in novelty, but perhaps not in utility. After all, that guitar craze hasn’t seemed to fade, has it?

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