JHere I'm playing one of the first UkeBrand concert ukuleles built by Kenny Hill.
I recently acquired an amazing baritone uke built by the wonderful Tony Graziano. This beautiful instrument links the islands to the mountains by virtue of its koa body and redwood top.
UKE CLUB? HOW ABOUT CLUB UKE?
It's the latest twist in the Santa Cruz uke scene. Read all about it in the July 6 issue of the Santa Cruz Weekly.
Photo at right by Kylan Oaks
Okay, okay. I admit it. I have IAS - Instrument Acquisition Syndrome. My latest acqusition is an incredible Compass Rose tenor ukulele from the Renaissance Guitar Company, built by Rick Turner - the only person I know to rate an entry in the Hippie Dictionary.
Legendary luthier Howard Rugg is now making limited edition ukuleles in his Felton shop. Check out this video that tells the story of the repair and discovery of a legendary Jose De Espirito ukulele and sneaks a peek at Howard's new line of ukes.
Featuring a live performance by Ukulele Dick!
Recently I used my Compass Rose ukulele on a jazzy solo interpretation of Mick Jaggar and Keith Richard's classic rock song Let's Spend the Night Together at Throwing Stones, a vaudeville revue of re-imagined Rolling Stones songs featuring 21 acts.
I have been a card-carrying member of the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz (the UCSC where you get a real education) since its inception in 2002. I met Peter Thomas (president of UCSC) at Jim Beloff's uke extravaganza at Sylvan Music in Santa Cruz in 2000. Peter started coming to my monthly jam sessions shortly after. I met Kenny Hill and Michelle Kiba at the same concert and I got hooked right then and there. (I like to think of it as being abducted by ukulelians!)
"The Chordettes" make it easy at a meeting of the
Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz
I'm thrilled to be performing and speaking in Nina Koocher's new film, Under the Boardwalk: A Ukulele Love Story. Additionally, a live performance of my original song "Tunisia" is included in the DVD extras and a live performance of my song "Hey Diddle Diddle Bop" is available for free on Nina's site. Under the Boardwalk is a charming documentary about the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz.
Look for me playing my song "Swept Away" in the Mighty Uke Movie
"Swept Away (Stranded With You)" is available for preview
and download on this CD Baby page.
You can also find "Swept Away" on SHOW US YOUR UKES - The first recorded collection of songs played by members of the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz. This studio recording is more than 70 minutes long and features 24 songs performed by more than 40 members of our "four-string family," plus a live recording of the entire club singing Under the Boardwalk, the club theme song.
Get your copy for just $10 by calling 831/ 425-5244 or emailing Sandor (the Uke Club "tech-meister") at paprika1 at comcast dot net
hoto by Debi Parola
With the great Ukulele Dick, Summer 2008 • Ukes Gone Wild at Santa Cruz Mountain Arts Center
MONA LOTT & WANDA MCGLOVE circa 2004
UKE BE A LADY
~ NOW ON DEMO CD and DVD!
Uke Be A Lady plays and sings tunes from the Swing era, Tin Pan Alley and the Jazz Age. Uke Be A Lady is singer/ukulele player Miss Mona Lott and violinist Miss Wanda McGlove. When they're very lucky, Randy Baton joins in on upright bass and protection.
"The ukulele is experiencing a renaissance in Santa Cruz," says singer and uke player Miss Mona Lott. "It has a swingy sound that lends itself perfectly to these old standards that I love to sing. Miss Wanda McGlove's hot violin playing lends just the right amount of jazzy pizzazz. Add Randy Baton on bass and you've got a thing with swing. La di frickin' da."
Uke Be A Lady is available for bookings at retirement homes, senior centers, private parties and any place with an audience that enjoys swing and jazz music. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 831/335-8110 for bookings.
UKE BE A LADY— SAMPLE REPERTOIRE:
Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens
Blues for Dixie
Darkness on the Delta
Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'
Do the Dishes, Too (original)
Fly Me To the Moon
Hey Diddle Diddle Bop(original)
Hey, Hey, Hey! (original)
If Youse a Viper
I'm an Old Cowhand
Is You Is, Or Is You Ain't My Baby
It's Only a Paper Moon
Jingle Bell Rock
Nobody Sleeps at My Place
Put the Blame on Mame
St. Louis Blues
Sugar Cane Time
There Ain't No Sweet Man (Worth the Salt of My Tears)
Walking After Midnight
Way Down Texas Way
Weed Smoker's Dream (Why Don't You Do Right?)
You Got to See Your Mama (Every Night or You Can't See Your Mama At All)
Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Playing Ukes:
1) It's fun and easy to play swing and jazz music on 'em. You get that swingy, jazzy sound with very little effort.
2) The uke is full of myth and legend.
3) It's cool for hip chicks to play ukes. Female uke players have style, personal power and sexual magnetism (think Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot)
4) Ukes are easy to take on planes, and I can play my uke while cooking, folding the laundry and checking email
5) People who play ukes are secure in their coolness and don't care if others make fun of them (eg., William H. Macy, Eddie Vedder, George Harrison)
6) People who play and/or build ukes tend to be highly creative and interesting and frequently flock together
7) Ukes are beautiful musical instruments that come in an endless array of styles
8) Ukes make an essential contribution to the unique sound of Hawaiian music
9) Ukes offer several different tuning options. I put my baritone uke in open tunings and play Joni Mitchell songs
10) You can't help but smile when you play a uke!
Who Is Mona Lott, really?
Mona Lott won't give her age but it's widely believed she was born and raised in a small farming community somewhere on the Eastern seaboard. Music historians agree Mona was probably still a very young girl when she bleached her hair and hopped on a bus to the big city. Mona's first job was at a strip club down on skid row. Mona didn't mind taking off her clothes, but making chit chat with the bone headed customers was more than she could stand. When the house band needed a singer Mona was more than happy to get behind the microphone, even if it meant singing in a G-string. "The next thing I knew I was back on the frickin' bus touring all over the gawd damn place," says Mona, "but at least I got to keep my frickin' clothes on. And all that church singing seemed to pay off finally. It took the devil's music to show me my real voice."
Over the years, Mona has sung it all: from show tunes to disco to rock and roll to pop and jazz standards. These days Mona splits her time between playing ukulele in Santa Cruz and playing canasta in her condo in South Florida. The condo was a gift from Sid, Mona's manager and protector "for 17 frickin' wonderful years." "I was married three times," says Mona, "and I didn't get a lousy dime out of any of those bums. In fact, I'm still paying alimony to frickin' phony balloney Tony from Yonkers. If it weren't for the frickin' mob connection he'd be SOL. La di frickin' da. But thank God for dear old Sid and the kids likin' the ukulele again or I'd be back at the strip club. But believe it honey, I could still pull it off. And probably show those young chickie boos a thing or two in the process. Poor old Sid. I kept telling him a 300 pound transvestite shouldn't be frickin' pole dancing at his age. It was a tragic frickin' accident."